Posted on Wed Jul 07 2021
How Does a Passive Distributed Antenna System Work?
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) work to capture and amplify cell signal — helping to ensure better connections across a building or facility. Not all DAS are created equally. There are active, passive, and hybrid DAS solutions.
Understanding which is right for your business allows you to choose the best technology for supporting your clients, business partners, and employees. Find out more about passive DAS solutions below and why this might be the right choice for your business.
What Is a Passive DAS System?
A passive DAS system involves one or more antennas that capture signal from a nearby cell tower. Smaller antennas designed to broadcast the signal then redistribute the captured signal across a facility. As an added bonus, they work to amplify or boost the signal — making it as much as 32 times stronger.
The antennas are a critical part of the amplifier system. Donor antennas, installed on the roof or near a window, bring in the outdoor signal. Installing broadcast antennas on the interior wall (panel antennas) or ceiling (dome antennas) helps transmit the amplified signal to phones and other cellular-connected devices indoors. Both types of antennas connect to the amplifier unit via coaxial cable.
Imagine you have an office building that spans half a block in the city. There are buildings all around it, which can interfere with cell signal from a tower a few blocks away. That could lead to poor signal performance throughout the structure. A passive DAS solution allows the signal to be captured, amplified, and passed to all levels of the building.
The Difference Between Active and Passive DAS
Active distributed antenna systems do a similar job, typically for enormous locations such as football stadiums. Where passive DAS relies on coaxial cable and antennas to distribute signal, active DAS uses components such as fiber optic cable. If you’re not familiar with the costs of this type of materials, know that fiber optic cable is much more expensive than coaxial cable. This is just one reason active DAS solutions are more costly than passive DAS options — by a lot.
Active DAS solutions are also harder and more time-consuming to install. They represent a huge infrastructure undertaking and are regulated by the FCC. You also have to get approval by each phone carrier and work with the carriers to integrate their individual signals.
Passive DAS solutions conform to FCC regulations and do not require outside regulatory approval. Since most systems are pre-approved and require low infrastructure for installation, a passive DAS can be installed in a matter of weeks.
How Does Passive DAS Work?
While it gets a bit more technical than this, here are the basics of how passive DAS solutions work:
- Signal is present from a cell phone tower. You do need some signal — passive DAS systems don’t create signal out of nothing. So, if you’re planning to save a ton with a new business location out in the country, make sure cell signal from preferred carriers does reach it.
- Exterior antennas capture the signal. These antennas can be placed to capture signal at the best point, so you don’t need signal to be prevalent throughout your entire location.
- Signal is passed from the exterior or capture antennas along coaxial cables to broadcast antennas. These antennas do the work of boosting the signal and broadcasting it to any relevant devices in the area.
- Employee, business, and consumer devices connect with those broadcast antennas. Cellular-connected devices receive signal as they normally would directly from the cell tower. This is because the devices perceive the antennas as being the strongest available “tower.”
What Are Some Benefits of Passive DAS?
Passive DAS solutions offer a wide range of benefits for businesses, including the opportunity to offer better call and data connection quality for employees and customers.
Enhance Call Quality and Reliability
From workstations to conference rooms, a passive DAS allows employees and customers to harness full-strength cellular service throughout a boosted building. The system eliminates dropped calls, enhances voice quality, and maximizes efficient data use.
Users will no longer clamor for those few spots in the office where cell phones actually work. And with less cell phone battery power going toward finding a signal, users may find that their cell phone batteries last longer.
Reduce Reliance on Location
When you know you can equip your business facilities with passive DAS solutions, you don’t have to solely rely on the position of your nearest cell tower. As long as your business receives a signal from nearby cell towers, the cell signal repeater can ensure it’s strong enough throughout your location to support business.
That means you can pick the right location for your business. Whether you need a specific layout to support your processes or want a sweet spot on a bottom floor downtown to promote foot traffic, you don’t have to give up one benefit for another.
Enjoy a Carrier-Agnostic Cellular Solution
Unlike an active DAS, which creates its own single-carrier signal, a passive DAS is carrier agnostic. It provides users with a universal solution regardless of service provider.
That makes strong, clear cell phone reception a reality for colleagues, customers, and employees, no matter what carrier each person is using. This lets you support bring-your-own-device policies and ensures everyone in your building has full access to communication.
Find Out How to Use Passive DAS in Your Business
Whether you use major carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon or a smaller regional carrier, passive distributed antenna solutions ensure everyone gets the same amplified signal.