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Why DAS is essential to better in-building mobile coverage
Wed, 29th Nov 2023

Commercial property owners, investors and tenants are all looking for fast, seamless mobile coverage in their buildings – and for good reason. For office workers, in-building mobile connectivity boosts productivity by keeping them connected to the applications they need wherever they are, which is especially critical in modern offices that offer hot-desking and flexible seating arrangements. If there are ground-floor retail spaces, in-building mobile connectivity can ensure smooth, efficient mobile payments and also power technologies like augmented reality to further enhance the shopping experience. Furthermore, it can improve the security and energy efficiency of buildings by enabling the widespread deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, as well as innovations like automated cleaning and digital signage.

While the business case for full in-building coverage is strong, the connectivity in many commercial properties is anything but. Fortunately, extensive indoor mobile coverage is possible in any building with a well-designed DAS (Distributed Antenna System). At BAI, we have extensive experience empowering organisations and businesses worldwide with cutting-edge wireless connectivity — and have proved time and again how a DAS solution can transform the indoor mobile experience across many industries.

How DAS delivers better in-building coverage
Interior obstacles like concrete walls, insulation and glass windows with metallised film can impede the penetration of public mobile signals from outdoor macro base stations, hurting network performance for people inside the building. This issue has become even more pronounced due to the frequency waves used for mid-band and high-band 5G, which penetrate physical barriers less effectively than the lower frequency waves of 4G. 

Even if a signal is available, capacity is often another issue. Big events nearby can overload the network with numerous people trying to connect all at once. Likewise, video conferencing and other data-intensive applications can take up massive volumes of network capacity during peak hours. 

A tailored DAS solution can bridge the gap between reliable outdoor coverage and challenging indoor environments to enable consistently high-quality mobile connectivity throughout the entire building, along with the capacity to connect everyone during peak usage times. It uses a mix of passive and active network elements (such as combiners, cables, and splitters) to transport signals from in-building mobile base stations to antennas placed in carefully considered positions for the best possible coverage. As an extension of the mobile radio access network (RAN) that includes 3G, 4G, and 5G technologies, a well-designed DAS offers superior performance management, congestion-control mechanisms and performance-monitoring capabilities compared to the Wi-Fi networks most tenants currently rely on. 

The level of connectivity a DAS provides is no longer a luxury in today’s increasingly digital world. Tenants, employees, and customers have little tolerance for a poor mobile experience. They expect seamless connectivity, whether they’re in the lobby, office, or car park. 

Optimal mobile coverage is also required for 5G-enabled innovations and other mobile technologies that are quickly becoming essential as businesses look to drive efficiency, reduce expenses, and enable solutions that can transform their operations.

But an enhanced mobile experience is just one benefit of a DAS. Modern DAS solutions also provide support for a wide range of frequencies and services, including public safety networks and emerging technologies such as private wireless networks. This allows for more efficient and cost-effective management of the entire network ecosystem for an overall better in-building user experience.

The real-world benefits of DAS
By bringing full in-building mobile coverage throughout a property, a DAS delivers several key benefits:

  • Enhanced customer and user experience: A DAS ensures a high-quality mobile experience for tenants, employees and visitors with no dropped calls, slow data speeds or frustrating buffering. This can also enhance the shopping experience for customers in retail settings by allowing them to make digital payments easily or access product information and reviews.
  • Higher tenant satisfaction: Happy tenants are more likely to stay and attract others. By providing excellent in-building connectivity, property owners can create a more desirable space for tenants and increase their property value.
  • Greater employee productivity: A well-connected office environment promotes efficiency and competitiveness. Employees can stay connected and access essential business applications wherever they go inside and around the property, enhancing productivity. 
  • Better safety and security: In emergency situations such as natural disasters, a well-designed DAS can save lives. It enables first responders to communicate effectively by providing critical communication channels for emergency services.
  • Greater operational efficiency: A DAS can provide the connectivity required by IoT devices used for environmental control and energy management. With such devices, property owners can optimise their operations to reduce expenses and improve sustainability. 
  • Increased scalability: A well-designed, new-generation DAS can be expanded or upgraded to accommodate changing requirements and increased traffic. This makes it a flexible solution that can support the growing number of IoT devices used in retail and commercial spaces, such as smart shelves and security cameras.

These benefits aren’t limited to commercial real estate. In healthcare, an advanced DAS solution can save precious moments — and potentially lives — by ensuring stable, uninterrupted connectivity if, for example, a surgeon needs to consult a specialist over video during a complex procedure. In sports and entertainment venues, DAS technology can enhance the fan experience by ensuring there’s enough network capacity to do everything from posting selfies to streaming live highlights, even when thousands of other fans are trying to do the same. In airports, a DAS can streamline processes and minimise communication hiccups, enhancing everything from baggage handling and security protocols to the passenger experience of navigating the terminal or waiting for a flight.

Transform your in-building coverage with BAI
A DAS can transform slow, spotty mobile connectivity into a fast, seamless experience that delights tenants and unlocks new opportunities for innovation. But no two buildings are alike, so DAS design plays a critical role in its performance.

With years of experience delivering DAS across various sectors, BAI can design solutions that provide optimal coverage for any building, whether it’s a retrofit or a new build. We work closely with mobile network operators as part of our end-to-end process and provide real-time monitoring and support through our 24/7 network operations centre.