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There’s still time to prepare for 5G. While cell phones capable of 5G are becoming more prevalent, it’s still going to be a slow rollout. 4G completely replaced 3G because 3G was collapsing and unable to meet demand. But 4G is not only going to stick around, it will be used as an anchor for 5G. This means even when 5G is widely available, you will still have 4G LTE as the backup system.


Yes! 5G is being implemented mostly in large public venues in the downtowns of larger cities, including Indianapolis. ERMCO has worked with Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Indiana Convention Center to implement 5G networks for their venues.


Public safety networks are not currently required to be stand-alone systems, separate from the systems that support general public use. But it is very likely that in the near future, laws will be passed that will require stand-alone public safety networks which means facilities will need two wireless networks – one for public safety and one for employee and general public use.

You may remember the difficulty first responders had communicating with each other on 9/11 because cell systems were overwhelmed with the number of calls trying to be placed. After 9/11, wireless communication became a priority for public safety. DAS, or distributed antenna systems, were the answer and have become quite prevalent for public safety and in large, densely populated facilities.

A DAS is a distributed antenna system that boosts cell signals with a series of radio heads strategically placed around a venue where there is need for additional cellular coverage. Each of the radio heads within the DAS system are then routed to a communications hub via fiber-optic cable to allow the cell signal to be processed by a cellular base station.


A DAS works well in dense locations where space is limited and a traditional cell tower cannot be installed. This is why a DAS is likely to be the best option for large venues such as hospitals, stadiums, airports, large office buildings, school campuses, and shopping malls – where many people will be using data at the same time. Large facilities are also often coordinating with multiple cellular service providers (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc.) A DAS can be costly and can take several months to implement, due to the coordination required with the cellular service providers. This is another reason why DAS is a better fit for larger facilities and venues who can better handle the cost and implementation time.


A small cell solution is likely to be the better option for small(er) facilities. In this case, small(er) means buildings ranging from 50,000 square feet to 600,000 square feet. The small cell approach is focused on densification, using many antennas to help bolster the signal in a small geographic area. Small cell uses beamforming which is a technique that focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than having the signal spread in all directions from a broadcast antenna, as it normally would. The resulting connection is more direct, faster and more reliable than it would be without beamforming. A small cell solution can also be more quickly rolled out since they operate similar to a Wi Fi system.

If you’d like more information about small cell solutions and products, here are links to Corning and Commscope:


This is the last post in our series about 5G and DAS. Other posts have discussed benefits, risks, the potential uses for different markets and how to prepare your business for 5G. Please follow and share so you don’t miss future posts on additional topics! If you’d like to read previous posts:


For more information on how ERMCO can help with an integrated systems solution, contact:

PJ DONOVAN | 317.538.5511 |

PJ Donovan is the Business Development Manager for ERMCO’s Systems Group. She’s been with ERMCO for 10 years and has been in the Systems Group the entire time, as a Systems Coordinator and then Systems Estimator. Now she helps maintain and grow client relationships and serves as one of ERMCO’s experts on all things systems-related from A/V and access control to security and wireless systems.


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