Minneapolis-based wireless network vendor ADC introduced the FlexWave Prism outdoor distributed antenna system that is designed to support events in large venues. The system consists of base stations that operate in simulcast mode to enhance coverage and remote antennas that allow communications on as many as four frequency bands.

While other distributed antenna systems on the market can support multiple bands, none can support four as the Prism does, said Tony Lefebvre, ADC’s director of product management, in an interview with Urgent Communications. Also unique is the system’s modularity, which gives customers flexibility as their networks grow or as circumstances change. “You can add or change services at remote points in the field,” Lefebvre said.

For example, when a presidential candidate comes to town for a political rally at a large park, remote antennas serving the immediate area could be reconfigured to accommodate local police, the Secret Service, wireless video surveillance and text alerts.

The antennas are deployed on utility poles and other similar structures in a mesh configuration to create metro area networks. This helps public-safety customers avoid zoning problems according to Lefebvre. “Most people don’t want to see a big tower,” he said. Also, mounting the antennas on shorter poles diminishes that shadow effect from buildings and other impairments that limit systems that use tall towers and high output power to maximize coverage, Lefebvre said.

Because the system is digital, the signal is consistent to the network edge, unlike analog systems that experience steady degradation of the signal as it moves away from the transmitter, Lefebvre said.

The system is supported by a 10/100 Ethernet platform, which is useful for transporting very large data files, such as surveillance footage, Lefebvre said.