Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the 2004 deal with Sprint Nextel for cleaning up public safety static is still vastly far from complete: The company agreed to pay up to $4.86b to consolidate its messy Nextel holdings that were interwoven with public safety frequencies; they also got 10 MHz as an incentive. The money was to paid directly to police, fire, emergency, and other public safety entities to get new gear to move from the frequencies that Sprint Nextel would gain, to new, unencumbered ranges. It was a win-win for Nextel and public safety agencies, while other cell companies carped at the low price Nextel managed to agree to.
Any dollar below $4.86b goes to the Treasury; any dollar over is paid by Sprint Nextel. This produced a dilemma. Sprint Nextel has every release to keep costs to $4.86b to the dollar, and they can wrap that in a flag: “Every dollar we spend is a dollar that doesn’t go to the U.S. Treasury,” Lawrence Krevor, Sprint’s senior vice president, government affairs, told the Journal.
However, the cost may be vastly higher than estimated. Sprint Nextel is playing hardball in every negotiation and won’t be nearly complete within the three-year required period, which ends soon. Motorola says it’s shipped 1% of the needed equipment. Sprint Nextel says it’s paid $1.5b of the possible $4.86b. But then the Journal finds stories like the one in Chester County, Penn., where the emergency services director says he’s been working for three years to get the fee set for the preliminary studies for communications upgrades without success. He estimates the final cost could be $18.5m to $150m—for one county in Pennsylvania. They might be atypical, but I doubt it.
Interference persists, and AT&T is demanding action due to their own requirement to investigate (at their own expense) any incidents that occur, even when they are apparently mostly or always due to Nextel’s gear.
Can’t wait for the lawsuits.
PacketHop releases their Communication System 3.0, with new secured mobile video surveillance options; and hardware: The PacketHop system is aimed at first responders and others involved in public safety and general security. The latest system supports robust streaming video from surveillance systems for users as they move towards a scene of interest—what PacketHop dubs “drive-up surveillance.”
The company has also added two hardware devices. While originally a hardware firm with a software overlay, the company reorganized itself around applications that could run over many systems, using techniques to improve the quality of service and throughput. They’ve now introduced hardware again: the Mobile Router for vehicle access, which can handle up to three radios (802.11a/b/g, 4.9 GHz public safety, and cellular), and be used to broadcast video as well. The Mesh Exchange is a mesh node designed to connect to a video camera to push traffic to the rest of a network using 802.11a/b/g and/or 4.9 GHz.
The leading metro-scale equipment vendor Tropos moves into public safety: The firm’s wireless nodes are currently used more than any others by an order of magnitude in the US due to EarthLink’s adoption of Tropos as their standard for mesh/end-user deployment. Adding 4.9 GHz public-safety gear is a critical move as cities and public safety officials continue a broad trend of moving beyond simple municipal employee access and residential/visitor service with wireless networks.
Tropos released a series of 4.9 GHz routers, the Tropos 9000 family, which tie into their MetroMesh architecture for simulation, reporting, and management. The 9532 is dual-band (2.4/4.9 GHz) for fixed outdoor use; the 9432 is a mobile dual-band router; and the 9431 is a single-band 4.9 GHz node. The 9432 is designed to create a hotspot around a mobile vehicle in both 2.4 and 4.9 GHz, while also connecting to the mesh network in either band, with fallover from 4.9 GHz to 2.4 GHz.
The routers will ship in third quarter 2007.
The mesh networking firm adds public safety radios: BelAir makes a modular system designed to handle multiple radios in a single enclosure and use a form of wireless switching among nodes to improve throughput across multiple potential paths. The press release is a tad vague on details like shipping date and whether the module is simply a plug-in option on its multi-radio systems.
An interesting mix of a network rolls out in Wyoming: Excelsio Communications and BIG Wireless used two categories of Alvarion gear to deploy municipal and public safety services, including centralized control of 100 traffic lights and providing map information to firefighters and utility workers. Eighty police officer and firefighters have in-vehicle access, as well.