First responders in three regions of New Jersey later this year are expected to utilize a new dedicated public-safety LTE network comprised entirely of deployable infrastructure operating on 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet, according to officials for the vendors building the network.

Known as JerseyNet, the proof-of-concept network is a project being built by the state of New Jersey with federal grant funding from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Last year, the FirstNet board approved a spectrum-lease agreement with the state to proceed with the project.

As with other early builders of public-safety LTE networks that have spectrum arrangements with FirstNet, New Jersey was asked to design its system in a manner that would provide valuable lessons learned for FirstNet official, who are contemplating how to design a nationwide broadband network for first responders.

In the case of New Jersey, the focus is on the capabilities and usage of deployable infrastructure. JerseyNet is designed to include more than 30 cells on wheels (COWs) and six systems on wheels (SOWs) that can be deployed in various locations via SUVs, vans or trailers, according to Bryan Casciano, vice president of sales for PMC Associates, which is the contracted integrator for the project.

Initial coverage for JerseyNet will be focused in three areas identified by state officials: Camden, Atlantic City and Route 21 corridor in northern New Jersey, Casciano said. Under BTOP funding rules, the JerseyNet deployment must be completed by September, which should be achieved under the current schedule, he said.

“We want to have all of this installed by June,” Casciano said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

A COW acts as a cell tower and requires connectivity to an evolved packet core (EPC) to function. A SOW includes an EPC in the infrastructure package, so it can provide LTE functions on a standalone basis—and support connected COWs—without connectivity to a larger fixed LTE network.

Oceus Networks will supply the LTE radio access network (RAN) and Xiphos Responder LTE cores for the JerseyNet project, according to a joint press release about the deployment. All of the COWs and SOWs on deployable trailers are designed to be moved at a moment’s notice, but most of them will be deployed in fixed locations and 10 will be reserved for real-time deployments, Casciano said.

Fujitsu Network Communications will oversee the backhaul connectivity for all JerseyNet sites, whether the method used is microwave, satellite or fiber, according to John Cafaro, Fujitsu’s associate vice president of sales for vertical markets.

“We’re going to design both the wireline for fixed units, as well as wireless backhaul from a microwave perspective,” Cafaro said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “This will allow the ability both for the units that are fixed, as well as to be able to rapidly set up microwave links for units that are going to be deployed out in the field to respond to specific events.”

Microwave links for JerseyNet will leverage licensed 5 GHz spectrum and will supply a minimum capacity of 100 MB/s of throughput, Cafaro said.

James Patterson, vice president of public and federal solutions for Oceus Networks, said that each fixed trailer has a 16-foot-by-16-foot footprint, so they cover about two parking spaces when deployed.

 “[JerseyNet will] have this hybrid architecture of SOWs and COWs,” Patterson said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “I think they’re going to learn a great deal about how to best use it—how can you use it in a standalone configuration, how you can use it as part of a network. Part of this is acting like a fixed network, and part of it really going to be driving around. So there are a number of different use cases they can explore, which I think will be valuable.

“Also, really determining how effective is satellite communication for these SOWs and COWs, and how can you put together a more cost effective, robust architecture that maximizes the value of all of this bandwidth? It’s going to be a really unique learning experience. We’ve got a great partnership with the state, and we’re really excited about the potential for the program and how it can really help FirstNet and the state of New Jersey.”