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Passive DAS vs Active DAS

Passive DAS vs Active DAS

Posted by Dennis Findley on 5th Mar 2019

Today we’re going to give you a better understanding of what the heck people are talking about when they say DAS.

You might already know the term DAS but are you familiar with the difference between Active DAS and Passive DAS? When you’re looking into the different ways to improve cell service for office or home, this information could save you lots of time, stress, and money.

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What is DAS?

A DAS, which stands for Distributed Antenna System, uses various components to provide signal inside of a home, office or commercial building. Some of these components require power to function, and others do not. This is the one key difference between active and passive systems.

What is Passive DAS?

Different from Active DAS, Passive DAS does not add capacity to the carrier’s network because it utilizes the available signal provided by the outside cellular towers through what’s called a donor antenna (Related Post: How To Choose the Right Outside Antenna).

Passive systems are most often referred to as a cell signal booster and this type of DAS is most often carrier neutral, which means it will work with any cell carrier in North America. Like we mentioned earlier, these systems do not use components that need power, like splitters, couplers and coaxial cable.

What is Active DAS?

Active DAS uses components that require power. They often consist of fiber optic cables and remote nodes. They also allow you to add capacity to a network by using a base station to generate signal strength and communicate directly with the carrier. This is why most Active systems are carrier specific, utilizing a different base station for each carrier.

How To Choose Between Active DAS and Passive DAS

Active DAS often deters many customers, who later turn to Passive DAS. The reason for this is that Active systems are much more complex and require the approval of each cell carrier the system boosts. This translates to a very high price tag, usually hundreds of thousands or millions, and also comes with a long approval process that often takes many months or even more than a year.

Passive DAS is the most common option for most homes and buildings up to 300,000-square-feet and covering everything below that. The total installation time takes anywhere between a few hours to just under a week. The price is very fair, with solutions ranging from a few hundred to custom installations that can get into the thousands. Passive DAS systems already have blanked approval provided by all of the cell carriers in North America and every SureCall cell phone signal booster is FCC approved, which means they have been tested and met all FCC requirements.

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One benefit to the engineers, building managers, IT admins, and others who manage these Passive DAS solutions is the ability to manage the system via the cloud. Setting up alerts, notifications, monitoring and making adjustments to the system remotely simplify life for many installers and system managers.

At SureCall we lead the industry with our cloud based signal booster management tool, Sentry. This comes built-in to our Force5 2.0, which is the industry leader for commercial applications up to 25,000 sq. ft. on one booster and filling much larger spaces with multiple boosters.

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