Small Cells Vs. DAS Vs. Mobile Repeaters – Which is right for your property?

small cell vs das vs mobile repeater

Small Cells. Active DAS. Repeaters. Mobile Private Networks. Finding the best solution for your property’s voice and data connectivity issues can be confusing, especially when the options available are designed to offer the same outcome. In this article, we’ll be breaking down and discussing the key attributes of each solution, determining which is right for your type of property. If you are having signal issues and need some clarity, watch our video or read on below.

Small Cells

If your business does not face the issue of influxes in traffic, Small Cells may be the solution for you.

Small Cells can offer businesses struggling with connectivity, a cost and time-effective way to boost their voice and data coverage. The network of small antennas are currently being used and working successfully in an array of properties from urban outdoor venues to rural areas struggling with connectivity.

So, how does it work?

The system works through the placement of small cell nodes within the “dead zone” areas. The network of nodes that are placed around the space work individually and can handle up to 25 users at a time. Each connected to their own power supply, resulting in every small cell connection having its very own backhaul pipe (link to the larger network).

Recommended for

  • Time sensitive properties (Small cells can be deployed in 6 – 12 weeks)
  • Properties of 10,000 SQF – 400,000 SQF
  • Lower budgets


  • It can often be difficult to connect equipment back to the main network in larger properties
  • Plans for expansion in the future may pose an issue and should be taken into consideration
  • Small cells are limited in comparison to Active DAS

Active Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

Alternatively, if you are looking for a versatile and easily scalable solution that accommodates a large number of users, Active DAS may be more suited to you. By generating its very own signal, Active DAS can be deployed in properties such as underground car parks, typically unable to offer connection to its users.

So, how does it work?

With the use of fibre optic cabling, this system can support several frequencies and handle multiple carriers at the same time. In most cases, antennas are connected to a remote function as one unit and used to carry the signal. The signal is then passed through fibre optic cables to the BTS’s installed throughout the property. 

Recommended for

  • Hosting significant numbers of users (one BTS can handle up to 2000 users)
  • Large and high-capacity properties with multiple floors, such as stadiums and universities
  • Easy scalability


  • It can often be difficult to connect equipment back to the main network in larger properties
  • The deployment of Active DAS can take several months
  • Required network approval
  • Reliant on local signal towers


Mobile repeaters, to put it simply, amplify the signal of a mobile phone. There is a common misconception that all mobile repeaters are illegal, however this is not the case, as long as you do your research and use boosters as permitted, you should be good to go. Learn more about the legalities of mobile repeaters here.

So, how does it work?

A static indoor repeater works by fixing a high gain antenna in an external location with the strongest possible mobile signal. This signal is then carried into the network unit which is connected to coverage units found inside and throughout the building. The coverage units talk to one another forming a “super cell” within the property, preventing blackspots, dropped calls, and poor data throughput.

Recommended for

  • Small to medium premises such as office buildings, banks and industrial units
  • Coverage of 15,000 SQF per system; multiple systems may be installed
  • Vehicles
  • Lower budgets

Pros of Mobile Repeaters

  • Installation times are days, not months
  • No licence requirements, so no need to wait for network approval
  • Due to lower costs than Small Cells or Active DAS, multiple systems can be installed to cater for larger buildings
  • Scalable hybrid DAS solution available
  • No Wi-Fi connection required
  • Easily updated through mobile app
  • Can change networks
  • 5G ready
  • Low power requirements


  • Limited to one network per system. However, the network can be switched, and multiple systems can be combined to cover all networks
  • The external antenna will connect to the closest mobile mast – if the area is too congested, it may affect performance
  • If the site is too remote, there may not be a signal to latch on to

Mobile Private Networks (MPN)

Worth mentioning, an MPN does not boost your signal and connectivity like the three prior systems do. Instead MPN’s act as a private wireless network using the same technologies as our mobile networks (such as 5G). This makes it perfect for IoT applications, for settings such as airports, wind farms, and agri-tech. The difference between these private networks is the use of Private LTE/5G that allows your business to protect and provide security when handling sensitive data. Unsure if your property needs this, read more about it here.

Get in touch

Think you have found the right solution for your property? Contact 0330 1244 805 today to discuss how Boost Pro Systems can improve your property’s connectivity issues.

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