How to budget for a DAS system
Cellular DAS is a great way to improve phone coverage. Still, it’s not a universal or one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.
Careful planning and consideration go into preparing for such an investment, which has the potential to transform and assist your business development strategy and take care of communications and reception issues.
Here’s how you can plan your cellular DAS system cost to budget for success.
Step 1: Identify and assess your current issues
The first step to budgeting for a cellular DAS system is identifying and assessing your current issues.
First, look at your building space: Is there any noticeable difference in signal strength from one room or area inside your building compared with another? Are there any places where reception gets weaker over time?
Then, reflect on your current carrier, particularly if you have used the same cellular service provider for years. It’s easy to overlook the fact that you may have some issues with your cell phone coverage from the signal source, which could indicate the need for a cellular DAS system.
If so, this could indicate that some work needs to be done on upgrading or repairing equipment within those areas or upgrading your connectivity by installing your own antennas.
Step 2: Identify and draft your primary expectations and needs
The second step is to identify and draft your primary expectations and needs. This is where you’ll be able to think through the most critical aspects of your project, such as coverage, capacity, cost, and time frame.
As you’re drafting these expectations, it’s vital that they’re written in a way that allows for flexibility if certain things don’t pan out as expected, (e.g., if demand exceeds capacity) and as a reference point for potential partners to assist with.
- Coverage – What areas in your building or business need cellular service? How many people are likely to need coverage at any given time?
- Capacity – How much bandwidth can we saturate with an average user population? Could other factors like weather or physical geography affect our ability to provide adequate service levels over time?
Step 3: Complete detailed design and budget
Now that you’ve understood what it means to implement a cellular DAS system, let’s look at how to budget for one.
- Understand the different components of a system. A cellular DAS comprises three main components: an antenna, a base station, and an amplifier. You’ll need to determine which ones apply in your case and choose accordingly based on what you want out of your system (i.e., higher capacity vs. longer battery life).
- Determine what you need to achieve your goals by evaluating each component individually before moving forward with designing and building anything else (such as software or hardware upgrades later down the road when necessary).
- Explain and elaborate on why certain features are essential to your business: For example, if someone wants better coverage indoors where there aren’t any outdoor obstructions.
Cellular DAS is a great way to improve cellular coverage, but you need to get the proper scope and budget.
- A key step in designing your DAS project is determining where you’re going with it. If your goal is just to improve your cell signal strength, then you can focus on getting a single-unit antenna at the top of your building or in an attic space. But if you want something more comprehensive (such as adding multiple antennas), then it’s time for some planning.
- Once you decide how many cell sites (or towers) are needed based on the traffic patterns within your area, two things will determine how much money goes into each site: size and location(s).
- As we mentioned above: Location matters! For instance: If there’s only one tower available within 500 feet from where people need service most often—say near grocery stores—then getting coverage from that tower might cost less than buying four smaller ones spread throughout town instead because fewer people would be able (or willing)
Step 4: Face reality
You’ve put in the time, effort, and money to complete the job. Now it’s time to face reality.
Before you build your cellular DAS system, you must decide what value for money means for your business.
This is not an easy question as many factors should be considered when determining these costs.
- What equipment will be used?
- How many users will access the service at any given time?
- How much data will be transferred per month or week (or day)
Step 5: Onboard a qualified partner
Every endeavor comes with a challenge, and ensuring your distributed antenna system costs meet your expectations, making sure you have the right partner is a pivotal task.
Here are some of the main criteria you factor in when going through your research, tender, or procurement process:
- Choose a partner with experience in your area.
- Look for a partner who will be there for you long-term.
- Look for a partner who has a good reputation.
- Look for a partner with a good track record of success and reliability, which essentially means they have been around long enough to know what works, and how to get it done at an affordable price point!
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level and get the most out of your cellular DAS system, it’s time for some serious budgeting.
You can get a lot done with careful budgeting and a solid strategy as long as you look carefully and diligently at which features are necessary and which aren’t.
Most importantly, identifying and working with the right partner will ultimately determine your investment’s short-and long-term success.
Contact us to learn how we can help you with value engineering from start to finish.
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