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Distributed Antenna Vendor Gains Better 5-GHz Coverage

MobileAccess is one of the few DAS (distributed antenna system) vendors that has a credible enterprise Wi-Fi story to tell, and its recent announcement confirms that it's on track to be the DAS vendor that "gets" enterprise WLANs.

Unlike leaky coax solutions where the Wi-Fi signal emanates everywhere along the cable, nullifying most auto-RF tuning tools as well as location applications, the MobileAccess architecture locates all the Wi-Fi access points on a floor or wing's wiring closet, and adds the appropriate 2.4- and/or 5-GHz Wi-Fi signals to other centrally mixed cellular, public safety, and PCS signals. These signals then travel over RF insulated broadband coax to discrete antennas appropriately placed around the work area. It doesn't hurt, either, that MobileAccess is a participant in Cisco's Technology Developers program.


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MobileAccess' newest product, the MA-860, solves a technical deficiency associated with its original MA-850. The 5-GHz frequency has a higher level of attenuation than 2.4 GHz, so 802.11a deployments, which already face open-air coverage challenges in comparison to 802.11b/g, were further exacerbated when broadband coax was added into the equation. The MA-860 measures signal loss between the AP and the antenna for frequencies at the 5-GHz range and uses an automatic gain amplifier to boost the 5-GHz signal.

According to Jeff Kunst, VP of marketing at MobileAccess, this significantly reduces the number of APs per square foot for those MobileAccess customers wanting to use their Universal Wireless Network for 802.11a service. This feature enhancement also puts MobileAccess a step closer to 802.11n support, which will introduces the challenge of transporting multiple but unique RF signals over the broadband coax between the access point and remote antenna.

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