PSCR labs ready to share test results with FirstNet

editor's corner

Though they're in my own backyard, I only recently got a chance to tour the Public Safety Communications Research laboratories in Boulder, Colo. And now I realize what a big deal they are.

PSCR is a joint effort of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. It has been instrumental in performing interoperability research on behalf of the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet), which is overseen by NTIA and is charged with putting together the National Public Safety Broadband Network.

PSCR does not certify gear for FirstNet and does not share vendor-specific results with the authority. PSCR is, however, the only government or independent lab in the United States to test and demonstrate public-safety 700 MHz broadband networks and applications.

The Boulder labs recently wrapped up a year's worth of extensive Band 14 network gear interoperability testing, in which a plethora of evolved packet cores (EPCs) and base stations from multiple vendors were made to play nice together. Results of that testing will be revealed during the PSBB Stakeholder Conference, June 4-6 in Westminster, Colo., following the FirstNet board meeting.

Yet, that does not mean PSCR's work is done. Far from it. In fact, Jeff Bratcher, PSCR operations manager, told me the Boulder labs recently began a new phase of testing that includes small cells.

Emil Olbrich, head of LTE research, development, testing and engineering, added that PSCR already has some small cell trials going on down the street from its labs on the University of Colorado campus.

I took some photos of my field trip to the PSCR labs, which are included in this slide show. I hope you enjoy them.--Tammy

arrowClick here to view the slideshow.