In a blog post, CommScope’s director of business development for distributed coverage and capacity solutions in North America, Patrick Lau, reported that the company has deployed its distributed antenna system (DAS) technology “in about 30 U.S. football stadiums over the last year or so.”
Lau wrote the blog post as fans of collegiate and professional football in the U.S. gear up for those seasons to begin. In the post, he emphasizes: “Preparing for the massive spike in mobile data usage when tens of thousands of fans gather in one location is … extremely important.” He further explains that a DAS “increases capacity by sectorizing the stadium and offloading capacity from the macro network. A properly deployed DAS solution enables fans to continue posting photos to social media outlets, texting and calling friends, and utilizing apps as part of their overall experience.”
Lau also makes a point to state that, “CommScope’s RF engineers are playing an important part in the upcoming football season,” by virtue of their role in DAS installation. That characteristic can make a DAS project different from the typical structured-cabling installation project. Oftentimes with a cabling project, active participation from the provider(s) of the cabling products is minimal or nonexistent. Standards-based structured cabling systems live up to the credo of interoperability. And when a cabling system is installed by an individual or team that has been trained specifically to work with the brand of products being installed, the manufacturer of that brand often has a small role in the project. Contrast that with DAS, where essentially each individual system is engineered one at a time. And DAS technology is not standardized the way that cabling technologies are via the TIA-568 or ISO-11801 sets of specifications. The individual DAS offerings are proprietary, and as such participation from the system manufacturers is demanded. Add to that reality the fact that a DAS is a wireless communication system, and the need for a thorough radio-frequency analysis before, during and after installation becomes paramount.
As we reported earlier this year in an article titled “In DAS deployments business issues are critical,” defining a user’s needs and requirements is also critical. “It is essential to clearly understand the defined areas of coverage,” we reported then, and is still true today. “Does it include a single building or multiple buildings? Is it a new-construction build or will the DAS be installed in an existing facility? And there are special considerations—like the environment being a historical or high-value site in which the placement and/or even the appearance of antennas commands strong consideration and planning.”
For CommScope over the past year, football-stadium installs have included new builds—not necessarily in the form of a new stadium, but rather the deployment of a new DAS in an existing stadium—as well as the updating or upgrading of existing in-stadium distributed antenna systems.
Lau ends his blog post by asking who readers believe will win the Super Bowl this year. Whether they realize it or not, fans who “check in” at stadiums via social media, call and text their friends during games, or post photos and videos of the action, will experience the “win” of wireless capacity that comes courtesy of DAS.