HOW 5G MIGHT IMPACT THE FUTURE WIRELESS INFRASTRUCTURE
The rise in a variety of digital offerings created to meet heightened consumer expectations across many industries have carriers and venue owners scrambling. Luckily for these carriers and venue owners, several wireless technologies – such as repeaters, small cells, and DAS, are available to address network coverage issues for consumers in highly-populated areas.
For years, the telecom industry has questioned the future of distributed antenna systems (DAS) in the face of new technologies. Most industry leaders expect that 5G will not bring the demise of DAS, but require an entire ensemble of wireless technologies instead.
In many cases, boosting cellular connectivity inside a building may not require an overhaul of the entire building’s network infrastructure.
New 5G bands and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) are highlighting new opportunities to diversify the telecom ecosystem, including the rise of IoT, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles. But with great invention comes growing pains, forcing stakeholders to turn to cost-effective solutions to address 5G’s short frequency and range – and DAS is the perfect position to enable new connections.
CONNECTING SMALL CELLS AND DAS
Unlike small cells, DAS can be shared by multiple carriers and works by effectively creating one large cell by repeating signals throughout a building or venue.
To fix network challenges in smaller building use cases, pairing DAS and small cells together is the most viable option. By having a DAS feed off small cells, building stakeholders can implement a cost-effective network that can handle a low capacity of multiple visitors and residents without the use of a base station.
CONNECTING 5G AND CBRS
In the case of CBRS, DAS and small cells provide solutions to connect venue owners to their own private LTE networks as well as carrier networks. By using a DAS to connect to the CBRS band, large building owners, like in the case of a stadium, can implement a private LTE network that enables them with a secure network where their information can be handled internally, while still allowing visitors with connections to their wireless carrier providers. This will help venue owners that deploy the CBRS band, with a single technology that connects to private and commercial LTE.
This same combination of old and new wireless technologies is applicable to public safety as well. LTE will likely remain the backbone of these networks that connect first responders, but 5G will enable new public safety technologies.
The 5G era of connectivity is bound to be one of collaboration and not a replacement. With all the different wireless options it’s important to have a network backbone, such as a modular DAS system, that can improve coverage and density for all frequency bands involved in a modern telecom ecosystem from 3G through 5G to keep options open as new use cases arise.