By Zia Askari
Large numbers of operators are embracing DAS solutions in order to deliver unique quality of service to their customers and gain on a big competitive edge
As more and more operators move towards offering next generation 3G or 4G services, end users look for huge data usage and this is where it becomes a challenge for operators to ensure quality of service and at the same time enhance coverage.
In such a situation, an in-building distributed antenna system (DAS) is propelling its way to enable operators enhance their coverage for efficient signal propagation and capacity, to achieve maximum throughput.
According to Konark Trivedi, CEO, Frog Cellsat, providing good quality indoor coverage is a huge challenge for Operators worldwide. “The problem is only compounding as the new technologies are being implemented at higher frequencies. 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands were used for 2G, 2100 MHz band was used for 3G and now 2400 MHz is being used in 4G. The higher the frequency band, the free space losses increases and it gets difficult to penetrate the signal indoors. At 2400 MHz level, it is almost impossible to penetrate the signal indoors from an outdoor BTS,” he explains.
In such a scenario, DAS (Distributed Antenna System) is the only possible solution to take the signal and spread it indoors in a building. DAS consists of a network of small Antennas within a building using which mobile signals are received and transmitted between BTS and various mobile devices.
In small buildings this DAS is fed by Repeaters which picks up good signals from nearby BTS and supply to DAS after boosting it. Usually this set-up is termed as Passive DAS and is good and low cost solution for providing coverage to relatively small areas (upto 5000 Sq Ft). Passive DAS usually is used to boost signal for only one Operator.
In large buildings as the DAS needs to provide signal coverage to very large area, it is desired to use Active DAS. Active DAS connects directly over RF Cable link with BTS of different operators and different technology and provides multi-operator, multi technology coverage inside the building. It consists of Master Unit and Remote Units which are usually connected over optical fibre link. While Active DAS is a good solution for providing Indoor Mobile Signal Coverage to very large buildings (5,000 to 50,000 Sq Ft), it is costly to implement.
Growth in data traffic, fuels DAS Adoption
With mobile operators facing continuous challenges to drive increasingly more improvements to the services they provide – it is increasingly becoming an experience game, rather than just providing the service and hence operators need to support an infrastructure that can enable delivery of better service experience for their users.
Exponentially rapid growth of the mobile network is placing greater demands on coverage and capacity and. And hence, there is a huge potential for DAS solutions in a country such as India.
Speaking about the current scenario, Konark Trivedi, CEO, Frog Cellsat says that India is getting crowded with various technologies and service providers, and most importantly with informed technology users.
“70% + Mobile users operate from Indoors and demand for good signal indoors is only increasing. The solution for indoor coverage enhancement has to cater to multiple operators and multiple technology and should also be futuristic looking so that it can be upgraded for new technology and operators as and when the need arises. So far India has mainly relied on Passive DAS solution for meeting its coverage enhancement requirement. It is only in a handful of cases where Active DAS is used so far as high initial cost has posed a big barrier. Till few months back, only few handful of US and Europe based companies manufactured Active DAS Solution.
Last year, Frog has developed its own indigenous design of Active DAS based on latest digital technology. With this development, Frog aims to provide India and the world Active DAS solution at less than half the price without compromising on technology. With this development, the cost barrier is removed and Active DAS stands to be considered and used for many more buildings than what it was being so far,” he adds on.
Frog has been providing DAS Solution for more than 10 years, to several operators in India. Over 50,000 buildings in India are equipped with Frog’s fully indigenously developed DAS Solution. All the large mobile operators including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Telenor, Aircel and Tata have selected Frog’s DAS solution to serve their customers’ need for good mobile signal at all time.
Most importantly, Frog’s DAS solution helps operators in terms of embracing the next generation in mobile communications and uses digital technology and works with all the mobile generation technologies including 2G, 3G and 4G.
“The main responsibility of DAS deployment is with Mobile Operators as this is part of Mobile infrastructure. Frog is helping operators in buying and deploying DAS in more and more buildings by reducing the cost of such deployment which was a deterrent so far. Apart from the initial cost, Frog solution also provide investment protection for several years as any required technology upgrades are provided to the operator on the existing equipment rather than the need for change of complete system,” he explains.
Frog has been growing at an average rate of 35% for past 5 years selling DAS Solutions in the India market. In current financial year (2014-15) the company has leapfrogged and had 100% + growth. This is just one parameter to demonstrate how much this segment is growing.
“With 4G launch in India and fast rollout expected in the next few months, added with our new products which support Multi Technology and Multi Operator, we expect steady growth of 50% + over next 3 to 5 years,” informs, Konark Trivedi, CEO, Frog Cellsat.
The company is working closely with some of the leading mobile operators and system integrators in India such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Uninor, Aircel, Tata, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Alcatel Lucent, etc. As more number of operators move towards next generation communication technologies embracing 3G or 4G, there will be bigger opportunities in store for Frog in the near future.