DENVER--Alvarion Ltd. announced it has extended it broadband platform into the 4.9 GHz band, which is set aside for public-safety data communications.

Called BreezeACCESS 4900, the platform leverages Alvarion’s existing commercial wireless broadband OFDM pre-WiMAX technology, primarily used in the 5 GHz band, and maximizes capacity and range while supporting encryption and other needs such as back-up for disaster recovery, said the company.

Patrick Leary, assistant vice president of marketing with Alvarion, said the technology enables high-capacity, non-line-of-sight connections, and allows a comprehensive solution for public-safety agencies, including broadband connectivity in vehicles when combined with Alvarion’s BreezeACCESS 900 system. The system also complies with the FCC’s maximum high-power mask and allows for point-to-multipoint access, point-to-point backhauling and point-to-multipoint backhauling of other vendors’ devices, such as sensors, cameras and traffic systems.

Since public safety gained victory last fall when the FCC opted for open standards in issuing guidelines for the licensed 4.9 GHz band set aside for public-safety data communications, more than 500 licenses have been issued, said Gregory Henderson, principal technologies with M/A-COM, during yesterday’s APCO session, “Trade-Offs & Standards in the Emerging 4.9 GHz Broadband Spectrum.”

Henderson said the Telecommunications Industry Association is developing standards for the 4.9 GHz band by leveraging existing standards. Most of the focus is on incorporating 802.11-based technologies as well as the emerging WiMAX standard. He said the goal is to create mobility within the 4.9 GHz band.

However, it’s debatable whether mobility will ever be economically feasible in the band. According to Alvarion’s Leary, mobility makes no economic sense because of the high frequency of the band.

“Our position is that fixed point-to-point or fixed point-to-multipoint is best for the 4.9 band,” said Leary. “Few can afford a node every tenth mile. It can’t be cost-justified.”

Public-safety entities wishing to support mobility should consider small hot zones in downtown areas, using fixed infrastructure to start and gradually rolling out mobility, suggested Henderson. He envisions these 4.9 GHz hot zones to overlay existing LMR systems.