First multivendor public-safety LTE network used at GOP convention

The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida last month featured a public-safety milestone: the first private, interoperable, multivendor 700 MHz public-safety LTE network.

The temporary network, which was deployed in downtown Tampa under special temporary authority from the FCC, provided Florida state and local police, the FBI, Secret Service, Coast Guard and National Guard personnel with secure or encrypted video and voice communications and "an evidence-quality, permanent recording of all data collected at the event," according to Nokia Siemens Networks, which was part of the consortium that build the network.

Other consortium participants included Amdocs, Cisco Systems, Raytheon and Reality Mobile.

The network used 20 MHz of 700 MHz Band 14 public-safety broadband spectrum, reported Urgent Communications.

The system marked the first time federal, state and local first responders have simultaneously used a 700 MHz D-block broadband network for a National Special Security Event (NSSE). The network was deployed under special temporary authority (STA) from the FCC and provided a field trial of a multivendor integrated LTE system in advance of the $7 billion deployment of the national public safety broadband network

"Communications kits utilizing LTE modems from multiple manufacturers were configured to provide portable links to uniformed and undercover operatives using smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. The system provided video feeds from the cities' permanently mounted video cameras as well as live mobile video feeds from operatives and law enforcement officers in the field," said Nokia Siemens on its blog.

The network was funded mainly through donations from the participating vendors, though the applications and commercial off-the-shelf devices devices were purchased by the county, said MissionCritical Communications. Among the devices used on the network were some 40 Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices, including both iPhones and iPads.

The LTE packet core, Unified Communications applications, IP routing/switching, and cybersecurity were provided by Cisco. Nokia Siemens provided the LTE radio access network, and Reality Mobile supplied the RealityVision mobile video and visual collaboration platform. Amdocs contributed subscriber and device data management and policy control with the Amdocs Home Subscriber Server and Amdocs Policy Controller (PCRF) solutions. Raytheon provided project management and systems engineering support.

The STA is valid until Jan. 2013, and the St. Petersburg Police Department plans to use the network for testing over the next three months.

For more:
- see this Cisco release
- see this Nokia Siemens Networks blog
- see this MissionCritical Communications article
- see this Urgent Communications article

Related articles:
FCC: FirstNet just needs to ask for 700 MHz public-safety spectrum
Democrats, GOP slam each other's broadband plans
Seybold's Take: FirstNet board appointees ready for public safety broadband network challenge
FirstNet must act quickly to make the public-safety LTE network a reality
Verizon: Keep commercial traffic off of the public-safety LTE network
Texas county will operate and expand public-safety LTE network
Feds test public-safety LTE but will cancel 21 700 MHz waivers

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