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Wireless backhaul can help support the next generation of public-safety technology

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Whether the purpose is to provide additional bandwidth capacity or redundant connectivity to a cell site, wireless backhaul solutions can be used to help public-safety agencies realize their requirements for reliable high-speed data throughput to support applications such as next-generation 911.

By Christina Richards, Vice President, AOptix

The expansion of advanced communications and surveillance systems are providing public-safety and law-enforcement agencies with new tools to ensure the security of our communities. Next-generation 911 (NG911) systems let these agencies better monitor and respond to the happenings within our public spaces and are a major source of new data for both preventing criminal activity and preserving lives in emergency situations.

As adoption continues to spread, however, additional infrastructure is needed to make the information from emergency networks—and the insights that they provide—actionable in real-time. Many of these networks are severely out of date and are incapable of handling the emerging emphasis on rapid data analysis that’s required to not only quickly recognize potential threats but to automatically notify the proper agencies, regardless of where or how the data is received.

By developing networks with enough bandwidth to support the collection, transport and analysis of data at multi-gigabits per second across a wide range of devices, public-safety organizations across the country will be able to make better use of the added security and insights offered with this new technology.

Communications data overload

While previous law-enforcement and emergency-response systems relied almost entirely on information from voice, the proliferation of connected mobile devices has dictated the need to include information from texts, images, videos and other sources. Making such a transition would require a large-scale update of both the systems and their supporting networks; however, many current networks across much of the country lack both the capacity and functionality necessary to receive and process such a wide range of input.

One of the major projects currently being undertaken to address this issue is the installation of NG911 systems. Several states, including Connecticut and Kansas, have begun deploying the technology across their emergency call centers as a means to empower police and emergency responders with greater access to information from civilians or public-safety personnel in near real time.

While the integration of NG911 systems remains in its early stages, the technology requires the high-speed transmission of large quantities of data. One high-bandwidth option is to install new fiber-optic cable connecting the emergency dispatchers to each other and to public-safety cell sites. However, because of physical, budgetary or logistical limitations, fiber may not be a viable solution. This is driving greater consideration for high-bandwidth, wireless solutions that can be deployed quickly and at a lower cost to taxpayers.

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