Prior to a building being given a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), your local Authority Having Jurisdiction requires that a communications study must be completed to determine radio signal strength throughout the structure. If the study indicates no or limited coverage, then a radio enhancement system will be required.
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) are being installed in large numbers to support growing demand for in-building wireless services and meet local fire safety codes. Needs range from capacity enhancements for large stadiums to coverage enhancements inside office buildings, schools, healthcare facilities and subterranean areas not served by outdoor networks — to name a few. DAS can be designed as “passive” systems, using RF cable and dividers to distribute signals to remote antennas within the venue, or as “active” systems that use optical fiber to distribute signals to remote amplifiers throughout the venue. Which solution you choose depends on many variables, including budget, objective (coverage or capacity), size of the building and number of operators that will be sharing the system.
Testing these systems can be almost as challenging as designing and installing them. DAS can encompass fiber optic cables, RF cables, fiber optic (PON) splitters, RF splitters, radiating cables and amplifiers, and all of these components can be in one single system. Each system will be as unique as the facility to which it will be installed. There is no simple “one-size-fits-all” solution to testing a DAS, but if you break it down, it can be effectively tested and troubleshot.