Harris Demos LTE Pilot Among 4 Cities (7/16/12)
By Sandra Wendelken
Harris demonstrated its public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities through a four-city pilot system July 12.
The network’s LTE core resides in Chelmsford, Mass. Public-safety agencies in Las Vegas, Miami and Rochester, N.Y., were connected through eNodeBs or LTE base stations to the 700 MHz demonstration network, showcasing applications such as streaming video, mapping, and vehicle and driver data look-ups in real time. The system operated on a special temporary authority (STA) license.
Officers in Miami checked on a simulated parked car with a drug suspect and apprehended the suspect, with the video feed shown live to demo attendees. Las Vegas officials drove to a car that had been reported stolen, and Rochester policemen checked a location with alleged suspicious activity.
Cameras mounted on the dashboard of public-safety vehicles videoed the traffic stops, with the video shown live instead of stored and downloaded later by officers. The vehicles also housed Harris MBC-100 LTE modems, microphones and rugged laptops with BeOn software, which provides Project 25 (P25) features on commercial devices.
BeOn doesn’t provide mission-critical voice because it’s not operating over a public-safety hardened network and doesn’t have talk-around mode, said John Vaughan, vice president of global marketing and business development for Harris. If both users are on an encrypted talk group, the conversation is secure. BeOn will work on other vendors’ P25 networks through the Inter Subsystem Interface (ISSI), said Vaughan.
The data throughput varied during the demonstration from about 548 kilobits per second (kbps) to about 1.1 Megabits per second (Mbps). The demonstration included equipment from Harris partner Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), including the LTE evolved packet core (EPC) in Chelmsford.
Earlier this year, Harris announced 700 MHz band 14 LTE pilot systems in Las Vegas and Miami.
Harris executives said leading up to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board formation, small pilots that can be easily discarded or moved is a good way to educate, test and experiment with public-safety technology and applications. “Before we spend $7 billion, the amount allocated to the nationwide public-safety broadband network, we should see what works,” said Chuck Shaughnessy, vice president, LTE business, Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications (PSPC).
Shaughnessy said Harris would also like to conduct two- or three-site pilots. He also said LTE will co-exist with P25 for two more decades. “It’s a mistake to stop investing in P25,” he said.
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