DAS Antennas to be Heard, Not Seen - AGL Bulletin Article01.06.2012
By J. Sharpe Smith, Read original article by the 'Above Ground Level' Bulletin
Aesthetics are important to most commercial buildings, including hotels, historic buildings, hospitals, colleges and restaurants. So, it begs the question, what is the best way to promote the deployment of DAS antennas, which can alter a structure's look? Galtronics thinks it has the answer: hide them or at least make them less obvious.
Galtronics' Pear DAS in-building antenna line, showcased last week at DAS Congress in Las Vegas, minimizes the visible size of the antenna or even conceals it from public view.
The challenge of developing the antennas, Ephraim Ulmer, president and CEO of Galtronics, told DAS Bulletin at International CTIA Wireless 2012 in New Orleans, was to make sure the performance of the antennas was not degraded.
"The new low-profile indoor antennas have been fully tested to operate above hard ceilings and drop ceilings," Ulmer said. "To place an antenna above the ceiling, you have to make sure that it is designed to radiate at the right angles through the ceiling to get the coverage that the carriers need. Because of the metal grid in the ceiling that interacts with the antenna, we had to design the propagation patterns to minimize that interaction to maintain antenna performance."
After launching the industry's first MIMO indoor antenna last year, which helped aesthetics by reducing the number of antennas needed in a building, Galtronics then went to work on a form factor that would make those antennas more aesthetically pleasing and even hidden above the ceiling tile.
Ulmer noted that hiding antennas comes naturally for the company, which integrated the antennas inside of today's cell phone handsets and inside of the Cisco router's enclosure.
"In the same reason we hid antennas inside of handsets, we wanted to hide them inside buildings," Ulmer said. "[Aesthetics] have been driving the strategy. Our ultimate goal is to please the building owner with an antenna solution that does not compromise the building's interior design … and to make the system integrators' and installers' jobs easier."
Pear in-building DAS offers several different options, including a through-ceiling mount, for the Pear S4935 and M4969 antennas, which conceals the antenna with only the nose protruding through the ceiling; an above ceiling mount (for antennas Pear M4772, M4969 and S4935), which conceals the antenna completely from public view; and a flush hard ceiling mount where the antenna is attached to a round plastic plate that is the only visible part of the antenna after installation.
Galtronics has received carrier approval for the in-building antenna line and is now marketing to building owners, carriers, neutral hosts and integrators.
"The next step is to make these integrations known to the venue owners -- the people who care about the aesthetics of the building," Ulmer said. "If you can get the performance that you need from the antenna and not see the antenna or only see a little bit of it, you are in the sweet spot."