Cobham Wireless

Cobham WirelessCobham Wireless’ Fiber DAS solutions provide enterprise customers with cellular, Internet and public safety peace of mind.

By Chris Petersen

The world is changing, and being connected to the world at large is more important than ever. That’s why property owners throughout North America are looking to enterprise solutions more frequently to provide their tenants with wireless connections they can count on, rather than relying on telecommunications service providers to supply the infrastructure.

In this new landscape of wireless infrastructure, property owners and businesses are looking for equipment providers who can meet their cellular needs as well as their public safety needs, and that is why Cobham Wireless stands apart as one of the market leaders in those areas. Vice President of Coverage Sales, Americas John Giarolo says the company’s ability to provide customers with a comprehensive solution to a property’s public safety and cellular needs is one of Cobham Wireless’ greatest advantages.

“We’re seeing an increase in the integration of public safety and cellular coverage coming together, and we’re one of the only companies that provides a total solution with our next generation intelligent digital DAS system - idDAS,” Giarolo says.

The United Kingdom-based company is the result of the coming together of two leading technology firms: global test and measurement vendor Aeroflex Wireless and leading distributed antenna system (DAS) provider Axell Wireless. According to Cobham Wireless, the heritage of these two companies gives it a significant technological edge. “Axell Wireless pioneered wireless coverage and DAS solutions for over 40 years, selling to over 150 countries and working with more than 170 mobile and public safety network operators,” the company says. “The wireless division of Aeroflex grew with acquisitions to become a world leader in providing cutting-edge development and test tools for mobile and IP networks.” 

The strength Cobham Wireless brings to the marketplace is evidenced in the company’s leadership position on both the public safety and cellular sides of the business, Giarolo says. “Although the competition has become more plentiful in recent years, Cobham Wireless continues to maintain the top spot in terms of public safety technology. “On the public safety side, we’re No. 1,” Giarolo says. “We really have the lion’s share because when someone thinks public safety, they think Axell Wireless and Cobham Wireless.” cobham wireless box

On the cellular side of the business, Cobham Wireless is the third-largest manufacturer of DAS solutions in the world, but the company is only now beginning to make inroads into the United States. Giarolo says that as more and more property owners and businesses look to enterprise solutions for their wireless internet infrastructure needs, Cobham Wireless anticipates big things in the future for the company. As Giarolo explains, Cobham Wireless continues to work with leading wireless carriers in the United States extolling the virtues of its digital DAS solutions, and they’re listening. That, combined with the company’s strength in public safety, is expected to translate into big things for the company.

Complete Solution

DAS works by taking the carriers’ wireless signal either directly from the base station via fiber or taking a wireless feed using an off-air digital repeater. The distributed antennas then repeat the signal around the building or large public space such as a stadium or college campus providing mobile device users with a wireless connection that is reliable.

“The stratospheric growth in the use of mobile devices has meant that the provision of wireless communication within the majority of buildings has become not only expected, but in many instances mandatory,” the company says. “Both mobile and public safety operators face the challenge of delivering comprehensive coverage within a building in an affordable manner.

“The ability to achieve good quality coverage from external base stations is increasingly difficult, due to environmental legislation around building construction, which not only improves thermal efficiency, but also effectively shields the building from a wireless respective,” the company continues. “Our comprehensive range of in-building coverage systems, provides solutions for small to medium and large buildings ensuring high-quality wireless coverage is achieved throughout.”

Cobham Wireless and its predecessor companies have been providing DAS solutions throughout the world for more than 30 years, and Giarolo says the current generation of its technology provides it with a clear advantage over other manufacturers.

“It is the next generation,” he says. “It’s an all-digital DAS, so we’re one of the few manufacturers that provide a true digital DAS end-to-end.” Not only do the company’s all-digital DAS solutions provide more robust signal and greater effectiveness for mobile internet users, but Giarolo says it also is more economical than other DAS installations.

Working With Carriers

The effectiveness of Cobham Wireless’ all-digital DAS solutions has been key in helping the company with one of its biggest challenges in the North American market. “The biggest challenge we have right now is getting the carrier approval for them to be able to buy directly,” Giarolo says.

What has helped Cobham Wireless gain ground with wireless carriers has been the company’s work with enterprise customers. By getting its equipment installed in buildings, Giarolo says, the company is proving to wireless carriers the true benefits of its digital DAS systems. Thanks to these efforts, Cobham Wireless has been in extended talks with some of the largest individual carriers in the United States to gain approvals, and Giarolo says the company should begin receiving those approvals by 2017.

The other significant challenge facing the company is the increased standards for public safety systems throughout the country. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards are starting to be enforced more stringently by municipalities in major metropolitan areas, especially in California. Although ensuring its equipment meets those standards is keeping Cobham Wireless on its toes, Giarolo says it also represents a great opportunity for the company because it means facilities will be looking for a single DAS solution that can provide both public safety and cellular services. “That’s where we believe we have a strong hold on the market,” he says.

Poised For Growth

In the near future, Cobham Wireless expects the trend toward more enterprise wireless solutions to continue driving growth in the North American market. And, as Giarolo says, the new public safety standards also should provide the company with a boost as it continues to be one of the only manufacturers to provide an integrated public safety and cellular DAS solution.

“We’re continuing to see the requirements and enforcement of the NFPA standards in all municipalities, requiring new and retrofit facilities to support public safety,” Giarolo says. “And we’re positioned for that today.”

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