Nextivity adds multi-carrier support to hybrid active DAS soltuion

“You’ll see folks try to implement DAS, but no enterprise wants to pay $5-per-square-foot for cellular coverage they think the carrier should be paying for anyway. It’s just too much for the enterprise.”

That was the message from Joe Schmelzer, senior director of products of Nextivity, during a recent meeting with RCR Wireless News at the company’s facilities in Southern California.

Nextivity specializes in hybrid active DAS for in-building wireless that support multiple carriers and are approved for use with carrier networks. The latest update to the Cel-Fi Quatra product supports two carriers and uses power over Cat 5 Ethernet, which means simplified installation by system integrators.

Nextivity has more than 200 global carrier partners, and Quatra, essentially designed for what’s called the middleprise–shout out to Corning’s Mike Collado, who coined the term–solution can scale to very large buildings by combining multiple systems.

“When we launched this thing,” Schmelzer said, “we thought this was going to be our 50,000-, 100,000-square-foot unit play. One customer put in 14 systems in one building just because it’s easier and cheaper and better. That was a totally unexpected use case but now it’s happening everyday.”

He continued: “We combine that easy stuff with the technology prowess and the technology power of our digital architecture and our ability to essentially distribute coverage over Ethernet. With Quatra we can deliver a fully installed system for a 50,000-square-foot building for $10,000.” Competitive solutions are up to 10-times more expensive, he said.

In the in-building wireless space, the overarching trend is a shift of capex from carriers to enterprise owners. Carriers have limited capital funds that are generally reserved for marquee venues like stadia, transportation hubs and otherwise high-value customers. Given the importance of in-building cellular for modern businesses, if the carrier won’t spend, that impetus is on the building owner or the company itself.

This trend was highlighted this week at the VZTUF event in Austin, Texas, which is Verizon’s annual technology user forum event. During the event, SOLiD announced a partnership with New Jersey-based Cheytec, a company formed to focus exclusively on in-building wireless solutions for enterprise customers. Cheytec has unique distribution agreements with radio vendors Ericsson and Nokia, and last year the company announced a partnership with enterprise DAS provider Zinwave. Now SOLiD says it will also turn to Cheytec to supply radio equipment for some of its distributed antenna systems.

Another factor at play in IBW is tapping into unlicensed spectrum and aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Also at VZTUF, Advanced RF Technologies announced DAS support for the 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum bands. This week the California company said its DAS now supports both Citizens Broadband Radio Service and License-Assisted Access.

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