DAS Reliability Impacted By Quality of Components and Integrator Expertise
Recently, a concerning trend has surfaced as multiple municipal Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) nationwide have reported a surge in noise and interference within their public safety and other networks. Investigative research – backed by both independent and government funding – has pinpointed improperly configured and installed in-building wireless Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) as the cause of static that has been obstructing crucial communications and, in more severe cases, leading to network failures.
When a DAS isn’t configured to harmonize with the broader RF landscape – which includes nearby structures and urban communication infrastructure – it can inadvertently create a chaotic environment, wreaking havoc on the reliability of these essential networks. Such scenarios can unfortunately be commonplace if building owners opt for less expensive components and system integration partners, where future expenses could exceed initial savings. For this reason, MCA exclusively collaborates with premium-grade manufacturing partners.
AHJs Consider Fines For Business Owners and Integrators
After identifying these poorly performing DAS systems AHJs faced a dilemma on how to respond, and debates arose regarding the appropriate course of action. Some AHJs contemplated imposing fines on business owners for failing to employ properly certified technicians for the installation of these systems. Others discussed whether building owners should hold their DAS integrators accountable, compelling them to bear the cost of necessary reconfigurations.
Additionally, questions were raised about the liability of DAS component manufacturers, considering the potential impact of their products on the city’s communication infrastructure. While opinions varied, some municipalities considered a combination of approaches to ensure the integrity of their communication networks and maintain the safety and efficiency of their cities.
The Evolution of Specialized Training
Recognizing the escalating concerns of AHJs, one of MCA’s principal DAS component manufacturing collaborators – Comba – proactively responded. Comba Telecom transitioned from simple online certification courses to a comprehensive Comba University program designed to address the intricate challenges of Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES) installations. This enhanced curriculum educates students on the complexities of RF and LMR networks, going beyond mere equipment commissioning.
The program consists of RF fundamentals and network essentials in its RF 101 segment, coupled with hands-on training in equipment commissioning. The inaugural session was conducted in Seattle in April 2023, with upcoming sessions planned nationwide. Open to network licensees, AHJs, and ERCES systems integrators, these courses aim to deepen understanding and ensure secure and proficient installations.
Six months since its launch, this newly implemented course has achieved a passing rate of approximately 56%, a statistic that emphasizes to AHJs and the wider community that obtaining certification should be a challenging feat. It underscores the notion that only dedicated and deeply committed in-building wireless professionals should have the ability to sell, design, configure, and install distributed antenna systems.
MCA Technicians Achieve Comprehensive and Industry-Wide Certifications
The first six IWS (in-building wireless) engineering technicians MCA sent to complete Comba’s latest course passed with flying colors. Beyond specific manufacturer-based certifications, of which our technicians hold numerous qualifications, we emphasize the significance of industry-wide certifications for DAS designers as well.
NICET certification stands out as a pivotal credential, illustrating MCA’s dedication to comprehensive expertise in the field. Our technicians also boast certifications from OEMs we don’t even sell, ensuring our capability to maintain and seamlessly integrate upgrades within systems we may not have initially installed. This versatility underscores our commitment to providing top-notch solutions regardless of the system’s origin.
Our approach to precisely configuring DAS involves harnessing the expertise of engineers previously affiliated with major carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. By integrating these specialized professionals into our team, we enhance the value we deliver to our customers and – in a symbiotic relationship – also contribute to the ongoing advancements within the carriers’ networks.
Our ability to seamlessly integrate upgrades across various systems, regardless of their origins, speaks volumes about our adaptability and expertise. Collaborations with major carriers further enrich our team, enhancing the value we offer to our clients. In this ever-changing technological terrain, staying ahead through certifications, partnerships, and a commitment to excellence defines our role as industry leaders. As we navigate these challenges together, the future of in-building wireless technology promises innovation, reliability, and a seamless user experience for all.
What is NICET?
NICET stands for the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. It is a nonprofit organization in the United States that provides certification for engineering technicians and technologists. NICET certifications are widely recognized and respected in the fields of engineering technology, including areas such as civil engineering technology, electrical and electronic systems technology, fire protection engineering technology, and more.
Obtaining NICET certification involves passing a series of examinations that assess the individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in their specific field of engineering technology. These certifications are often required or preferred by employers, particularly in industries related to construction, manufacturing, and public safety, where professionals need to ensure compliance with specific technical standards and regulations. NICET certification demonstrates a high level of expertise and competence in the respective engineering technology discipline.
MCA is one of the largest and most trusted DAS integrators in the United States, offering world-class voice, data, and security solutions that enhance the quality, safety, and productivity of customers, operations, and lives.
More than 65,000 customers trust MCA to provide carefully researched solutions for a safe, secure, and more efficient workplace. As your trusted advisor, we reduce the time and effort needed to research, install, and maintain the right solutions to make your workplace better.
Our team of certified professionals across the United States delivers a full suite of reliable technologies with a service-first approach. The MCA advantage is our extensive service portfolio to support the solution lifecycle from start to finish.