January 22, 2016 — In a bid to increase its North American presence, Zinwave, a global in-building wireless OEM, has hired former Goodman Networks exec Scott Willis as CEO. Willis, based in Dallas, who has more than 30 years of executive experience with both carriers and OEMs, replaced Ian Sugarbroad, who resides in the United Kingdom and remains vice chairman of the board.
Willis is just one of several recent hires at Zinwave as it strengthens its commercial and technical teams globally and opens larger facilities in San Jose, California. The ramp up is meant to exploit new opportunities in the U.S. enterprise in-building wireless market, according to Willis.
“It is an investment and recognition of the need to strengthen the organization and of where the growth is going to come from in the DAS market,” Willis said. “With the significant growth being led by North America, you are going to see a greater investment and focus within this market segment to grow Zinwave and take advantage of the market opportunity.”
Zinwave’s wideband DAS supports wireless and IP services between 150 MHz-2700 MHz on a one-layer infrastructure, regardless of protocol or modulation scheme. Additionally, it supports multiple FDD and TDD LTE services simultaneously.
The dilemma that Zinwave faces is leveraging what it perceives to be a technical advantage from a sales and marketing perspective. The traditional go-to market strategy into carriers is simple and inexpensive, requiring only a small direct sales team. Today, with the shift of DAS to the enterprise market, the complexity of sales and marketing is far greater.
“From a vendor perspective, it is figuring out how to reach that enterprise in a very different way than you have organized yourself before,” Willis said. “If you look at my background, those are strengths that I will bring to the role as we look at creating multiple channels into the enterprise market.”
Zinwave targets enterprise verticals, such as education, healthcare, hospitality and industrial, which are “high value, high reward and high opportunity for success,” Willis said. While the OEM still depends on a direct sales force to market to carriers and enterprises, it is developing a value-added reseller (VAR) channel to increase its reach into enterprises.
“If you look at who has the relationships with that enterprise segment, it is a lot of the VARs that are smaller and well positioned in the community,” Willis said. “We will find the best resellers that are positioned to deploy our equipment. We will put long-term procedures in place where we can penetrate and drive our solution through those VARs.”
Heterogeneous networks are the primary tool in wireless carriers’ efforts to augment bandwidth capacity and
overcome spectrum limitations. Alpha Technologies, a supplier of power and battery systems for macro cells, with +24-volt and −48-volt rectifiers and converters, now offers what could be the industry’s only NEBS-certified, environmentally hardened UPS for outdoor DAS. The system combines rugged UPS and batteries in carrier-grade enclosures for use in the outdoor environment. For indoor DAS and small-cell applications, the company has pioneered a 48-volt line-powering technique that enables service providers to use safe and low-cost Class 2 circuits to power remote devices from a centralized location. www.alpha.ca/das
Since the birth of the iPhone in 2005 and the resulting wireless data demand, in-building wireless (IBW) systems have gone from curiosity to luxury to amenity and, finally, to utility status. Most recently, IBW communications —DAS, public safety and Wi-Fi — have crossed the chasm from being seen as a technology to being accepted as an intelligent building solution, RF Connect marketing executive Bob Butchko told DAS Bulletin.
“Today, the commercial real estate industry recognizes that having a positive in-building smartphone or tablet experience is critical to tenant acquisition and retention,” Butchko said. “It is commonly accepted that most commercial, residential or office buildings need, or will need, some form of in-building wireless enhancement if only for satisfying government-mandated public safety radio regulations.”
But that success has led to its own challenge: Who is going to pay for this solution?
As DAS moves from amenity to utility, building owners must figure out how to deploy and pay for wireless within their buildings. Carriers, which deploy DAS in hundreds of public venues and for thousands of their major accounts, are not much interested in the 1.2 million or so commercial buildings, most of which are not strategic to their business plans. Tower companies work on the same ethic; if the carriers don’t see a site as strategic, the tower companies won’t build there.
The only option left for most building owners, unless their building has a very high profile, is to purchase and deploy the IBW systems, which sets up a new dynamic. Building owners who are not knowledgeable about DAS are pressed into the position of project managing a wireless deployment, interfacing with carriers, the building tenants, municipality, general contractors, system integrators, OEM manufacturers, financial/legal experts and consultants. Butchko points out that just negotiating with the carriers is fraught with complications.
“[You need to] go to the carriers and find out if the building is strategic or not. What would they be willing to do? Would they provide a base station? Would they want to put antennas on the roof?” Butchko said. “What are their restrictions? Any DAS plan must be cleared by the carriers.” He recalls a DAS that was built at a hospital, and the carrier came by and told them they couldn’t do it.
To assist building owners in deploying an indoor wireless system, at RealComm IBcon 2013 on June 12, RF Connect launched a new service, known as the RFC Connection, which elevates RF Connect from the status of mere integrator to business partner and consultant for the building owner.
“Instead of skinnying down the bid to beat the competition, we will be trying to put the wireless systems that are really needed in the building for the lowest cost and best results over the long term for the client,” Butchko said.
The RFC Connection offers an end-to-end integrated package of services, where it assesses, designs, implements and provides long-term support for the wireless systems, as well as serving the building owner as a partner and advocate.
“The industry needs a new approach where a third party looks out for the building owners’ interests,” said Butchko. “Effectively, the burden of providing and supporting cellular coverage, Wi-Fi and all in-building wireless capabilities is contractually outsourced to RF Connect. All this adds up to a much better outcome for the owner.”
Highlighting the year were new products offered up by manufacturers aimed at providing a wider variety of coverage solutions, spanning indoor/outdoor and low-power/high-power solutions, thus blurring the lines between an in-building wireless system and an outdoor DAS. Steps were also made toward the goal of making DAS a component of the heterogeneous network of the future.
Even indoor DAS technology now comes in multiple flavors. TE Connectivity introduced remote antenna units (RAU) that pump out six times the power of the standard RAUs in the bands above 1900 MHz and two times the power in the frequencies at 700 MHz and 850 MHz. Increased power gives the antennas greater coverage area, which means DAS deployments will require fewer antennas and less electronics and cabling.
In deployments, such as the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in-building DAS moved from being a wireless stepchild to a cornerstone for dense urban cellular coverage. Additionally, DAS providers found a way distribute all the network components over the fiber infrastructure, allowing one headend to service multiple venues.
Even as the industry hype shifted to small cells and Wi-Fi, DAS remained the go-to technology for health care, campuses and stadiums, among other venues. In the last 12 months, whether it was the Super Bowl, the Olympics, Formula One racing, the Republican and Democratic national conventions or the NATO Summit – DAS was there providing communications at every high-profile event. Below are some of the stories that embody these trends.
Corning MobileAccess celebrated the completing integration of the two companies at the International CTIA Wireless 2012 in New Orleans. With the companies now fully assimilated, the new entity is ready to move forward with marketing of its product line. Corning MobileAccess chose the CTIA conference to introduce its new slogan “Total DAS: Where Cutting-edge DAS Design Meets Cabling Innovation.” Corning MobileAccess announced a high-power node to its portfolio, the MobileAccessGX, which provides 40 Watts (46 dBm) high-power remote outdoor coverage. The fiber-fed, multi-frequency, multi-operator remote is designed to complement the company’s lower power solutions, the MobileAccess1000 and MobileAccess2000. MORE
The line dividing in-building wireless and outdoor DAS is blurring, and that calls for higher power DAS units that integrate with in-building systems. To wit, Solid North America introduced the Titan 5 watt and 20 watt remote DAS units to provide expanded coverage area and capacity both inside and outside of buildings. Titan integrates with the Solid Alliance multi-operator and Express single-operator head-ends. MORE
A hybrid of high- and low-power DAS is the obvious choice for sporting venues and college and corporate campuses, where there is a need for indoor and outdoor coverage. There are systems that serve each purpose, but they may operate as separate systems, sometimes in the same venue. Running separate systems for each, however, didn’t make any sense to TE Connectivity. In response to the need for hybrid high-power/low-power DAS, TE Connectivity now offers a common system and graphical user interface that drives both the Flexwave Prism high-power DAS and InterReach Spectrum low-power DAS. MORE
ExteNet Systems won the contract to design, install, manage and maintain a DAS network in the currently being constructed Barclays Center, the 675,000-square foot, 19,000-seat home of the Brooklyn Nets, in Brooklyn, N.Y. What audiences at concerts, sports and family shows will see as interactive multimedia mobile network ExteNet sees as just the beginning of an expansive system that will connect the new Atlantic Yards mixed-use commercial and residential development project that includes 16 high-rise buildings. MORE
Political conventions are high-stakes affairs, affecting the future of the country. From a communications standpoint, these high-profile events, like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four, offer a make-or-break test for a DAS to handle extreme amounts of data for a short period of time. TE Connectivity was hired to provide several systems that will operate at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Fla. MORE
The dazzling spectacle that is sport at its highest level will take center stage as the Olympics make their quadrennial run in London from July 27 to Aug. 12. Behind the scenes there will be no less herculean effort exerted as in-building systems designed by iWireless Solutions and Real Wireless, with help from iBwave Solutions, attempt to provide the wireless capacity that will match the data usage of millions of people. MORE
With a growing amount of the practice of medicine and public health is supported by mobile devices, Connectivity Wireless Solutions has deployed DAS in-building wireless coverage at 15 healthcare facilities, covering more than 20 million square feet of space so far this year. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are adopting wireless for point of care delivery and workflow enhancements, access to patient records and delivery of test results, augmentation of VoIP communications, telemetry and wireless IV pumps, remote monitoring and diagnostics, and mobile medication management and prescription information. MORE