5G Indoor Coverage and Evolution of Distributed Antenna Systems
This IDC Market Perspective looks at the evolving landscape of solutions that are available for extending/augmenting existing 3G/4G distributed antenna systems (DAS) to 5G coverage indoors. Indoor coverage in commercial buildings and transportation hubs has typically relied on passive distributed antenna systems to provide 3G/4G coverage. However, due to the higher frequencies of mid-band 5G, it will not be practical to try to deliver 5G on a passive antenna infrastructure but instead move to an active small cell architecture that utilizes fiber to connect the small cells. This type of infrastructure does not require the passive DAS to be ripped out since it can continue to service 3G/4G as long as these frequency bands are needed. Once a small cell architecture is deployed, a more clear path toward future proofing the investment for 6G in 2030 or later since fiber connectivity will become the extended fronthaul, and small cell technology can be easily replaced and/or upgraded in the future."The next several years will see hybrid 4G passive + active 5G architecture in brownfield commercial/retail deployments and, predominantly, 5G active small cell deployments in industrial scenarios," says Bill Rojas, adjunct research director, IDC Asia/Pacific Communications Group. He further adds "Industrial spaces such as factories with lots of AGVs and AMRs will be characterized by the need for high bandwidth and low latency, and these will best be served with an active 5G small cell architecture."
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