How To Improve Sustainability While Upgrading to 5G

Upgrading your large venue network to 5G may come with opportunities for sustainability.

If you’re part of any size organization, your IT team has likely been a part of conversations around sustainability. While it may seem elusive for technology investments, there is a potential opportunity for sustainability improvements when upgrading to 5G.

This is particularly true if your company’s business involves large venues, such as airports, stadiums, casinos or convention centers. When modernizing your facility to 5G, there may be a sustainability gain in utilizing advances in distributed antennae system (DAS) technology.

For large venues, providing high-performance mobile communications infrastructure is a competitive necessity, with visitors expecting to easily access and share information like sports replays, flight arrival times and ordering products like concessions or merchandise.

This is why your venue has invested so heavily in DAS infrastructure, using extensive cabled RF antennae and devices to improve cell signals through licensed macro networks. This allows for excellence in visitor experiences, but DAS technology is advancing and these networks are becoming outdated due to inefficiency.

The existing DAS infrastructure needs specialized equipment offering analog-to-digital, then back to analog conversions between the venue’s distributed antennae network and the mobile carrier. This infrastructure demands a lot in terms of power, real estate and cooling, so it tends to be a major energy consumption point, as well as increasing emissions.

Digital DAS

Digital DAS provides a path for eliminating large quantities of headend radio equipment. Freeing up as much as 90% of floor space used for an analog version, it can reduce cooling and energy consumption by approximately 50%.

Digital DAS works by offering a single digital interface, and it also replaces multiple coaxial cables with a standard single-mode fiber, an 89% reduction in cable throughout your venue.

One large stadium made this change and now serves as a valuable example of how to improve sustainability through a 5G upgrade. During the lockdown, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium switched to a digital DAS as they deployed 5G in an effort to support higher speeds.

The initial purpose of the switch to digital wasn’t sustainability, but the IT team found that they experienced an 87% reduction in energy consumption and cooling by 75%. For instance, the IT team found that with digital DAS, they only required five equipment racks, compared to the 3o to 40 required with analog DAS.

For many organizations supporting a large venue, it makes sense to switch to digital DAS, simply because it is likely a good fit with their overall digital transformation plans. But it comes with a sustainability gain as well.

If your company is anticipating a 5G upgrade and would like more information about sustainability opportunities, contact us at We can assist you in determining whether digital DAS makes sense with your technology goals.