CPI - Distributed Antenna System

Distributed Antenna Systems: Public-Safety Vs. Cellular

In the United States, 95% of the adult population owns a cell phone. With so many people using mobile devices, carrier networks can get crowded which may result in bad service. Not only do people use cellular devices for personal reasons, but people use cell phone networks for business, emergencies, and other communication purposes. The need to connect to a wireless service provider network has shifted from a luxury to a necessity.

When a cellular device accesses a network in a building, there is generally a distributed antenna system (DAS) in place that delivers cell phone coverage. This creates wireless coverage where there would have been a lack of cell service. There are two types of DAS, public-safety and cellular. A public-safety DAS provides comprehensive coverage with clear and consistent voice communications for first responders everywhere in the structure. A cellular DAS provides coverage in public-use areas and also enough data capacity for smartphone users.

Combined or Separate?

Businesses can decide to have both distributed antenna systems, keep them separate or combine them. While it is important for venues of all sizes to have both types of DAS, it is more beneficial to keep the systems separate.

Separate systems allow public safety agents to access clear communication channels with proper security control and reduced risk of interference. Separate systems also makes it easier to reduce overall costs because of the regulations required for a public-safety DAS.

A combined system consumes more resources. With a combined system, the entire DAS is required to comply with public-safety regulations. This includes 24/7 battery regulation and various antenna placements. In addition, there is an inconsistency between redundant and non-redundant requirements between the two systems. It can be difficult to optimize and over-redundant.


A public-safety DAS is required to comply with the following regulations:

  • 8-12 hour battery backup
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) & International Fire Code standards
  • Occupancy permit required
  • Pass a public-safety communications test for buildings with and underground facility or 3+ stories

It is important for every building to have a working cellular DAS as well as a public-safety DAS. Not only will a distributed antenna system improve signal, provide more-defined coverage, and increase staff productivity, but it will also reduce costs in the long run due to less energy usage. To learn more about installing a distributed antenna system, contact us to set up a free site survey.

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