Wired insights

The Rise of Hybrid Fiber+Power DAS

The Rise of Hybrid Fiber+Power DAS

Optimizing In-Building Connectivity for Next-Generation Wireless Networks

5G networks promise significantly faster data speeds, lower latency, and higher network capacity. But 5G’s benefits are limited if users can’t access the network reliably indoors. The problem: high-frequency 5G signals are more easily blocked by obstacles such as walls and buildings, reducing signal strength and coverage.

The solution – a distributed antenna system (DAS) improves signal coverage and network performance, transmitting wireless signals throughout a facility where 5G signals are weaker. Increased capacity ensures users can access 5G networks reliably to take advantage of highly demanding applications such as video streaming, augmented and virtual reality. A DAS network’s antennas, connected to a central controller that manages signal distribution, overcomes weak signals and accommodates high traffic volume in large office buildings, stadiums, airports, and shopping centers. This improves the user experience, reducing dropped calls and increasing data transfer speeds.

DAS Architectures

DAS comes in passive, active, and hybrid architectures. Passive DAS uses components such as coaxial cables and splitters to distribute the signal, while active DAS uses signal boosters and amplifiers to enhance the signal. Hybrid DAS combines passive and active components for optimal performance. Passive DAS, better in small to medium-sized locations, doesn’t amplify or boost signal strength. It divides and distributes it. Its advantages are simplicity and cost-effectiveness, with no need for additional power sources or equipment. Installation and maintenance are simple and inexpensive. However, Passive DAS does not offer an optimal area coverage, as building internal structures become the obstacles for dissipating signals.

Active DAS connects antennas and radio units to a central hub, or head-end, that manages signal distribution. Its enhanced coverage and capacity, signal quality, extensibility, and reliability work well in larger buildings and campuses. But it is more expensive to install, maintain, and upgrade than passive DAS. A hybrid fiber cable DAS system delivers the advantages of passive and active networks. It combines fiber optic and copper conductors in a single cable to cost-effectively transmit signals and power and provide multiple services between the central hub and remote antennas over longer distances.

High bandwidth, allowing fast  and reliable transmission of wireless signals.

Longer distances, so signals travel farther without losing strength.

Flexibility in installation, enabling a customized architecture with power always present.

Reduced installation costs, since a single cable pull to each antenna location can be done by one communications contractor with no conduit required.

Multiple carrier support, including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G, as well as Wi-Fi and public safety communications.

Improved signal quality for a better user experience.

Powering the Hybrid DAS Small cells in distributed antenna systems, depending on size and technology and number of users, typically consume up to 100watts of AC, DC, or battery power. The advantage of hybrid fiber cable is the cable construction itself, using fiber components for signal transfer and copper strands to carry power from any class 2 (low voltage) distribution power system. This complies with all National Electrical Code requirements and safety standards.

The Smart Choice

A hybrid fiber-based DAS represents a significant advancement in deployment of next-generation communication networks in large buildings or outdoor areas. It offers enhanced scalability, flexibility, ease of design, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. As demand for high-speed connectivity and data-intensive applications grows, hybrid fiber DAS provides the solution.

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