Author: Dan O’Malley , Cisco Internet of Things Group
Intelligence relies on the ability to create connections – to connect the unconnected – and to deliver the right information to the right person, machine or device that facilitates autonomous decision-making and action. Broadband network infrastructure technologies, such as LTE, and the Internet of Things (IoT) products and technologies are accelerating our ability to realize the benefits of the digital platform by connecting people, processes, data and things.
Public Safety is seeing a dramatic evolution of needs and realizing that the limitations of Land Mobile Radio technologies, while they do provide for mission critical communications, are not sufficient to meet the all of requirements of today and the future. Many public safety agencies have the need to support officer safety with sensors from connected devices, or machines during an emergency – sensors that detect a man-down, for example, or other biometrics. Many personnel in public safety may have video in their vehicles, and some are wearing video giving real time information and intelligence to dispatchers and operations personnel responding to incidents. Video can also be used to support training, investigations, legal evidence, and other processes. In addition, as public safety transitions to Mission Critical Push-to-Talk over an LTE network both operational RF coverage and network connectivity become an issue.
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), is a U.S. federally-created entity with the objective of establishing an interoperable nationwide broadband wireless network to provide public safety agencies with a secure communication system to enable resilient and ubiquitous data and voice on an allocated budget!
At APCO 2015, Cisco demonstrated a tactical public safety LTE solution by bringing different partners to form an interoperable ecosystem that can deliver on the promise of resilient and reliable LTE for public safety, all while allowing a graceful migration from the existing solutions. Parallel Wireless, an innovative ecosystem partner, provided the RAN component to this ecosystem, including an in-vehicle base station managed by their RAN orchestrator that makes radio nodes self-configuring and self-optimizing – creating a Band 14 “bubble” around the car similar to a Wi-Fi hotspot. I really enjoyed working with knowledgeable and enthusiastic Parallel Wireless’ team! See how much fun we had doing the demo. Here is the APCO Video.
This live Band 14 demo at APCO demonstrated ease of deployment and maintenance and also supports interoperability between agencies, flexible backhaul options, resilient mobile coverage, and communication between LMR and LTE.
Please note – Use of Band 14 requires FirstNet pre-approval and a “special temporary license” from the US Federal Communications Commission. Once the FirstNet RFP is awarded (currently expected year-end 2016), the use of Band 14 by state and local agencies, and the process for temporarily requesting permission to use Band 14, is expected to be interrupted and to undergo significant change, as the vendor or vendors selected will need to address interference and interoperability issues.
The LTE solution kit demonstrated at the show can be used for temporary coverage, indoor coverage, or during disasters.
And now, public safety officials and Cisco reseller partners can experience how easy it is to install this Band 14 network themselves! U.S. Public Safety agencies can win a week’s rental of this DIY Band 14-in-a-Box kit by submitting their interest here or at Parallel Wireless booth 227. They can also see a demonstration at the Cisco booth 755 at IWCE next week in Las Vegas. The LTE solution kit will help the agencies to apply for Band 14 licenses in the appropriate geographical area. The kit will be available starting June 28, 2016 from Parallel Wireless, but as above, it does require the agency to seek pre-approval from FirstNet and an STA license from the US FCC.
The LTE solution kit “Band-14-in-a-Box”, Parallel Wireless provides breakthrough virtualized RAN (vRAN) solution capable of not only self-organization and self-optimization, but also the ability to use any type of backhaul or performing in an ad hoc mode when there is no backhaul available to deliver resilient coverage anywhere. Parallel Wireless fully orchestrated RAN hardware does not require an additional cabinet, cooling or shelter and can run on any power. Cisco will be providing the industry’s most mature virtualized Enhanced Packet Core (vEPC) and Cisco Instant Connect software for the kit establishing secure command and control on the move anywhere for sending and receiving video, transferring files, sending text messages, and enabling instant group communications from any location in a small form factor.
This ultra-compact, lightweight LTE network is the industry’s first ready-in-minutes plug-’n’-play 3GPP-compliant solution capable of delivering mission-critical voice and data. By being self-configuring and self-optimizing, this DIY Band 14-in-a-box provides the emergency services community with the most adaptable, resilient, and cost-effective infrastructure for wireless coverage during large public events and natural or man-made disasters.
We are delighted to have such a cutting edge partner as Parallel Wireless in the Cisco ecosystem. By bringing Cisco’s expertise in virtualized core and Push-To-Talk (PTT) software, the overall solution benefits from agility, scalability, and energy and space savings. This open, IP-based, flexible, and ruggedized kit demonstrates how first responders can have reliable access to secure instant group communications today and tomorrow.