FIRST, A DEFINITION: DAS stands for distributed antenna system. Distributed Antenna Systems are a very broad classification of technology that points to any system where antennas and cabling are used to disperse RF signal through a building. They can be for cellular enhancement, or to make first responder radios work properly (and meet code) inside buildings. PLEASE NOTE:  We’ve tried to make our answers accessible for people of all experience levels. 

If you’re interested in more technical details, please CONTACT US!  We’d be happy to geek out with you.


Technically, they’re both DAS – Distributed Antenna Systems.  They both take signal from an antenna and distribute it throughout a building.  The difference is more about the end user of the signal.  When people refer to DAS they usually mean life/safety DAS, sometimes called public safety DAS.  This is the system that is in place to guarantee first responders a communication network in the event of an emergency.   When people refer to cellular enhancement they usually mean the system that is in place to provide cell phone service – voice/data/text – for the people living or working in the building.  

These DAS systems are also called:

  • Cellular repeater systems

  • Cell phone repeater systems

  • Cellular enhancement systems OR cellular signal enhancement systems

  • In-building wireless (refers to either cell or WiFi signal)

  • Cell phone boosters


Several factors influence price, with the square footage of the affected area and the availability of cell signal outside being the primary considerations.


Other influential pieces include things like:

  • Whether the ceiling is a hard lid or lift tile ceiling  

  • The layout of building

  • Whether there are cement cores in place between floors

  • … and many other issues that we will analyze together with you


Surprisingly, the omni-directional rooftop antennas are small discrete devices that are not visible from street level.

THE PROCESS               

  1. Consultation:  we’ll discuss your coverage problems/concerns and review your architectural plans to determine whether or not a site survey is required.  If it is, we come to your site and take readings of available signal strength inside & outside the property.   

  2. Survey:  We complete our survey by using a PCTel SeeHawk which is widely recognized as the most accurate and reliable test equipment for RF on the market. This survey will show what carriers and areas the signal is deficient for in the buidling.

  3. Proposal:  We compile all the information on your site, including your budget, to create a proposed solution that will deliver the most bang for your buck.

  4. Order:  Once the proposal is approved and signed, we accept a 50% deposit and order the equipment.

  5. Schedule:  At proposal signing, we contact your GC and/or ownership to coordinate schedules.

  6. Installation:  We wire and install your system according to schedule.  llluminati Labs strives to make our installations as seamless as possible. With no hyperbole, our teams believe in being the best on-site integrator you have ever worked with. Period. 

  7. Commission:  This is the exciting part where we ensure that the system is balanced and works flawlessly. 

  8. Report:  We create another heat map, similar to our initial survey. This mapping will show us the delta between the initial survey and the survey with a functioning cellular system.

  9. Next Site: We work closely with partners to help them on any subsequent projects, always working to make our project integration seamlessly worked into the construction process.

THE FUTURE               

Your current cell service will not be affected; if you have great 4G now the arrival of 5G will not change that.  Even better, 5G will add drastically improved data speeds — up to 100 times faster broadband –- plus “smart” networks that can evolve with your growing Internet of Things (IoT) demands.  The catch is that before you can enjoy all that, you’ll have to bring the 5G into your building from outside with a cell enhancement system.    

Despite the hype being advertised by the big phone carriers, true 5G for the public is still several years away. However, building owners and managers are wise to get prepared for 5G today.   Prepping now will mean saving money, saving time and not experiencing any cell coverage losses when 5G is actually deployed large scale.