Interoperable communications long has been a buzzword in the public-safety community. To satisfy the craving for technologies that connect disparate land-mobile-radio systems for reliable communications during emergency incidents, the city of Bangor, Maine, deployed Intraplex NetExpress multiplexers from Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris. The vendor received the contract from RITEC Wireless, which the city selected as the systems integrator for the mobile-data project.

NetExpress interconnects the city's legacy radio systems with high-speed Ethernet systems to create a two-way radio system over fiber that transports data over packet networks to support public-safety communications, Alexander said. The multiplexers support 32 simultaneous streams, including half-duplex, duplex, unicast and multicast, and they offer a built-in, forward-error correction module, as well as packet-delay jitter compensation and delay packet processing to ensure data moves through the pipe.

“In IT there has been a lot of focus on getting the data across the IP network reliably, which used to be a given with T-1 — it's very reliable and IP is all over the place,” said Chuck Alexander, director of Interplex products for Harris.

The Bangor deployment was supported by a $1.3 million city public-safety grant, said Capt. Thomas Higgins of the Bangor Fire Department. Previous systems didn't meet the department's radio communications needs.

“Our VHF analog system had only a single-site repeater and we were having a lot of dead spots, especially in-building and portable coverage,” he said.

The city now has a single communications network that links police, fire and EMS.

“The Harris equipment has allowed us to bring together communication systems that we never dreamed that would work,” Higgins said. “Our voice system is incredible across the city now; with the voice receivers, now we can talk through our repeaters over long distance. We used to go to fire scenes and use a talk-around or tactical frequency to communicate, and now we're not forced to that.”

The system provides for future expansion to include water and wastewater districts, public works department, the nearby county of Penobscot and Bangor Hydro Electric Utility, Alexander said.

Radio systems and equipment vendors

Aeroflex Test Solutions ▪ Andrew Corp. ▪ C4i ▪ Carlson Wireless Technologies ▪ Catalyst Communications Technologies ▪ Ceo Tronics ▪ Daniels Electronics ▪ Dataradio Corp. ▪ Datron World Communications ▪ DX Radio Systems ▪ EADS ▪ EFJohnson Technologies ▪ EMR Corp. ▪ Etherstack ▪ Futurecom Systems Group ▪ Harris Corp. ▪ HYT America ▪ Icom America ▪ IPMobileNet ▪ Kenwood USA ▪ Kirisun ▪ Link Communications ▪ M/A-COM ▪ Microhard Systems ▪ Midland Radio ▪ Modular Communications ▪ Motorola ▪ Nova Engineering ▪ Omnitronics ▪ Positron Public Safety Systems ▪ Radio IP Software ▪ Tait Radio Communications ▪ For complete listings of radio systems and equipment vendors, visit the MRT 2008 Resource Guide at www.mrtmag.com.

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