AT&T’s DAS Antenna: Caught In the Wild

You need to be sufficiently geeky and somewhat of a wireless nerd to know an outdoor DAS (distributed antenna system) antenna when you see one. But we were pretty sure that we had seen one of the antennas AT&T is proposing to use in Palo Alto, sitting atop a utility pole here in Sidecut Reports’ home turf of San Mateo. A call to AT&T’s local PR folks confirmed the DAS device, and they were nice enough to let us in to the local AT&T work yard (where the trucks roll from) to take some pictures of the experimental DAS antenna “in the wild.”

Outdoor DAS antenna, AT&T work yard, San Mateo, Calif. Credit: Sidecut Reports.

Our wireless excitement dimmed a bit when the AT&T folks present let us know that this antenna install was not just experimental, it was nonworking — meaning that despite having a whole bunch of cables snaking into its lower-pole equipment box, the antenna (according to AT&T) wasn’t empowering any cellular connections. (”Too bad,” said one person on hand. “I’d have a great signal then.”)

Unknown cable and power boxes (?) for AT&T DAS antenna. Credit: Sidecut Reports.

A close-up of the bottom of the cable box. Credit: Sidecut Reports.

So, Palo Alto, are you ready for these bad boys to start sprouting on a utility pole near you? All in the name of improved reception?

A long-angle view of the DAS antenna install. Credit: Sidecut Reports.

2 Responses to “AT&T’s DAS Antenna: Caught In the Wild”

  1. Dick Maltzman Says:

    Why are they not telling us what the emission rate is from the DAS poles vs. from a normal cell tower? They say it is less — is that 1% less? 50% less?

    Have any studies been made as to the impace of these towers on property values? They really are obtusive and very ugly. One report I read said that a cell tower in the neighborhool reduced residential real estate values by 20% How much would a cell tower on your front yard reduce the value of your home?

  2. Paul Says:

    To be fair, these aren’t anywhere close to being regular cell towers. The antennas are a couple of feet big, if that. Atop a normal light pole you might not even notice them. So I don’t think your report about cell towers applies here. The normal cell towers can be hundreds of feet high with multiple antennas… we all know what those look like. DAS is not that.

    And in terms of radiation I don’t have an answer but my guess is that’s probably 10x or 100x lower since by design these antennas are low power. Plus your phone would use less power to find these antennas so, less emissions next to your head. In short for safety these are potentially a lot better. But I agree with you, there should be some statistics we can trust from phone companies and/or the government. Let us make the choice, right?

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