Monday, 20 November 2017

DAS vs Small Cells for In-building coverage

Small cells vs DAS has been a topic of discussion for a long time. ThinkSmallCell covered this topic back in 2014. I don't think things have changed much.

Recently I came across ClearSky and Opencell. They both have a slightly different approach to providing in-building coverage solutions. Instead of focusing on having neutral host small cells with MOCN or other network sharing approach, they act as neutral host providers responsible for integrating small cells from multiple operators within the building.

ThinkSmallCell has a detailed write-up of Opencell and Clearsky Technologies. What impressed me is the Opencell article saying (emphasis mine):
This isn’t a true neutral host where a single set of small cells is shared by all operators and routed through a central gateway. Each small cell is connected directly to its host operator – there is no shared gateway switch  through which all traffic is concentrated.
Instead they use Enterprise Small Cells to provide in-building cellular service from all four UK networks at a 75% lower price than DAS including basestations. Parallel sets of small cells are installed, one set for each operator. Typically a single dedicated LAN is used with a single separate fibre backhaul through the Internet. Each installation is designed, commissioned and maintained directly by the OpenCell team.
A 24/7 Data Centre with fault and performance monitoring service constantly tracks operation and identifies problems. We can remotely diagnose and fix issues, and will attend next day to fix or replace faulty hardware. We charge an initial setup fee and an ongoing operational support rate. There would also be a callout fee and additional cost for major changes, such as when the building is redeveloped, layout changed or new tenants are introduced.
It can be 75% cheaper to install enterprise small cells from multiple operators rather than install DAS. Again, I am sure there is a point till which it would make sense to do this. After that, it would be cheaper to have a DAS solution.

In couple of weeks, Cambridge Wireless is hosting a seminar on this topic, 'DAS and Enterprise Small Cells - Competition or Collaboration?'. I am hoping to hear more details about this.

In the meantime, if you would like to explore more about this topic, see the links below.

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