If you are the owner of a public facility, you may be required to install a public safety Distributed Antenna System (DAS). A DAS is a system consisting of a repeater and antennas that provides wireless coverage throughout a building. A public safety DAS is specially constructed to provide reliable coverage to emergency responders. When installing a public safety system, you may be able to incorporate the system within your existing cellular DAS or deploy a separate public safety DAS. Both approaches work, but which is best for you? To determine this answer, we’ll need to look at three categories of DAS integration issues: regulatory, technical and economic, and jurisdictional.
You will need to look to your municipality for regulations that affect your public safety DAS. A typical rule passed by municipalities is that new building renovations with more than three stories or underground facilities must pass a public safety communications test.
You will also need to follow National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Fire Code standards. A few of the standards you may need to meet to follow NFPA and International Fire Code standards are as follows:
- Waterproof installation that utilizes NEMA 4X enclosures.
- backup 24 hour battery backup (UPS) that is also NEMA 4X compliant.
- Integration with your Fire Alarm Control Panel and monitoring center to ensure availability and operation of the public safety DAS.
- More extensive coverage to include coverage in stairwells or elevator shafts.
Cellular DAS typically does not need to meet these extensive requirements, but a converged DAS would. The best type of installation will depend upon the requirements you are responsible for meeting.
Technical and Economic Issues
There are different deployment goals for both public safety DAS and cellular DAS. the goal of a public safety DAS is to provide comprehensive, building-wide coverage for first responders, while the goal of cellular DAS is to both provide coverage in public-use areas as well as coverage for smartphone users. Cellular DAS requirements are typically driven by carrier requirements, or to infill areas where coverage is spotty or weak. Trying to combine both types of deployment can be economically inefficient, so you’ll need to determine which type of deployment best meets the needs of your facility.
Finally, you’ll have to consider jurisdictional issues when installing your DAS. The most important regulation for public safety DAS is that it is secure and only accessible by Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), which includes the building owner and first responders. If your entire DAS–including the public safety system–is accessible to commercial DAS technicians or maintenance staff, then there is a possibility that you could have an interruption of service. Because of this, it is generally a wiser decision to deploy and manage your public safety DAS separate from your cellular DAS. Public safety DAS, unlike cellular DAS, requires annual inspections and certifications to ensure reliable coverage if and when the need for it arises.
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FiberPlus has been providing data communication services for a number of different markets through fiber optics since 1992. What began as a cable installation company for Local Area Networks has grown into a top telecommunications business that can provide the Richmond, VA, Columbus, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Baltimore, MD, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia areas with a number of different services. These services now include:
- Structured Cabling
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