Harris showcases LTE-satellite solution
ANAHEIM, Calif.—Harris today announced the completion of a successful demonstration of a small, deployable LTE solution supported by satellite connectivity—technology that the company will display at its booth this week during the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) convention.
Conducted in the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve in Livermore, Calif., the demonstration showcased the ability of the Harris solution to provide LTE connectivity to public-safety users over Band 14 700 MHz spectrum to a location with no commercial cellular coverage. Personnel representing EMS, firefighters and incident command used the Harris InTouch RPC-200 handheld device and the Harris RF-3590 tablet to stream video, use mapping applications and make voice calls—via Harris’s BeOn push-to-talk application—between the staged incident and county dispatch.
During the demonstration, Harris used a prototype of its deployable small-cell core and radio-access network, according to Greg Henderson, director of product management at Harris.
“It’s not a released product yet, but we have been developing the capability of small-cell core and RAN,” Henderson said during an interview with Urgent Communications. “That’s a capability that we have been developing for both the Band 14 public-safety market and the military market, because there’s a lot of interest in LTE for tactical cellular by some of our DoD-based customers.”
Backhaul from the scene was provided through the Harris CapRock satellite network, which provides satellite connectivity to governments and enterprises, including petroleum companies and cruise lines, according to Harris spokeswoman Victoria Dillon. Henderson said the technology was modified to fit public-safety requirements.
“The local carrier has a mini-cell on the ship, and they use the satellite backhaul to get back [to the main network],” he said. “We’re using that same basic technology, obviously in a more hardened form.”
Although the communications were achieved through a satellite, latency was not a problem, according to Henderson.
“I can tell you that the video and voice performance on the satellite demo was very acceptable from a user-experience perspective. I tried it, and you noticed maybe a little more latency,” he said. “To be honest, BeOn has latency over the commercial cellular networks anyway, and I would say that the satellite latency was similar to that.
“I can tell you that, operationally, it didn’t feel awkward.”
This integration of small cells, satellite and LTE devices in a footprint that can be transported in a van is the type of solution that Harris believe will be of interest to FirstNet officials, Henderson said.