It is perhaps one of the greater ironies of technology that even as industry trends point to change, the market still demands the same.
The buzz at the International Wireless Communications Expo was all about the convergence of RF and IP and, in public safety, the convergence of cellular and public safety to be driven by the FirstNet nationwide 700 MHz public safety network, Seth Buechley, president, Solid North America, told DAS Bulletin.
Four years ago, Solid’s original product was a multicarrier DAS multiservice platform, now known as Alliance, which converged cellular and public safety. However, Solid’s new system, Express Public Safety, is a more traditional standalone in-building wireless system offering coverage of only public safety frequencies, which unveiled at IWCE in Las Vegas last month.
“The reality is the market is primarily still choosing to provide public safety over a separate, parallel system from cellular DAS,” Buechley said. “Ultimately, we look at the public safety world as akin to the DAS world in 2004/2005, where each system was single carrier, but then building owners began to insert their voices into the discussion for neutral-carrier DAS networks. I think we are now seeing that play out in the public safety space.”
He is confident that building owners, in the future, will want a single, converged system that will carry both cellular and public safety. In the meantime, Solid will serve the standalone public-safety system market segment, as well as the demand for converged cellular/public safety DAS.
Express Public Safety is “future ready” in that it can handle the current public safety frequencies at 800 MHz, 150 MHz and 450 MHz and then it will accommodate the 700 MHz FirstNet systems of the future.