A different but familiar form of wireless communication is making its way into more and more building facilities. 802.11-based wireless local area networks (LANs) have long been recognized as a complementary technology to wired networks within buildings. An organization installing or upgrading its wireless LAN is not news. What is news, or at least a growing trend, is for facilities to install in-building wireless systems that support the nation’s cellular or personal communications service (PCS) networks.
The article that begins on page 13 of this issue goes into some detail about this trend, including information about a new product line that CommScope recently introduced for exactly that application—in-building personal wireless service.
One tidbit of information that was “left on the cutting room floor” from that article is the success story of a distributed antenna system (DAS) installation project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport is about a 5.8-million square-foot facility. ADC’s vice president of product management John Spindler, who is quoted in the article, recalls the Hartsfield-Jackson project. “Even at 5.8-million square feet the job was completed in a span of about 12 weeks. It was properly planned up front and all security clearances had been arranged.
“There are more than 700 antennas, 8 kilometers of fiber-optic cable, 65 kilometers of twisted-pair cable, and 16 kilometers of coaxial cable,” in the facility. Spindler adds, “It might not be a typical installation because it’s such a large facility, but it is a good example of the kinds of challenges that can be faced,” when installing indoor DAS systems. It’s also a good example of what can be accomplished with such systems.
As is the case with in-building wireless LANs, there are a lot of wires (and sometimes fibers, for that matter) behind those wireless communications systems. CommScope’s new system includes the Heliax ½-inch coaxial cable that comes from the Andrew wireless communications brand. ADC emphasizes that its systems can leverage existing coaxial, twisted-pair, and multimode fiber-optic cabling that may already reside in a building in which a DAS will be installed.
The next time you are in a conference room or lobby and can’t get service on your wireless device, look at it as an opportunity to provide the building you’re in with a solution to better serve its customers.