It has been an uneasy dance. For many years, people have contemplated whether a single in-door network can, or should, handle both cellular users and public safety users. Some say the low-power cellular technology simply doesn’t mesh with high-power public safety portables, although others say the problem is not technological but legal. Carriers would not want to take legal responsibility for a system that fails to work for the first responder personnel.
One thing is clear. Many, if not most, of the future in-building wireless systems will be funded by enterprises, which already have responsibility for the lives of their tenants and will want to keep their overhead low.
Meanwhile, OEMs are moving forward with DAS technology that serves both the cellular and public safety agency communications. For example, Cobham Wireless’ digital distributed antenna solution (idDAS), which has already been used in large-scale cellular projects, will soon be available for legacy public safety communications.
“The key to penetrating enterprise is offering a long term DAS solution that can evolve with the networks. Building owners don’t want to have to rip and replace the system they use every three years. Cobham Wireless’ idDAS allows for this,” said John Giarolo who is Cobham Wireless’ VP of Coverage for the Americas.
The public safety idDAS was unveiled at Critical Communications World, Amsterdam, this week and will be made available worldwide in Q4 2016.
Things have changed over the years. Fear of terror attacks in public venues has increased. Cobham’s new system supports next generation public safety applications such as facial recognition technology, video and data transfer and site mapping, as well as providing dynamic capacity across areas for cellular communications.
“Bringing idDAS to the public safety communications market opens up a new world of opportunities for first responder agencies,” said Rami Hasarchi, vice president, coverage solutions, Cobham Wireless.
The ability to share capacity with nearby facilities as required means facilities managers and owners can significantly lower the OPEX costs associated with coverage enhancement systems.
“Providing additional bandwidth for first responder services enables the development of a raft of next generation emergency service communication technology, while minimizing the OPEX costs associated with high-bandwidth emergency service coverage provision,” Hasarchi said.