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MCF2023 Draft Design Specification


The MCF2023 Draft Design Specification for Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) was released recently to replace the aging MCF2018 guidelines. The Draft is currently in the consultation phase and a final version is not due until mid-2024.

The timeline for the final specification as well as the consultation phase is published on AMTA’s website:

  • Release the initial draft DAS Specification for consultation – 21 November 2023 
  • Receive first round of feedback from stakeholders – 22 December 2023 
  • Provide outcomes of consultation and 2nd draft DAS Specification – 22 March 2024  
  • Receive 2nd round of feedback from stakeholders – 22 April 2024 
  • Provide outcomes of 2nd consultation and update draft DAS Specification – 22 May 2024 
  • Publish final updated DAS Specification – 20 June 2024 

RFI and the wider industry have been eagerly anticipating the release of the revised specification, especially after the withdrawal of the MCF2022 guidelines. RFI expresses its enthusiasm for the progress made in the updated specification, offering clarity on requirements for the Construction, Property, and DAS industry.

The current guideline, MCF2018, originated in the 3G and 4G era. Now that 5G has matured at this stage, the revised MCF guideline becomes crucial, allowing carriers, consultants, and landlords to plan for their 5G upgrade path.

While the recently released MCF2023 Draft maintains a trajectory similar to the withdrawn MCF2022, it brings practical compromises and clarity, propelling the industry forward to better accommodate 5G. As one of Australia's oldest and most established DAS providers, RFI, with its deep understanding and working relationship in the in-building/DAS sector, eagerly anticipates collaborating with customers and partners to seamlessly transition their sites into the 5G era once the new MCF2023 is released.

Anticipated changes, such as the revision of MIMO requirements and the augmentation of the 3500MHz 5G frequency band, have come to fruition. Although MIMO is no longer mandatory under certain circumstances, its significance in 5G and beyond remains paramount.

A noteworthy aspect of the MCF2023 Draft is the absence of a requirement for a Lead Carrier. Historically, the Lead Carrier played a pivotal role in setting system requirements and approving final solutions. The draft, being a highly negotiable and outcome-driven guideline, introduces a degree of uncertainty by removing the 'authority' figure. This shift places the responsibility on DAS providers, emphasizing the need for a competent provider with strong Carrier relationships to navigate negotiations and ensure an optimized outcome balancing technical requirements with commercial realities.

With low-power active equipment, such as fibre-to-the-antenna type systems, approaching maturity, the MCF2023 Draft seems to acknowledge their eventual adoption and approval under future MCF2024. RFI acknowledges that project-specific considerations will dictate the suitability of low-power active solutions, and while welcoming their availability, it foresees the continued use of passive coax-based systems in various scenarios. Similar to the gradual adoption of Electric Vehicles, the uptake of low-power active solutions will be a phased process. RFI, drawing on its extensive industry history and forward-looking mindset, stands prepared to guide projects in understanding the appropriateness of new technologies, including low-power active systems.