DAS as a Prelude to the Future of Networking

Morgan Kurk--thumbnail Morgan Kurk September 9, 2014

ION-E enterprise wireless--compressedSince the first Distributed Antenna System (DAS) went into operation over 30 years ago, its name has remained the same, but seemingly little else with DAS has.

In its infancy and throughout childhood, DAS was a method to provide coverage in areas where there was none. This need bore two fruit: the active and the passive DAS. Both were fairly static, and while they improved coverage, did little for alleviating increased network capacity demands.

DAS has now come of age. Its features and functions have long since moved from a coverage enhancer to a capacity reliever. True to its name, DAS still distributes signals from one location to another, but this is where the future breaks from the past. Systems today are dynamic, with various matrices that facilitate the movement of capacity from one location to the next. As a capacity play, DAS does things that pico cells simply cannot. DAS can simultaneously make available all spectrum for use, rather than one or two RF channels inside 20 MHz. Moreover, how that spectrum is used is completely user defined.

New features implemented in DAS facilitate the deployment of Self Organizing Network functionality. This includes turning off RF carriers and re-allocating bands on-the-fly to reduce spectral noise, coordinating with the macro network to allow dual connectivity (radio resources coming from both the DAS and the macro network), as well as easy support for LTE in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum (Licensed-Assisted Carrier Aggregation). What can be done with discrete eNode-Bs can be made more efficient and more dynamic when coupling them with a DAS and taking advantage of trunking efficiency and flexibility without having to compromise by entering the user space.

The concept of Remote Radio Heads and the dream of true Cloud RAN are a logical evolution of the wireless network as a whole. Much as the IT world is pulling its processing power toward the center of the network for efficiency, the telecom world will do the same. DAS pioneered this architecture by centralizing processing in base station hotels and moving capacity elsewhere.

While all manners of base stations will be used in future network deployments, DAS will play a central role in providing on-demand capacity wherever and whenever it is needed.

What do you think?

About the Author

Morgan Kurk--thumbnail

Morgan Kurk

Morgan Kurk is executive vice president and chief technology officer for CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. Mr. Kurk was promoted to this position upon the close of the ARRIS acquisition in 2019. He previously served as CommScope’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Kurk has nearly 25 years of experience in the information and communication technology industries. He joined CommScope as senior vice president of the Enterprise business unit, then served as senior vice president and segment leader for the Mobility business, then as CommScope’s CTO, with overall responsibility for the company’s long-term vision and strategic direction, before finally assuming the role of COO.

He previously was an executive at Allen Telecom, which later became part of Andrew Corporation, and ultimately CommScope. At Allen Telecom and Andrew Corporation, Mr. Kurk held a variety of positions including director of business development in the United States and China; vice president of R&D, PLM, and strategy; and vice president and general manager of the Wireless Innovations Group worldwide.

Mr. Kurk holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brown University, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences and an expert in system integration.