The DAS Forum Whitepaper: DAS and Small Cell Technologies Distinguished
The most familiar component of a cellular network is the cell tower and the antenna installations on other tall structures such as multi-story buildings and municipal water towers. These large cell sites, often referred to as “macro” cell sites, form the core of the macrocellular network, enabling wireless service providers to deliver voice, text, and broadband communications to today’s 322 million U.S. wireless subscribers. Macrocell sites are effective for covering large geographic areas with relatively high capacity, because the antennas are typically mounted on tall towers or the rooftops of tall buildings and transmit radiofrequency (RF) signals at high power levels. They are also typically capable of hosting multiple wireless service providers. However, although a tower or building-mounted macrocell can be upgraded over time, coverage areas cannot typically be expanded. Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Networks small cells are being deployed to provide coverage in targeted locations, moving radios closer to the subscriber, and or to providing additional call and data-handling capacity in areas with concentrated demands for wireless services. The DAS Forum has produced a whitepaper on DAS and Small Cell Technologies, which can be found here.