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On August 14th, 2023

5 Considerations for Cellular DAS (Before You Make the Investment)


When done right, Cellular Distributed Antenna System (DAS) installations are designed to enhance and improve cellular service within a specific area. But they aren’t necessarily a cure-all for any site. If you’re dealing with poor cellular coverage, weak signals, or network congestion at a commercial location, then you need to consider all of your options.

Assessing the Potential of Cellular DAS for Your Site

In some scenarios, a new DAS setup could be the perfect fix to improve cellular coverage. The process involves strategically placing antennas throughout a building or a larger space. Those antennas then work to amplify and distribute cellular signals more effectively across a wider area. That’s why these solutions are especially useful in high-traffic locations.

For example, large venues like stadiums, airports, office buildings, and shopping malls often do well with DAS installations. The results include improved call quality, faster data speeds, and a more reliable mobile experience for users within the coverage area. But even with the benefits, there are still some reasons why you might choose not to go with a DAS, so be sure to consider the following when making your decision. Having strong cellular connectivity is essential, but you might have better options!

1. DAS Cost

DAS installations can be expensive to design, install, and maintain. The upfront investment, including equipment, cabling, and labor costs, might end up pushing your budget to the extreme. There might also be local regulations and permits to review prior to setting up your new system, which could add to the project’s complexity and timeline.

2. New Technology

As cellular technology continues to evolve, investing in a DAS might become less cost-effective over time. Newer wireless technologies like 5G might offer alternative solutions. Those carrier upgrades might be enough to improve coverage for individuals relying on their mobile devices for calls, texts, and data.

3. Coverage Area

If you have a small or relatively simple space, a DAS might not be necessary. There are simpler, more cost-effective options for improving cellular coverage in such cases. A commercial signal booster serves a similar purpose, and can be way more budget-friendly.

4. Changing Requirements

DAS involves intricate planning, engineering, and coordination. If you’re already anticipating significant changes to your space's layout or usage in the near future, a DAS might not be the best investment. These custom systems are designed to serve as long-term improvements, and a physical redesign of your site could end up compromising the coverage benefits that your DAS was meant to offer.

5. Temporary Needs

If you require improved coverage only for a short period, such as during an event, other temporary solutions might be more practical. Depending on your carrier agreements, they might provide alternative solutions or incentives for coverage improvement with a specific network agreement. This can be somewhat tricky to navigate, but it could still be worth investigating.

Find Your Long-Term Solution for Enhanced Cell Coverage

In essence, DAS installations act as supplements or enhancements to the existing cellular infrastructure around your site. They are great for helping to extend and improve the reach of cellular networks across large indoor or outdoor areas, but you still need to carefully evaluate your specific needs, budget, and long-term goals.

Weighing the potential benefits of cellular DAS against the associated costs can help you determine whether a DAS is the right choice for your situation. If you’re dealing with weak signals or high user density on your property, it might be time to collaborate with an experienced DAS solutions provider. Then you can get specific for your own usage needs and discuss the real-world pros and cons for installing DAS on your own site!

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