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Verizon Wireless Vets CommScope’s In-building DAS

By J. Sharpe Smith

December 10, 2015 — Verizon Wireless has tested and approved CommScope’s ION-E DAS for use on its network. It is the first U.S. carrier to approve the product in laboratory testing, which is necessary for a carrier to begin using it as a part of its network. Two other U.S. carriers are in various stages of testing the technology and the remaining carrier doesn’t typically test equipment. Verizon will go live with ION-E deployments before the end of the year.

The development of the ION-E was announced 18 months ago and it was launched by third-party service providers earlier this year.

The purpose of the ION-E is to increase penetration into the Enterprise market. Deployment costs of DAS are too high to market the DAS to the majority of the enterprise market, according to Morgan Kurk, CommScope chief technology officer. Half of the cost of a typical DAS is gobbled up by installation.

“The skillset to deploy these multi-operator, multi-technology DAS systems is a challenge. It has to be made less complicated to lower the cost of deployment,” Kurk said. “We have tried to reduce the installation and design down to what it takes to do Wi-Fi.”

The ION-E is designed to be a simplified solution that can be deployed by IT professionals not necessarily RF technicians. Implementation of ION-E is simplified by using the structured cabling systems, single and multimode fiber and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, which are familiar to IT installers.

The enterprise market for indoor wireless coverage totals a whopping 30 billion square feet of office space, and only 2 percent is currently covered, according to Kurk. Class A real estate, used by Fortune 500 companies, is the immediate target market. CommScope hopes a new economic model can be developed that will drive DAS into use by enterprises.

Not All on Board With IBW

Even as CommScope and others take aim at the Enterprise in-building DAS market and 80 percent of all data sessions originate or terminate indoors, a new study shows that not all in the real estate community appear to be clued into the importance of in-building wireless.

The study, commissioned by CommScope and carried out by Coleman Parkes, showed that 48 percent of architects globally plan and design buildings to accommodate dedicated in-building cellular networks.

The research, which studied the views of building managers, facilities managers, real estate managers and architects, discovered differing opinions across industry sectors when assessing the importance of connecting people inside buildings.

For example, 70 percent of respondents in retail, a sector that relies on mobile as part of its commerce strategy, always consider indoor wireless as part of their building projects. Less consideration was given in sectors without as much reliance on mobile, such as banking and insurance (58 percent), and energy and utilities (50 percent).