Cobham Wireless will again be heading to the annual DAS and Small Cells Congress Europe next week. We’ll be educating, learning and networking with operators, service providers and systems integrators, discussing how Distributed Antenna Systems can help deliver consistent coverage anytime and anywhere.
We have a firm standing in this area, with over 20 years’ experience in designing and deploying fibre optic coverage systems, and most recently our intelligent digital DAS (idDAS). DAS is essential for extending cellular and public safety services, as well as transporting IP backhaul communications. We’ve successfully delivered connectivity to some of the world’s most challenging and complex structures; from the tallest glass and steel building in Italy, to the largest high school in the US, and longest road tunnel in South Asia.
Guaranteeing coverage in such places can be a challenge, as many modern building materials prevent RF signal from penetrating building walls, or outdoor arena and venue structures. Doing this affordably – from the perspective of both initial investment and running costs – can be an even greater challenge for venue owners.
Yet as our world becomes more connected with humans and devices more mobile, seamless connectivity is crucial. Mobile network traffic globally increased by 70% in the space of just one year, and will continue to climb as we demand and consume more data, wherever we are. And this volume will escalate further with the development of smart cities.
We learnt last month that Bristol has overtaken London as the UK’s smartest city, with the capital, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds making up the top five. This news followed Alphabet’s announcement that it will build the first tech city in a Toronto district, which will ‘achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.
The success of smart cities will be dependent on efficient, reliable connectivity, with enough capacity provision to support a huge range of IoT applications – as well as ensuring people can still make phone calls! The other crucial factor here is cost: the technology, deployment and provision of high quality, on-demand coverage must be affordable for all parties involved.
The solution? idDAS. Coverage can be dynamically shifted around an area, providing coverage only when and where it’s needed. Instead of deploying a raft of expensive equipment for each deployment, idDAS has introduced the possibility of sharing both resources and capacity. After an initial deployment, coverage can be extended from a single base station via our patented CPRI router to multiple locations, allowing capacity to be shared over huge distances via one multi-mode fibre link.
The benefits of idDAS can be seen in action in Berlin, which was only one of two European cities to make the top ten of IESE’s Cities in Motion Index 2017, which ranks smart cities across the globe.
Since 2015, we’ve been working with Vodafone to deliver 3G and 4G coverage to key locations across Berlin using an idDAS. The system was originally deployed at the historic Berlin Fan Mile, and has subsequently been extended using fibre cabling to the Sony Centre and Steigenberger Hotel, two venues which suffered from poor cellular coverage and insufficient capacity. The system now offers reliable and fast mobile connectivity to visitors and guests at these important locations, and there are plans to add other venues to this digital DAS architecture.
Using idDAS, the cost and management of the networks have been ascribed to the venues, delivering Berlin’s first neutral host network. Vodafone and other operators can shift capacity across all three venues to address peak times of mobile activity and make efficient use of energy, reducing OPEX.
This model can potentially be replicated across Berlin and the wider world. Able to support public safety and cellular communications, this cost-efficient, collaborative, sustainable solution will form the foundation of future smart cities.
If you’d like to hear more about the exciting opportunities presented by this technology we will be presenting with Vodafone at the DAS and Small Cells Congress Europe, on Tuesday 7th November at 13:30pm. We hope you can join us.
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Product Manager, Cobham Wireless
Ingo is responsible for defining the product management strategy at Cobham Wireless. He has over 20 years experience in telecommunication, wireless and fixed line and is also an Advisory Board Member for several enterprises and research projects.
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