Executive Summary: Eight Parameters for Optimal DAS Performance
Investing in a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is not an easy decision. It requires in-depth evaluation with many parameters playing a big role in the process. Any investment in a data-driven 4G solution must be measured by the value and data volume it yields, not the up-front CAPEX. The need for better coverage and, more importantly, the data capacity of the solution, should be the top priority. The investment must be evaluated based on the volume of data it can produce on both downlink (DL) and uplink (UL).
The ability to handle an ever-increasing volume of data is often the focus of an evaluation process; therefore, it is important to ensure that the investment in a DAS yields the highest data capacity possible, both for now and the foreseeable future. It is a known fact that data traffic grew 50 percent from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016, and that voice traffic has more or less stagnated (Figure 1).
The conclusion is that you need to invest in a DAS that provides the best level of data performance per investment, and that can be upgraded easily in the future with additional bands and features to support growth. Evaluating an investment in a DAS by focusing only on brute downlink power is insufficient, and does not take into consideration the true performance of its data production.
Unfortunately, most DASs are assessed on downlink performance only. This is a big mistake. The “DL Level KPI” is important, and both the DAS and the design should comply with that KPI. However, the benchmark parameter should be the data capacity delivered by the DAS. Both the downlink and uplink data production per investment must be evaluated. After all, the motivation for implementing a DAS is a need for more data capacity with less investment. There could be a big disconnect between the signal level and the data capacity, depending on the quality of the DAS.
The following paper introduces the key parameters to consider:
- Making the DAS investment as efficient as possible
- Ensuring maximum performance
- Providing low total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Mobile operators will need to produce more data for less.
- Mobile operators work with fixed RF spectrum, so they need to drive as much data over the spectrum as possible.
In this document, we will discuss some of the main parameters of RF performance, and their impact on a network’s throughput and efficiency.