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This fi eld-deployable wireless network is one of the wireless innovations allow- ing fi rst responder agencies to communi- cate in more ways and in more situations than ever before. However, innovation does not come without its challenges, and there are many public-safety wireless communications challenges.


The governance roles of the federal, state and local governments in the manage- ment of the network—enforcement of standards, coordination, and determi- nation of priorities—has not been deter- mined. Decisions could adversely affect the public-safety broadband network model and deployment strategies. Initial sales of spectrum allocated by the government are tied to the funding for network construction. The availabil- ity of funds could dictate the network ar- chitecture and the model adopted by the body responsible for construction. Adoption and enforcement of a national network architecture standard: It will be no small feat to design, develop, implement and deploy a fully interoperable network, whether it is built by individual states, a sin- gle network provider or multiple networks. Many states and public safety organiza-

tions already have an array of communi- cation equipment and services that must interface with each other. For example, the interplay between LMR (Land Mobile Radio) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) poses a signifi cant challenge to be overcome. Self-sustainability is also a challenge. Based on congressional directives, the public-safety broadband communication network is expected to establish a consis- tent source of funding for the network, for interoperable, backward-compatible technology, and for a clear plan for the network. This will depend on the total number of users versus the cost of build- ing the entire network, which will cater largely to public safety needs. Cost-effectively leveraging available network resources increases the poten- tial for long-term viability. A greater challenge is the ability of the network to support mission-critical voice and video prioritization.

Solving the Challenges Several key wireless communication technologies will be critical to meeting

the challenges described above: Band 14 UE, Band 14 LTE macrocells, mobile base stations, or cell on wheels (COW), system on wheels (SOW), Band 14 out- door LTE picocells, Band 14 indoor LTE small cells, Band 14 ICS–based (Inter- ference Cancellation System) repeaters, high-capacity point-to-point microwave and millimeter-wave radios, and LMR radios or P25 (two-way) radios. Addi- tional elements to note are drones, ro- bots and high-resolution cameras. These technologies provide numer- ous benefi ts, including the nationwide coverage provided by RAN, COW and SOW, which will enable fi rst respond- ers to operate on the same frequency while transmitting large IP packets (text, image, video and voice) across a number of broadband applications. Legacy LMR networks are incapable of transmitting large chunks of data because they oper- ate on narrowband channels. Another key benefi t is the interoper- ability of communication systems among states and public safety departments. In- teroperability will permit fi rst responder organizations to share spectrum and information. For example, the fi re chief in Dallas, Texas, will be able to commu- nicate with the police chief in suburban Garland, Texas, over the public safety network, enabling coordinated responses and the effi cient sharing of information. Other benefits are the additional in-building coverage and signal pen- etration provided by the deployment of

LTE-capable small cells and the addi- tional in-building capacity of small cells to offl oad data traffi c (text, image, video and voice) from the macro network dur- ing emergencies or disasters. Finally, the addition of repeaters will extend cover- age in mountainous and rural areas. If well implemented, a nationwide public safety network can provide fi rst responders and operators of public safety networks with both operational effi ciencies and technical savings.

Important Considerations One of the critical components in the planning, design and development of a broadband public safety communication networks is determining who qualifi es as a public safety user. After the 9/11 at- tacks in New York City, schools, libraries, stadiums, government buildings, transit systems and other nontraditional public safety entities have increasingly been con- sidered as qualifying for strategy public safety coverage. Other critical compo- nents are priority schemes, load-sharing arrangements, and methods of eliminat- ing nonessential traffi c from the network. Consequently, a governance mechanism must be designed to address sharing of the infrastructure in a completely interopera- ble manner that accounts for coordination and priority of use of the broadband public safety network. A governance model that fosters coordination among various public safety jurisdictions and spells out call pri- ority, network maintenance responsibility, 25

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