WA Tech Reports: Cellular signals, emergency radios can now share nicely within same frequency thanks to state project

A 12-year effort to ensure cell phones and public safety radio bands can transmit clearly in the same space is wrapping up for Washington state, a job made especially difficult by international border issues, rapidly changing technologies and multiple jurisdictions across government.

At the center of it all was Michael Marusich with the state’s Office of Chief Information Officer, who coordinated efforts between wireless phone companies, police, fire, search and rescue and other entities of the federal government and state agencies that rely on radios for emergency communication in the field.

Marusich says the problem was this: Cell phones and public safety radio channels share the 800 MHz radio frequencies.  While sharing wasn’t a problem a quarter century ago, as wireless use became widespread there were suddenly instances where lives and property were being threatened as cell phone conversations began crowding out emergency communications. Even though cell phone towers are usually placed at lower elevations and emergency radio towers usually located on hills and mountaintops, separating the signals became an issue due to the growing bombardment of cellular use.

Read article here: https://watech.wa.gov/Cellular-signals-emergency-radios-can-now-share-nicely-within-same-frequency-thanks-state-project

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 28, 2018

FirstNet Progress and Coverage Issues.  It appears from information provided by FirstNet that more than 1,000 public safety agencies have signed on to the network and are commencing to put it to use. However, some agencies are waiting because they are being told they will get a better deal and service by staying with Verizon. Other agencies have told us they are not convinced FirstNet coverage as it stands today is sufficient for their needs and are waiting to see how FirstNet fills in their coverage area.

On the plus side for FirstNet, many departments that have run comparison coverage tests between Verizon and FirstNet have been pleasantly surprised at how good FirstNet coverage already is in their area. Other agencies are in discussion with FirstNet (Built by AT&T) to expedite extended coverage plans. New devices are being approved for use on FirstNet all the time. The latest is the Sierra Wireless MG-90 vehicular modem. While Sierra is not a client of mine, it has provided me with an MG-90 that is installed in my car along with my three JVCKenwood VHF, UHF, and 700/800 radios. This has become a valuable tool for me as I can now check both Verizon and FirstNet coverage and store the results for future use. I can also compare the coverage to LMR systems in an area.

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Washington Post Reports: FirstNet launches, giving police and firefighters a dedicated wireless network and infinite possibilities

Though it’s not a renowned high-tech hub, Brazos County, Tex., has become the showroom for what technology can do for police officers, paramedics and firefighters nationwide, through the newly created FirstNet wireless network. When Brazos sheriff’s deputies entered a standoff with an armed man inside his home, they positioned four cars around the building and streamed live video through FirstNet back to their command center from their phones. When firefighters launched a swiftwater rescue recently, they were able to show it in real time through FirstNet to their supervisors. When a man tried to fraudulently register a stolen car, a patrol lieutenant was able to patch into the government center cameras through FirstNet and watch the crime in progress.

Read entire article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/tom-jackman/

WISPA Says 6 GHz Proposal ‘Excellent Starting Point’

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has termed “an excellent starting point” steps proposed recently by 10 tech companies that they said would ensure that unlicensed devices in the 6 gigahertz band don’t cause harmful interference to incumbents (TR Daily, June 12).

The firms and 6 GHz band incumbents have been bickering for months about an analysis the tech firms submitted in January that concluded that unlicensed devices could share the 6 GHz band without causing harmful interference to primary incumbent operations (TR Daily, Jan. 26).

The analysis submitted in January was done by RKF Engineering Services LLC and submitted to the Commission by Apple, Inc., Broadcom Corp., Cisco Systems, Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Facebook, Inc., Google LLC, Intel Corp., MediaTek, Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Qualcomm, Inc. The recent proposal, as with other recent filings, was submitted by those companies, with the addition of Ruckus Networks and the omission of MediaTek. Continue reading