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Emerging Technologies for In-Building & Subterranean Communications

Paul May  (Product Marketing Manager, Innovative Wireless Technologies)

Red Grasso  (Director, FirstTech Program, North Carolina Department of Information Technology)

Tom Cooper  (Senior Sales Director , Avari Wireless)

Chris Lamb  (CEO, Device Solutions)

Location: W230C

Date: Monday, March 25

Time: 2:40 pm - 3:40 pm

Track: In-Building Wireless, First Responder Communications

Topic: IT & OT, Project Management, System Resiliency

Format: Panel Session

Vault Recording: TBD

The design of LMR radio coverage typically starts with requirements such as 95% on-street coverage. These networks then use coverage augmentation in specific buildings and areas to meet requirements for day-to-day usage in central business districts, municipal buildings, arenas, or transportation hubs. However, because emergency responses occur everywhere, first responders continually find buildings, areas and situations that are off-network for on-scene communications.

Three emerging technologies can address these coverage shortfalls. One approach is to greatly improve the terrestrial coverage by taking advantage of spare capacity in digital television broadcasts. Using a technique called datacasting, public safety information can be transmitted to first responders through the extremely high-powered DTV transmitters. The second approach to improving coverage is to bring networks based on mesh technology to the scene and construct a mesh network as fast as first responders can enter the coverage space. Mesh networks, which self­ configure when devices are turned on, are particularly well suited for challenging coverage areas including dense buildings and subterranean spaces such as basements and tunnels. US Federal and State mine rescue teams have standardized on mesh networks for their emergency responses because these networks are quick to deploy, resilient, and provide voice, data, and location services to the mine rescue teams. The third approach to improving LMR and public safety radio coverage inside large buildings and subterranean areas is using advanced fiber-optic based distributed antenna systems (DAS).

In this presentation, attendees will learn about DTV paging technology and trial systems supported by PBS North Carolina. Additionally, attendees will learn about how West Virginia's State Mine Emergency Teams use ad-hoc mesh networks to establish communications during emergency responses. Digital transformation of the transmission media has provided significant evolutionary growth from simple coaxial BDA distribution to today’s advanced digital DAS solutions, delivering superior performance and higher system availability. Use cases will be used to illustrate to attendees how digital DAS innovation has helped evolve critical in-building coverage in challenging facilities such as tunnels, subways, airports, utilities and multi-building campuses.