If you are installing a DAS and have opted to forgo the Neutral Host in order to save on costs, the next step is to hire a System Integrator. Hiring a DAS System Integrator is like hiring a General Contractor to oversee a construction project. A building owner can opt to act as their own integrator, but will need to be well-educated to hire the needed sub-contractors.
There are a lot of companies out there who claim to be DAS System Integrators; some are good, some bad, and some completely terrible. Without knowing what questions to ask, it can be difficult to tell the difference. When evaluating system integrators keep an eye out for these common themes.
New Kid on the Block
The DAS marketplace has grown rapidly in the past few years, so there are many new entrants to the game. While there can be significant savings in working with one of these hungry newcomers, no one wants their building to be an experiment or part of a learning process. If you are considering working with a new system integrator, you will want to ensure that the employees working on your project have sufficient experience to make up for the non-existant “corporate resume”.
Glorified Cable Installer
There are many steps to DAS deployment that need to be completed before any cable is pulled. A systems integrator has a high level of involvement in all aspects of the DAS design and deployment. If the Integrator you are considering is outsourcing most of the design functions, you may want to shop around.
One Trick Pony
While System Integrators claim to be vendor-agnostic, this is not always the case. System integrators may be swayed to recommend an equipment type based on their comfort level with the product, ease of installation, or profit margin, rather than recommending the best solution.
Don’t Buy a Lemon
The best way to avoid hiring an inferior DAS System Integrator is to become an informed customer. An informed customer knows how to write an RFP that will ensure that the responses are equivalent solutions, how to evaluate the responses and when best value doesn’t mean lowest cost. If you don’t have time to research and understand the DAS marketplace, your best bet is to contact an expert.