Picocells and DAS belong together 

June 15, 2011 // By John Spindler, TE Connectivity
Picocells and DAS belong together 
Small cells like picocells and femtocells are promising to deliver localised coverage and capacity inside corporate buildings, and in-building coverage will be critical for quality of service in 4G networks.

But small cells aren't the beginning and end of the story. In this article, we'll look at the role of femtocells, picocells, and distributed antenna systems in delivering mobile network capacity and coverage within enterprises.

Coverage isn’t the main issue

Distributed antenna systems (DAS) have been used to provide additional coverage inside buildings for many years. The DAS takes a mobile network signal and distributes it through a series of remote antennas to provide a blanket of coverage within the building. But as users have adopted smartphones, tablet computers, and other devices, the requirement inside buildings is shifting from mobile network coverage to mobile network capacity. Suddenly, all of those iPhones and other devices are straining the capacity of the in-building network, and this is changing the way capacity is provided.

In the past, a DAS was fed by a rooftop antenna or repeater that pulled capacity from the local macro network and distributed it through the building. But now that network capacity is being strained everywhere, the DAS must have its own, dedicated form of capacity. Traditionally, localised capacity came in the form of a BTS supplied by the mobile carrier, but in many enterprise buildings a traditional BTS is overkill for the capacity needed, and much of its capacity ends up going unused.

The age of small BTS in the form of femtocells and picocells provides a way to deliver the right amount of capacity in an enterprise. A femtocell delivers capacity over about 2000 square feet of coverage, while a picocell can cover 5000 square feet or more. But obtaining the right amount of coverage and capacity inside an enterprise isn’t just about putting up small cells everywhere – the limitations of small cells dictate a hybrid solution that includes DAS.

Distributed femtocells using DAS overcome limitations and reduce costs.

DAS is pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it solution.

Limitations of small cells

Picocells and femtocells were designed to

Design category: 

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