As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Distributed Antenna Systems: DAS in a Nutshell, today’s wireless users expect uninterrupted communication everywhere they go, from the office, to the elevator, and everything in between. While many Americans want 24/7 coverage, some rely on it. First responders need reliable radio and cell phone coverage at all times and in all locations to keep the public safe.
In an emergency, a well-functioning Distributed Antenna System (DAS) could be the difference between lives saved vs. lives lost. Cellular service for communication with building occupants is also critical. During a catastrophe, a phone call or mass notification via text message could save lives.
The Problem of Interoperability
Communication within a building was ideal, but not always possible. DAS could always carry public safety frequencies, but covering all the possible frequencies that could be used during an emergency wasn’t. Due to multiple agencies responding in mutual aid from neighboring communities, it was difficult and impractical to cover all the bases.
These issues became apparent in the wake of 9/11, when firefighters were unable to communicate with command and control, with police, and each other. Evacuating the buildings was made that much more difficult as a result. In response, the U.S. government enacted interoperability requirements for first responders, legally requiring shared common frequencies for intercommunication. DAS systems could now carry these specific frequencies inside buildings, allowing first responders to communicate amongst themselves.
Building Code Requirements
After 9/11, America tightened up on security, and for good reason. These concerns resulted in local ordinances and building codes for heightened public safety. Current IFC (International Fire Code) and IBC (International Building Code) require benchmarking to prove sufficient signal or an operational in-building DAS system. Two codes/standards that require first responder communications are International Fire Code Section 510.1 Appendix J and the National Fire Protection Association 72-2010 Chapter 24. This code outlines requirements for DAS systems around issues like coverage, survivability of the system, signal quality, license, and power backup. During the building design phase, architects, builders, and developers must adhere to codes and standards to obtain construction plan approval prior to final inspection. These codes are enforced through the state or local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).
Designing a DAS system is a complex task that requires an understanding of building construction, signal strength, signal quality and interference issues, among others. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, bringing on a DAS expert from the get-go is highly recommended.
The Graybar Advantage
Graybar has the products, people, and capabilities needed to design, deploy, and maintain state-of-the-art Distributed Antenna Systems. Graybar acts as a matchmaker, working behind the scenes to connect the contractors and integrators who provide turn-key professional services.
About The Author
Eric Toenjes, Business Development Manager, DAS
Before Graybar, Eric spent over 11 years working within sales and account management for companies like Sprint and Nextel Communications, spear-heading an 11-state region for DAS sales to enterprise and major cellular carrier accounts. Eric understands that the ubiquitous in-building wireless network is a
requirement of every commercial building and campus. As Business Development Manager (DAS) at Graybar, Eric works diligently to foster strategic partnerships and enable delivery of outstanding in-building wireless networks for Graybar’s customers.
Sources & Credits