The Operation and Purpose of a Distribution Antenna System


The technology behind the distribution antenna system, or DAS, is far from new. In fact, it has been in use for more than two decades. However, in the face of an increasing demand from the continuing stream of ever-more capable, connected mobile devices, the need for a more cost-effective application of this technology has been driving developers to seek ways in which to employ fewer assets, yet achieve more from them.

Among the most common applications of a distribution antenna system today is its use to improve cell phone communications. Not only are today’s cellular service providers required to cater for the needs of more subscribers than in years past, those needs have also become more sophisticated with the introduction of such data-intensive applications such as video calling, podcasts, and large file transfers.


Although, for the individual domestic user, applications such as these generally tend to function well, it can be a very different story in situations where a large number of users, operating in close proximity, may be vying for use of the available cellular resources. Problems resulting from this type of intensive demand are a common feature in large buildings where their structure can act to block the distribution of signals and create pockets of poor coverage. It is in precisely such situations that an efficient distribution antenna system can provide the solution. In effect, the DAS acts rather like a smaller, secondary cell network within the building, boosting the limited signals between the users and service providers and extending coverage to eliminate any troublesome dead spots.


Consisting of a network of managed hubs and remote antennae, a main hub receives the signal from a cellular provider’s base station, converts it from RF to digital format, and then re-distributes it to other hubs. Analogue systems utilise co-axial cables to carry the signal, and require in-line amplification to compensate for the decline in signal strength with the increase in cable length. However, a digitised signal may be carried via a high-bandwidth fibre optic network without any significant deterioration in the initial signal strength.


Not only are such solutions commonly applied to an individual building, but multi-service systems (MDAS) now offer service providers a cost-effective means to extend coverage of their GSM and LTE signals in traditional trouble spots such as urban canyons, airports, and the like. By employing this macro version of the distribution antenna system, it is possible for them to extend and to enhance cellular coverage over an area of many square kilometres, while supporting several thousand subscribers, and to do so at a significantly reduced cost.


Whether you may be the owner of a large building who needs to improve the performance of the mobile connected devices within, or a service provider in search of a cost-effective means to extend and improve your cellular coverage, a range of tried and tested DAS and MDAS options is now available locally from SSE Linkworld.


The sole distributor of Amplitec products, including antennae, line amplifiers, fibre optical repeaters, and mobile signal repeaters to Southern Africa, we have the expertise and guidance to evaluate your needs and to design and support cost-effective solutions that work.


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