Harris Stratex Networks announced a deal with the city of Anchorage and Municipal Light and Power to upgrade microwave links in the Anchorage Wide Area Radio Network, or AWARN, used by local fire, police and emergency-services personnel.

Upgraded microwave backhaul is needed as Anchorage transitions its two legacy first-responder LMR communications networks to a new $7.5 million, 700 MHz Project 25 system being built by Motorola, said Trygve Erickson, the city's manager of telecommunications.

The backhaul load for the new system is expected to more than double — with anticipated traffic equal to the capacity of about 19 T-1 lines — so Anchorage's Harris Stratex Constellation gear will be upgraded to create capacity equal to 28 T-1s, Erickson said.

The AWARN serves as the Anchorage node in the statewide Alaska Land Mobile Radio network, a shared-spectrum VHF system that enables interoperable communications among local, state and federal agencies.