Although distributed antennas systems (DAS) have become somewhat less expensive to build, they are still only cost-effective for enormous facilities such as airports. For large commercial buildings that need to create a strong in-building cellular network, there are now powerful signal boosters that can do the job of DAS for a small fraction of the cost.
Cell boosters used to be limited compared to DAS. Boosters typically maxed out at the SMB size and were carrier-specific. New tech removed both those limitations. Buildings of 100K square feet and larger can now add carrier-agnostic cell boosters with simple deployment, without the need for a complex, hardwired DAS.
The Disadvantages of DAS
Distributed antenna systems provide a powerful, integrated solution that provides strong cell signals even in difficult buildings like hotels, sports arenas and convention centers. Costs and implementation problems are the main drawbacks.
You might convince a carrier to help foot the bill, but then your DAS will only work for customers of that one carrier. A multi-carrier DAS project can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions.
New construction of a very large enterprise building may find that DAS is within reach, but it remains the most expensive solution. For retrofits, the hurdles are even greater because of disruption from adding the fiber, coax, and antennas throughout the building and because of remodeling concerns such as asbestos and other regulations.
All in all, DAS is a caviar solution for a cell phone signal problem that can be solved much more seamlessly and inexpensively with modern signal amplifiers.
Cell Boosters Can Make DAS Unnecessary
We’re used to technology becoming more efficient with each generation. Fortunately, that’s the case with commercial-grade cell phone signal boosters. Buildings in the 100K to 200K square foot range do not need to break the bank to build a DAS.
Enterprise cell boosters can eliminate dropped calls, speed up download and upload speeds, and improve cell phone reception overall — with enormous savings on the capital expense.
Systems such as the WilsonPro 4000 and the Cel-Fi Quatra represent a new generation of wireless amplifiers that is eminently more affordable than DAS. Beyond the lower upfront purchase and installation costs, these signal boosters are also smart, self-optimizing equipment that is user-friendly for both IT and employees.
Cell signal boosters are the better solution for improving voice and data for all users and devices:
- Able to cover large, HetNet, enterprise-level buildings
- Very affordable compared to DAS
- Multi-carrier friendly
- 4G LTE/HSPA+ compatible
- No significant infrastructure
- Rack-mounted options
- Support large numbers of simultaneous users
Get Help Understanding Cell Boosters vs. DAS
Looking for more individualized answers about how to improve cell reception at your facility? Contact ATG for help choosing an in-building cell signal booster that is affordable and right-sized for your organization’s needs.