Public Safety Broadband Stakeholders Have to Decide

PSCR-hosted-the-Public-Safety-Broadband-Stakeholder-Conference-June-4-6-2013-in-Westminster-ColoradoIn the effort to build out the nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, stakeholders are making themselves heard. They were heard at the Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Conference held last week, June 4-6, 2013, outside of Denver, Colo., hosted by the Public Safety Communications Research lab. It brought to the surface the many competing agendas local public safety network operators, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), wired and wireless vendors and even mobile app developers contend with.

Aviat Networks had a chance to sit down with Tammy Parker, editor of FierceBroadbandWireless, during the conference to discuss some of these issues, such as the debate on the effectiveness of fiber optic technology in backhauling public safety networks. The fact is that microwave indeed will be a key element in the design and implementation of the FirstNet mission-critical network. And fiber does not provide the reliability and survivability needed. In the commercial mobile telecom space, the poor survivability of fiber is tolerated, but when it comes down to crunch time when lives are on the line, public safety operators will take microwave over leased fiber.

Randy Jenkins, Aviat director of business development, expanded on this vital decision for public safety operators to make between microwave and fiber. “As a vendor vested in the public safety community for more than 50 years, Aviat understands its responsibility to find innovative ways of offering microwave solutions that can save CAPEX and OPEX in support of the biggest challenge FirstNet is addressing—not enough money. Aviat is bringing backhaul innovation to this program.”

The bottom line is that backhaul is always the bottleneck in any network planning. In that case, it’s important for public safety operators to address that aspect first, according to Tony Ljubicich, Aviat’s vice president of sales and services.

If you would like to hear more about how Aviat Networks is making microwave backhaul the best choice for FirstNet-ready public safety, leave your contact information and reference the upcoming webinar on public safety broadband backhaul for a major statewide network. We’ll let you know when it’s scheduled.

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FirstNet Board Named for Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

First Responder Network Authority logo

The FirstNet board, an independent authority within NTIA that will hold the spectrum license for the national public safety broadband network, has been named. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is charged with taking “all actions necessary” to build, deploy and operate this network, in consultation with federal, state, tribal and local public safety entities and other key stakeholders. FirstNet oversees $7 billion in funding toward deployment of this network, as well as $135 million for a new State and Local Implementation Grant Program administered by NTIA to support state, regional, tribal and local jurisdictions’ efforts to plan and work with FirstNet to ensure the network meets their wireless public safety communications needs.

This 12-person team is responsible for deciding how to specify the nationwide interoperable broadband network for public safety and how to spend this $7.2 billion set aside by the Obama Administration for that purpose. The board is made up of government officials, telecom industry professionals and most importantly public safety practitioners. The difficult decisions are now on the table for the FirstNet board, and we will be watching closely to see how they address the challenges. Ultimately, our public safety practitioners must have faith in the decisions and the network that will be implemented. Their needs are not always congruent with commercial wireless networks, so some changes to the commercial networks may be needed if they are to be used for public safety applications.

Aviat Networks believes that the best solution would be for FirstNet to empower states/municipalities to make the best decisions for their particular geographies and needs. What works in Alaska is not the same as the best solution for New York City, for example. Specific guidelines for interoperability requirements and use of available funding must be dictated by FirstNet. But specific needs knowledge, existing cross-state relationships and years of public safety experience all live with the states. We should challenge them to use those assets and to achieve the desired result. Key vendors like Harris and Motorola are well positioned to help the states move quickly and cost effectively to achieve interoperable broadband coverage.

At APCO this week, we saw examples of LTE network trials/demonstrations that clearly show us that LTE public safety network technology is ready to go. Data, video and even voice were moved across the entire U.S., allowing a police chief in Massachusetts to coordinate activities with his counterpart in Nevada. Real-time video of a simulated terrorist episode in Tampa could be viewed by federal entities in Washington, D.C. The ability to move and share information allows first responders to react quickly and with conviction to protect Americans.

So what should vendors to the public safety market do? They should be ready to move quickly with innovative solutions that align with the directions of FirstNet and bring high reliability and performance to the network while stripping out as much CAPEX/OPEX as possible.

Working together with our skilled public safety professionals, we can get this done!

Randy Jenkins
Director Business Development
Aviat Networks

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What to Expect from IWCE in 2012

As you know, IWCE (International Wireless Communications Expo) is just around the corner (Feb 20-24 Las Vegas) and is the premier event for government, public safety, utilities and transportation.  We are excited to be exhibiting once again at this event.

We can expect to hear about 2 key themes:

1. Public Safety migration to LTE
The introduction of LTE technology into public safety networks is happening now and represents a huge change for state/local agencies.  LTE is a brand new technology for this market and represents a new way of thinking for many folks.  LTE brings new services and applications, different network planning and design assumptions, more capacity requirements, and more IP traffic.  Understanding how to build microwave networks that best support the cost, capacity and mission critical requirements of public safety LTE will be key to building mission critical LTE data networks.  Aviat has unique solutions to solve these complex challenges.

2. Security of critical infrastructure
The current and ongoing migration of public safety networks toward IP/LTE is increasing the opportunities and motivations malicious activity. As the amount of critical data rises in the broadband public safety network, security has become of greater concern.  This will be a key topic at the show.  Again, Aviat has a unique strong security solution which we’ll be talking extensively about at IWCE.  In fact, in addition to the exhibition, we will be speaking on a panel at the IWCE show regarding cyber threats to the public safety network infrastructure on February 23rd at 3:30 – 4:45pm which we would like to invite you to attend.

Please check back after the show for an update on how things went!!

Gary Croke
Product Marketing
Aviat Networks

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Professional Services Center in San Antonio, TX

Network Management Centre. BT has several mana...

Image via Wikipedia

Nathan Hitchcock, NOC team lead for Aviat Networks, provides guidance for all network services professionals in the company’s network operations center during its 24×7 rotation. At the NOC, Hitchcock describes a range of customers the company services—from Internet service providers to public safety networks (government wireless) . “Our customers find value in the NOC,” he says.

“It’s a natural progression that once the network is live, that the NOC just take over the managed services aspect of it,” Hitchcock says. “We provide value to our customers by helping reduce the operational expenses that are associated with managed services.”

When Aviat Networks moved its NOC to San Antonio, Texas, many backbone infrastructure and wireless security improvements were made, according to Hitchcock. And all the technical knowledge was transferred from Raleigh, N.C. He sums up the Aviat Networks’ network services value proposition as: a multi-disciplinary team that provides managed services to meet the clients’ needs.

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