DAS vs. Small Cells: Small Solutions for the Big Picture

distributed-antenna-cn-405x540Many times, DAS and Small Cells are used interchangeably when talking about the future of cellular service.  These innovations have been seen as ways to address high traffic volume while remaining relatively concealed. There are, however, differences between these two RF radios.

DAS systems serve as a group of radio units that transport information through fiber cables back to one main base station. The DAS units work as branches of radio heads that simulcast the same RF signal. This permits the identical capacity to be transported over multiple floors, which makes it more suited for a large building. The layout allows each DAS radio head to communicate across all licensed bands and for many operators at the same time. On a price comparison, DAS is also the more expensive option.

Meanwhile, small cells are designed as small individual base stations to cut the need for backhaul to IP broadband. This helps to focus on concentrated areas that have high demands for data with the use of frequency recycling. The power supply is provided through Ethernet or local power. Small cells have been typically used for single operator and single frequency band. Small cells would be most appropriate for small office buildings of 100K sq. feet or less.

The main difference between the two systems is that DAS addresses coverage while small cells address capacity. In a case of large venues, both are suitable for this kind of situation as it would address both the capacity and coverage issues that are common in these settings. As time goes on, there will be an innovative progression occurring that will clarify which system is most practical and useful for more of these particular instances. Although small cells have been making more of the headlines lately, these sources of data traffic relief have both been showing how effective they are.

Launch 3 Telecom provides a large quantity of equipment for purchasing, selling, or consignment. Our tower crew can also repair, test, and install this equipment to cell sites. If you are interested in our services or in purchasing equipment produced by Small Cell and DAS manufacturers such as Alcatel-Lucent, please contact Launch 3 Telecom at 877-878-9134 or email sales@launch3.net.