How Does FORTE Neutral Source work with DAS?
A distributed antenna system or “DAS” is exactly what the name implies, an antenna for cellular signal that is spread throughout a building. Unlike a roadside tower that has a set of panel antennas broadcasting in all directions, DAS distributes multiple antenna heads throughout a building. These antenna heads are interconnected by custom-installed coax cable or fiber to specialized amplifiers and signal splitting boxes located throughout the property. The heart of a DAS is the head end where a cellular base station is connected to the DAS to create the signal the antenna system carries through the building. The bottom line is “no base station, no service,” and therein lies the issue. Even if the DAS is purchased by the property, the cellular base stations needed to drive the DAS has traditionally been supplied by the wireless operator. Unless the property is large and heavily trafficked, it is difficult for a property to engage with the operators in a coordinated fashion.
FORTE Neutral Source™ is the industry’s solution to this long running problem of simply and efficiently adding radio sources to a DAS. ClearSky is authorized by all four major U.S. operators – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile – to supply, deploy and operate cellular radio sources on their behalf to benefit properties in need of cellular ClearSky partners with DAS providers either on request of the property or through a direct relationship coverage.
Now a property in need of cellular coverage can make a single call to ClearSky and all aspects of planning and deploying the radio sources are handled by our team. It is important to note that ClearSky does not supply DAS itself. If you need help with a property, the DAS would come from your current infrastructure supplier or ClearSky can bring one of our many DAS partners to provide both the equipment and the installation services. If you are in the DAS business, please contact ClearSky for more information on partnership opportunities.
How is FORTE Neutral Source different from repeaters?
A repeater uses an antenna on the rooftop to collect cellular signal from the wireless operators’ various outdoor cellular towers. It then has an amplifier that strengthens this signal and sends it through the building through a series of coax-connected antenna heads. The signal from devices inside the building are collected by the antenna heads, amplified, and sent out via the rooftop antenna.
The fundamental issue with repeaters is they are relying upon the outdoor cellular tower to have the capacity to handle all the devices inside the building. In many cases, this extra capacity at the tower is not available. The end result is people inside the building will see they have 4 or 5 bars of signal strength because of the in-building amplifier but they will not be able to make/receive calls and/or will experience very slow data sessions because the capacity of the tower is exceeded.
FORTE Neutral Source is not a repeater. The FORTE Neutral Source (FNS) equipment package contains cellular radios from each wireless operator that provide both signal and capacity. As a result, the people in the building will enjoy a high performance cellular experience rather than the false illusion of raw signal strength but no capacity to handle the in-building traffic. FORTE Neutral Source is an approved solution by all four operators and ClearSky handles all the broadcast agreements necessary to bring the system live and operational. Repeaters are sometimes not approved by the operators and can be forced to be disconnected if the repeater system interferes with the outdoor network in any way.
How is FORTE Neutral Source different from a FORTE Small Cell System?
FORTE Neutral Source is a package of equipment and services that provides a signal source for a DAS. This is appropriate for most properties. However, some smaller properties or a few adjacent floors of a high rise might not be well suited to a DAS installation. In these cases, a FORTE Small Cell System might be a solution as it uses small cell radio heads connected with Ethernet Cat 5/6 cable to generate the radio signal throughout the area, rather than distributed antennas.
How do I buy FORTE Neutral Source?
ClearSky Technologies supplies everything you need to deploy your cellular signal source for an existing DAS or will work with a DAS supplier partner to add signal to a new installation. We also handle all wireless operator interactions and approval processes. After installation, ClearSky maintains the interconnection with the wireless operators so that the your DAS remains part of the cellular networks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Simply contact us to begin the purchase process.
Which wireless operators are supported?
FORTE Neutral Source and FORTE Small Cell Systems work with all four of the largest U.S. wireless operators, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. However, you may not need all four operators. FORTÉ is based on small cell technology, so you can pick the mix of operators that are important to your property. ClearSky will install and operate the correct set of small cells to deliver the desired service. For instance, you may find that Sprint has excellent coverage at your property because they have a lightly loaded outdoor cell tower very close by. However AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile service is lacking. In this case, you can choose service for just three of the four operators and ClearSky will deliver the appropriately sized solution.