DAS and Enterprise Small Cells

Blog published by CW (Cambridge Wireless), under Small Cells

On the 7th December, CW headed to Huawei Technologies UK HQ in Reading to deliver the last Small Cell SIG event of 2017 - here's a summary of what happened...

Approx 70 delegates joined to discuss the event "DAS and Enterprise Small Cells - Competition or Collaboration?" which welcomed 3 industry experts to the stage:

  • Ray Williamson, Huawei "The evolution of indoor cellular networks" [view presentation here]
  • Graham Payne, Opencell "Co-life: DAS vs Small Cells" [view presentation here]
  • Bob Slorach, Wireless Infrastructure Group "The evolving eco-system of indoor systems and connectivity" [view presentation here
  • Adis Omeragic, EE (presentation not available for viewing)

SIG champion David Chambers, Founder and Senior Analyst at ThinkSmallCell agreed with the CW team that this was one of our better Small Cell SIG events commenting:

Over-subscribed and an engaged audience during presentations and the networking breaks. As always, great admin support from the CW team. 

David's key take-aways are as follows: 

In-building wireless continues to be hampered not by technology choice of DAS vs Small Cells but by strong capability demands and too little facilitation from network operators, who continue to insist on provision of the full range of spectrum bands and technical options used outdoors. These may be relevant in some high profile demanding locations such as stadiums but far less so for enterprise and multi-tenant residential properties. Surprisingly, EE stated that less than 10% of DAS installations are fully connected to all four operators. Building owners/property developers are prepared to contribute towards funding of in-building systems where the solution is at a more reasonable price point and multi-operator connectivity is assured. Deployment of multiple enterprise femtocells by OpenCell offers a low cost alternative available today but WIG group point to a huge untapped market of some 2 billion sq ft of 100K to 300K sq ft buildings that would benefit from a multi-operator, multi-technology installations such as Huawei’s hybrid small cell/DAS products.

To read David's comprehensive write-up - take a look at his blog here.

Zahid Ghadialy is another of our SIG champions and a brilliant supporter of the Small Cell SIG. Here are his key take aways...

DAS vs Small Cells is still an item in 2017. Despite the predictions of ‘DAS is dead’ for last many years, its still thriving. While DAS has traditionally captured large enterprises or buildings with a large footprint, small cells work out to be far more economical and easy to install in small and medium enterprises.  However things may be starting to change. The speakers and panel agreed that passive DAS has no future while active DAS will continue to support large venues and buildings. While all the speakers were extremely knowledgeable and to the point, one talk that stood out for me was from Adis Omeragic from EE. He pointed out that while DAS is competing neck to neck with enterprise small cells, 4x4 MIMO will probably end DAS dominance. He also mentioned that hybrid small cell + DAS products could capture a significant chunk of the indoor market.

The last point that the panel agreed on was that Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) may be good, but it will never become the default voice option indoors. This is something that I disagree with and look forward to a CW event covering this topic in the future.

Ray Williamson from Huawei presented a unique neutral model host model which will help to resolve thhe growing problem of poor indoor cellular coverage in the UK and other countries. The model suggests that the Capex & Opex funding is coming from landlords through Neutral Host players who remain independent to MNOs and technology vendors. This creates a win-win solution for all the stakeholders in this ecosystem.

Small cell Huawei powerpoint slide

To view resources from the event - click here 

Comments from social media on the day... (simply search #CWSmallCell to join the conversation)

@3G4G: The panel unanimously agreed that VoWiFi won't become default voice option indoors, VoLTE is needed #CWSmallCell  

@fletch_sc (Simon Fletcher, Real Wireless)  Adis @EE special projects indicates that hybrid smallcell+DAS products could capture a "significant chunk" of the indoor market #CWSmallCell

@mikethebee (Mike Beardmore) Intergrating the landlord and backhaul are key to #smallcell deployment. #cwsmallcell and also for #LPWAN at scale IMO. 

@zahidtg (Zahid Ghadialy, Parallel Wireless) Lots of very good points made by Ray Williamson of @Huawei about where the technologies and the data consumption is going #CWSmallCell 

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