In addition to support for mission critical communications, DAS creates long-term value for commercial real estate owners.
Public safety is a major priority in telecommunications and government sectors right now. All 50 states recently opted-in to AT&T’s FirstNet, a $40 billion, nationwide LTE network dedicated to first responders, and major venue and enterprise facility owners around the world are upgrading in-building cellular systems to better support police, firefighters, EMTs and other public safety officials.
In Melbourne, Australia, nine Protective Services Officers (PSO) surveillance offices co-located with Metro Trains Melbourne rail stations were recently connected with a digital distributed antenna system (DAS) provided by Dali Wireless, which worked through the project with VicTrack, the company that owns the railroad service.
The Dali DAS now provides public safety communications in what officials previously called “black-spots.” VicTrack Telecommunications GROUP General Manager Bruce Moore called passenger safety a “high priority” item. “That’s why we’re working to support the deployment of Protective Services Officers across metropolitan stations by upgrading their two-way radio technology. VicTrack will continue to work with government partners and the private telecommunications sector to ensure commuter safety concerns are addressed.”
The custom-designed, fiber-based DAS has an uninterrupted power system and network KPIs like speed and availability can be remotely monitored by technicians. As fiber becomes more pervasive in urban cores and building owners, carriers, neutral host providers and other stakeholders are investing in DAS and other in-building cellular infrastructure. In addition to public safety support, DAS can enhance tenant leasing rate and retention while also providing a platform for advanced building automation and other internet of things use cases.
In addition to VicTrack, Dali worked on the Melbourne project with system integrator Maser Group and Motorola, which provided engineering design and other services. Dali CEO Albert Lee described the public safety DAS deployment as a “landmark project [that] has provided the Victoria Police with the latest communications technology to help them in safeguarding the public.”
Dali provides an excellent six-step guide to deploying in-building wireless systems that covers everything from needs assessment to system monitoring and maintenance. Bottom line: “The demand for continuous, uninterrupted cellular service is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have for the “always-on” lifestyle of mobile users,” according to Dali. “Today, in-building wireless systems are an essential part of many businesses – be it to improve productivity or customer and staff satisfaction.”
Here’s an overview of DAS deployment best practices:
- Determine system requirements like coverage and capacity based on a thorough needs assessment while being mindful of current and future needs;
- Conduct a site survey to determine the optimal RF system design to ensure you get the most out of your in-building investment;
- Coordinate with mobile operators to streamline access to vital network infrastructure and spectrum licensing;
- Examine financing options, which can include an upfront investment by the operator or venue owner, or an opex-based model wherein costs are spread out over time;
- Work with system integrators and other project team members on installation, integration and commissioning;
- And take into account long-term monitoring and maintenance needs to maximize network performance.