What Are Small Cells and Distributed Antenna Systems?

Video Q&A with Mike Haberman, vice president of network support.

By on September 22, 2014

To provide the best possible 4G LTE network experience for customers, Verizon Wireless employs cutting-edge technology to deliver consistently reliable wireless service across the United States. The goal is to enhance the customer experience and provide customers the access and coverage they need to enable their mobile lifestyles.

But how is the wireless technology delivered to us?

Many of us have seen cell towers as we drive along the highway. Yet Verizon Wireless also deploys other technologies to provide the consistent reliability and coverage customers have come to expect. In this video, vice president of network support, Mike Haberman, shares some of the alternatives for instances when traditional cell sites are not available. 


Transcription of Video:

What are small cells?

A small cell is just like the name implies, it’s a mini cell site, and what that enables us to do is put these in areas that our regular cell sites couldn’t get into because it’s smaller in nature and it’s easier to get permission to put it in place. It augments our capacity in a given area.

Where are small cells placed?

You find small cells in all different areas. You could find them in the buildings. You could find them on the side of telephone poles. You could find them on the side of buildings. The nature of small cells allows you to put them in a lot of different locations. 

What is a distributed antenna system?

A distributed antenna system is a series of antennas that are typically connected by fiber. And, what happens is each one of those antennas is like a base station or like a small cell. An example of where you find a distributed antenna system is at the Super Bowl this past year in MetLife. We have a distributed antenna system in the bowl itself and it enabled us to grow the capacity of that cell of over 800 times that of the previous Super Bowl.

How do you decide which to use?

What you’re typically looking at is you’re trying to solve a problem. You know, there is a capacity issue there that you are trying to address. So, what you do as an engineer is you look and see what sort of equipment can you get in there. And, in certain cases that will be a small cell. And in certain cases that will be a DAS.  And in certain cases it might be an in-building system. So, each individual case is distinct and different. So, what we’ll do is we’ll look very closely at the cell site that we’re trying to solve the problem for and figure out what the proper solution is.  

Tags: Mike Haberman, small cell technology