Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

U.S. Outdoor and Indoor DAS Forecast, 2017-2022: Redefining DAS, eventually

DAS began years ago with passive systems, donor antennas and coaxial cable. Today's DAS may look a bit different – with remote units, fiber, maybe even a CPRI connection or a small cell as the radio source, but the function is unchanged: provide coverage inside a building (iDAS) or in an outdoor area (oDAS).

Tomorrow’s indoor DAS will perform the same function – provide coverage and capacity indoors – but the RF source and the processing will no longer be in the building. Outdoor DAS is already getting supplanted by what is now called Distributed RAN (D-RAN), which is the term that has displaced Centralized RAN. Eventually, D-RAN will get supplanted by Cloud RAN (C-RAN). And as all this happens, what we think of as a DAS today will be tomorrow’s C-RAN.

But that’s tomorrow. Today, buildings increasingly need indoor cellular coverage and capacity. Most venues that need DAS – stadiums, hotels, airports, etc., – already have it. iGR believes that the market for oDAS is a fading market because "RRH as small cells" provides a similar level of coverage/capacity with better future flexibility – i.e., moving toward baseband hoteling D-RAN and/or C-RAN. Also, mobile operators need coverage/capacity in different places in an urban/metro area so, as compared to indoors where shared antennas can enable lower costs, that same shared antenna model may not work quite as well.

iGR splits the DAS market by indoor and outdoor and then further divides the indoor market into commercial buildings and residential (multiple dwelling units or MDUs). iGR’s oDAS forecast grows out of its “outdoor small cell” model and market study, while its iDAS forecast grows out of its “indoor small cell” model and market study. This market study highlights the DAS-specific portions of those models and market studies. The commercial building segment is where iGR believes most of the DAS growth will occur over the next five years.

This market study provides a brief overview of the different types of small cells, including DAS, and the goals around future iDAS and oDAS deployments. It then provides an explanation of the methodology used to create the actual iDAS and oDAS forecasts, both for nodes and DAS systems.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is an outdoor small cell? What are metrocells, RRHs and oDAS?
  • What is an indoor small cell? What are femtocells, picocells and iDAS?
  • What is a DAS?
  • Why do the mobile networks need iDAS and oDAS?
  • How does DAS fit into operators’ evolving networks?
  • What are the issues with deploying DAS in the U.S.? How do these issues impact the number of small cells in the market?
  • What is the role of CPRI with iDAS and oDAS?
  • How is DAS changing/evolving?
  • Where are DAS nodes most likely to be located? What’s their role?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Infrastructure OEMs
  • Small cell product and solution vendors
  • Backhaul service providers and equipment OEMs
  • Financial analysts and investors.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Basic Mobile Operator Network Architecture
    • Devices
    • MIMO
    • Massive MIMO
    • Wireless Spectrum
    • Cell Sites
    • Fronthaul & Backhaul
    • Mobile Network Core
  • Setting the Stage for Small Cells
    • Network “Pain Points”
    • Different Types of Small Cells
    • iGR’s Definitions of Small Cells
    • Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)
    • Hybrid Antenna System
    • DAS/Small Cell Architecture
    • Distributed “Radio” Systems
    • Neutral-Host DAS vs. Single Host DAS
    • Changing Nature of DAS
    • Femtocells and Picocells
    • Metrocells
    • Remote Radio Heads
    • Difference Between RRHs and oDAS
    • Difference between RRHs and Metrocells
    • Multi-band Small Cells
    • Location, Location, Location
  • Indoor Small Cells: Awareness, Pros and Cons
    • Enterprise Small Cell Awareness
    • Benefits of Deploying In-Building Small Cells
    • Cons of Deploying In-Building Small Cells
    • Advantages Provided by DAS
    • Challenges with DAS Deployments
  • Commercial Buildings in the U.S.
  • Housing in the U.S.
  • Outdoor Small Deployment Issues
    • Small Cell deployment requirements
    • Regulatory considerations
    • Small Cell Installations
    • Locations for Small Cells
    • Small Cell Options: Backhaul & Fronthaul
    • Small Cell Deployment Issues
      • X2
      • COMP
      • ICIC and eICIC
      • Synchronization
      • Latency
      • CPRI
      • What is CPRI?
      • Why Use CPRI / Fronthaul?
      • eCPRI
      • NGFI
  • General Trends / Assumptions around Outdoor DAS
    • Gap between bandwidth demand and supply
    • Outdoor small cell deployment
    • Drivers
    • Barriers
  • General Trends / Assumptions around Indoor DAS
    • Indoor densification
    • Residential
    • Enterprise
    • Wi-Fi
    • Other assumptions
  • DAS: Actual Deployments
    • Assumptions and trends
    • U.S. Installed DAS Nodes
    • U.S. DAS Systems
  • DAS Vendor Profiles
    • Advanced RF Technologies, Inc. (ADRF)
    • Bandwidth Logic
    • Betacom Incorporated
    • Black Box Network Services
    • BTI Wireless
    • C Squared Systems (C2 Systems)
    • Cobham Wireless
    • Comba Telecom
    • CommScope
    • Connectivity Wireless Solutions
    • Corning
    • Crown Castle
    • Dali Wireless
    • ExteNet Systems
    • Galtronics
    • iBwave Solutions (Corning)
    • SOLiD
    • Solutelia
    • Westell Technologies
    • Whoop Wireless
    • Zinwave
  • Definitions
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Different Types of Small Cells, Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum
  • Table 2: Benefits of Neutral-Host DAS
  • Table 3: Awareness of Enterprise Small Cell Solutions
  • Table 4: Interest in Enterprise Small Cell Solutions
  • Table 5: Advantages of DAS
  • Table 6: Challenges of DAS
  • Table 7: Commercial Buildings in the U.S.
  • Table 8: Commercial Buildings in the U.S.
  • Table 9: Commercial Buildings in the U.S.
  • Table 10: Number of Floors per Commercial Building
  • Table 11: Predominant Roof Material
  • Table 12: Predominant Exterior Wall Material
  • Table 13: Windows and Interior Lighting Features
  • Table 14: Number of Housing Units by Units in Structure, U.S.
  • Table 15: Housing Units by Number of Floors, U.S.
  • Table 16: Square Footage of Occupied Housing Units, AHS
  • Table 17: U.S. Installed DAS Nodes, 2017-2022
  • Table 18: U.S. DAS Systems, 2017-2022
  • Definitions Table

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: Installed DAS Nodes, U.S. only, 2017-2022
  • Figure 1: Basic Components of Cellular Voice/Data Network
  • Figure 2: Cell Site Backhaul Capabilities and Use Cases, Wired and Wireless
  • Figure 3: Overview of the EPC
  • Figure 4: Het-Net Overview
  • Figure 5: Basic DAS Configuration
  • Figure 6: DAS, BTS Hotels, and Remote Radio Heads
  • Figure 7: Types of DAS
  • Figure 8: 3GPP Approaches to Network Sharing
  • Figure 9: Awareness of Enterprise Small Cell Solutions
  • Figure 10: Interest in Enterprise Small Cell Solutions
  • Figure 11: Commercial Buildings in the U.S.
  • Figure 12: Buildings in the U.S.
  • Figure 13: Number of Floors per Commercial Building
  • Figure 14: Predominant Roof Material
  • Figure 15: Predominant Exterior Wall Material
  • Figure 16: Windows and Interior Lighting Features
  • Figure 17: Number of Housing Units by Units in Structure, U.S.
  • Figure 18: Housing Units by Number of Floors, U.S.
  • Figure 19: Square Footage of Occupied Housing Units, AHS
  • Figure 20: Possible Interference Sources in a Loaded Network
  • Figure 21: Overview of COMP
  • Figure 22: Example of Intercell Interference
  • Figure 23: Example of Coordinated Resource Blocks via ICIC
  • Figure 24: Blanking of subframes in eICIC
  • Figure 25: How Latency Adds Up
  • Figure 26: CPRI at the Macrocell and as Small Cell / CRAN
  • Figure 27: CPRI System & Interface Basics
  • Figure 28: Functional Split in CPRI, Version 1
  • Figure 29: Functional Split in CPRI, Version 2
  • Figure 30: Dimensioning CPRI Links
  • Figure 31: NGFI Diagram
  • Figure 32: Splitting the Processing
  • Figure 33: Actual U.S. DAS Deployments by Type, 2017-2022
  • Figure 34: U.S. DAS Systems, 2017-2022

For additional information on the U.S. Outdoor and Indoor DAS Forecast, 2017-2022: Redefining DAS, eventually market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.