Public Safety DAS Landscape: Opportunity and Challenge

Today, building developers and owners must comply with fire code regulations that demand emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) systems in large structures. To comply with these requirements, building owners must install public safety distributed antenna systems (DAS) that regenerate radio signals in and out of building structures. 


Unfortunately, the ERRC regulatory and ecosystem landscape facing building owners is complex and haunted by risk. Owners that meet fire code requirements today to gain an essential certificate of occupancy may find new requirements appearing in the future. Architects and engineers planning structures must contend with local code demands that can vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. 

One of the most significant unknowns lurking in the future is the potential introduction of FirstNet support into fire codes. Unlike the voice-oriented radio systems commonly used for fire and police operations today, FirstNet is a 4G LTE mobile broadband network operating on spectrum assigned to AT&T. The difference is stark and can trigger requirements for significant upgrades to in-building ERRC systems in previously approved structures. 

In CritComm Insights' opinion, building owners stand to gain from expanding demands for ERRC systems by strategically addressing the fire code demands. At a time when building occupants increasingly rely upon mobile 4G LTE service to conduct business, leveraging the mandatory ERRC system installation to pave the way for future cellular support is a smart path to future-proofed structures.

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This research report supplies a comprehensive examination of fire code ERRC requirements and the impact on building owners and developers. The report shows the variation between different fire codes and the diverse approaches taken by local jurisdictions. Beyond the fire code, the study looks at what the incorporation of FirstNet will mean for building owners. Finally, the report describes the portfolios offered by leading public safety DAS suppliers. 

Key Questions Answered

  • Building code changes make public safety DAS an imperative.  Why did this happen and what does it mean for building owners, developers, general contractors and subcontractors?
  • What is the difference between cell system in-building coverage and public safety coverage?
  • Building codes evolve.  What are the changes coming in the next several years and what does that mean for a building owner, developer or contractor?
  • What challenges are raised by varying interpretations of building code requirements from jurisdiction to jurisdiction?
  • How and when will public safety DAS evolve to handle new FirstNet communications requirements?
  • What are the current building code requirements and where can they be located??
  • Why does variability in requirements exist between jurisdictions?
  • What is the industry doing to help local authorities become more consistent and realistic?
  • What is the political risk that local authorities face as requirements are added to the building code?
  • Who are the major vendors supplying elements of the public safety DAS technology?
  • What are the competitive forces influencing the landscape?

Who Should Read This Report

  • Building owners and developers planning major new projects in 2018
  • In-building coverage equipment suppliers, particularly companies with DAS, repeaters, BDAs and small cell offers that serve the U.S. market
  • In-building system integrators and installers serving the U.S. market
  • Local building and fire code officials who must plan and enforce ERRC requirements
  • European regulators planning for public safety communication transformation towards mission-critical LTE networks
  • Financial and investment analysts

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • A New Era in Public Safety In-building Coverage
    • Public Safety Moves Up the Spectrum Range
    • New Green Buildings Block Radio Signals
    • New Regulations Arise
  • Emergency Radio Coverage System Overview
    • Passive DAS
    • Active DAS
  • Red Box Opportunities
    • Building Owner Opportunities
    • Growth for System Installers
    • Equipment Suppliers Gain
  • Facing Down Red Box Challenges
    • Off The Air BDAs Create Risk
    • Risk of non-compliance
    • Regulatory Fragmentation
    • Combining ERRC and Cellular is Difficult
    • Installing Public Safety DAS - Simple or Complex?
  • Public Safety DAS Market Trends
    • Regulatory Pressure
    • The Fire Code Continues to Evolve 
    • Extreme Price Sensitivity But Quality Matters
    • LTE Uncertainty
  • Building Code Run-down: NFPA and IFC
    • Model Fire Code Variations
    • NFPA 1 Annex O
    • NFPA 72
    • NFPA 1221
    • IFC 510
  • Authority Having Confusion?
    • New LTE Questions Come Into View 
    • Political Risk
    • Finding the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction
    • Sample AHJ Requirements
      • District of Columbia
      • Broward County, Florida
      • Tempe, Arizona
  • Public Safety DAS Buying Decisions
    • Simple Structures 
    • Complex Facilities Serving the Public
  • Key Players in Public Safety DAS
    • DAS Vendors
      • ADRF
      • Bird Technologies
      • Cobham Wireless
      • Comba Telecom
      • Commscope
      • Dali Wireless
      • Fiplex
      • JMA
      • SOLiD
      • SafeCom
      • Westell
      • Zinwave
    • Supporting Ecosystem Players
      • Anritsu
      • Cobham AvComm
      • RFS
      • TRX Systems
  • Competitive Forces
    • Commercial Cellular Carriers Limit Neutral Host Spend
    • BDA Vendors Step Up the Game
    • Expanding Cellular Opportunity?

For further information on Public Safety DAS Landscape: Opportunity and Challenge, contact CritComm Insights at (301) 679-5572 or for further details.