The fact that various groups of first responders were unable to communicate with one another via radio in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks is now widely understood. In response, the U.S. Congress four years ago erected the First Responder Network Authority and set out to fund the effort with $7 billion from spectrum auctions.
However, the U.S. isn’t the only place where organizations are working to make public safety communications more efficient. New Zealand is another part of the world in which efforts are afoot to leverage new technologies for life-saving efforts.
In fact, Vodafone (News - Alert) New Zealand recently demonstrated Nokia Network in a Box, which is part of Nokia’s end-to-end LTE (News - Alert) solution for public safety. NIB is small enough to fit in the trunk of a vehicle, such as an ambulance or fire truck, and allows users to get mobile broadband up and running in minutes.
The solution includes an eNodeB base station and core network that can serve neighboring eNodeBs if available, and no backhaul is needed. In the New Zealand demonstration, Vodafone showed how the solution worked with its Z-Car, a prototype 4G mobile cell site in a vehicle with a low-profile satellite antenna on the roof.
“For mobile operators, geographical white spot areas such as remote locations, islands and deep valleys represent unique challenges in building network coverage,” according to a press release Nokia (News - Alert) issued on the topic. “In New Zealand, the low population density and rugged landscape mean that commercial mobile networks simply cannot reach 100 percent of the population. Being able to establish network connectivity for mission-critical public safety communications anytime, anywhere in areas of missing or compromised coverage is a true game changer.”
Nokia also discusses the fact that public safety authorities need interoperable communication systems that are affordable, support broadband, and deliver economies of scale. LTE mobile broadband meets at these requirements, Nokia says, and it can support database access and real-time video streaming for enhanced situational awareness.
Edited by Peter Bernstein