Part 2: Applications and Requirements for ARPA-funded Public Safety Network Upgrades

Today, Public Safety networks need to support a growing range of customers, applications, and services. Along with the increasing amount of mission-critical traffic to support public health and emergency responses, most agencies are also supporting traffic involving other agencies, consolidating inter-, intra-, and adjacent agency traffic over a common infrastructure.

Inherent in this type of network environment is a larger number of requirements and challenges, but this is only the beginning for forthcoming public safety network transformations. New network solutions for public safety –deployable units, drones, robots, and mobile command centers – are proliferating in networks. Supporting these solutions and their specific applications requires wireless network modernization and higher capacity connections. Fortunately, most of these upgrades can be paid for with ARPA funds. In this blog, we’ll look more closely at public safety applications and the network equipment requirements to support them.

Solutions and Applications

An August 2020 survey of more than 7000 public safety personnel by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) details applications used by police, fire, EMS, and the communications centers (COMMS) that support them. Common applications in addition to voice include email, computer-aided design (CAD), mapping/navigation, records management systems (RMS), weather, and traffic. Other cross-agency applications used by most or all of these departments include criminal databases, law/policy databases, first responder vehicle tracking, report writing software, and language translation.

Fire agency-specific applications in addition to voice include EPCR (electronic patient care reporting), ERG (emergency response guide), Hazmat guides and/or operating procedures, and hydrant location maps. For EMS services, there are automatic external defibrillator (AED) locators, electronic patient care reporting (EPCR) systems, emergency response guides (ERG), and medication/drug identification and interaction databases. Finally, COMMS departments use emergency notification systems (ENS) to alert the public.

With the increasing digitization of information and the use of wireless devices for the internet of things (IoT) applications (such as temperature sensors, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, shot spotters, remote patient monitors, and license plate readers), the list of wireless-enabled public safety systems and applications will surely grow.

Wireless Equipment Requirements

All of these applications are mission-critical for the departments that use them, and they require wireless networks that deliver high performance and high-reliability today while supporting tomorrow’s new, bandwidth-hungry applications. The burden of application bandwidth consumption can be large, especially if the network is large or the number of services supported is significant. (Aviat previously conducted a capacity planning study and how network capacity should be calculated given the applications running on a network.) At the same time, these wireless networks must offer a low total cost of ownership (TCO) to conserve city, county, and state resources.

With superior products that enable the highest capacities and network reliability, and the lowest TCO, Aviat Networks delivers on these requirements. Aviat also has unmatched public safety experience: the company is the US-based leader in designing and supporting mission-critical public safety backbone networks, as well as the industry leader in state and public safety network deployments. Finally, Aviat does not sell-and-forget, offering truly local support with sales/support teams across the country to provide engineering, installation, support, and services.

The Opportunity for Modernization

With $350 billion in ARPA funds available to state, local, and tribal governments for emergency response preparedness, now is the time to upgrade agency communications networks. Wireless backhaul equipment is a big part of that equation. Aviat has the most complete portfolio of public safety wireless transport solutions, and we’re ready to help make public safety network upgrades fast and cost-effective.

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