Jump to content


Ask The Expert: What is the Difference Between an Active, Passive, and Hybrid Distributed Antenna System (DAS)?

Posted by Earl , in FAQ, DAS Products 07 January 2013 · 10,136 views

DAS Wireless products Distributed Antenna System Passive DAS Hybrid DAS Active DAS
Q: What is the difference between an Active DAS, Passive DAS, and a Hybrid DAS?

A: A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is commonly divided into three broad categories:

Passive, Active, and Hybrid
  • A Passive DAS is a true extension of an adjacent wireless network such as a local wireless carrier. Passive systems are most commonly used in small to medium buildings with less than 120,000 sq ft when there is strong signal to the site, but assistance is needed to penetrate the building. These systems consist of coaxial cable only; active components are not required. The Radio Frequency (RF) signal is typically obtained from an off-air repeater/signal booster. There is no active control of RF signals beyond the initial amplification of the donor signal. A network of 50 Ohm Coax, couplers and splitters is used to carry the RF signal to/from the distributed antennas.
  • Active DAS systems are used if there is a relatively weak signal to the site and/or the area being covered is larger than 200,000 sq ft. Amplifiers are used to boost the signal in addition to fiber and coax to distribute the signal. An Active DAS is characterized by a main hub that converts the RF signal into an optical signal, which is distributed to remotes via optical fiber. Remotes may convert the signal back to RF for distribution to antennas, or the signals may convert to intermediate frequencies for distribution over Cat 5e/6 to access points. An active DAS is scalable and can support multiple bands or services. For example: cellular, PCS, and public safety.
  • A Hybrid DAS is a combination of multiple Passive systems that are fed by a single Passive DAS via fiber-fed remote unit (RF amplifier). A Hybrid DAS extends the footprint of Passive DAS, and it is typically utilized in large footprint applications.
For more information, please visit our Wireless Products page, or watch the first two videos in the DAS series below:

What Is DAS?

DAS in the Wireless Marketplace