FirstNet foresees in-vehicle units for remote comm
One of the challenges for FirstNet, the nationwide LTE public safety broadband network, will be providing coverage for responders in remote locations or otherwise out of range of terrestrial coverage.
Current alternatives include using balloons or drones to construct an aerial communications architecture and portable cellular networks that connect responders to FirstNet.
One of the latest concepts for coverage extension, however, is the Mobile Communications Unit (MCU), a satellite-based communications system that could be installed in responder vehicles to give responders wireless capabilities when they are outside of terrestrial network coverage.
According to a blog post by the FirstNet Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the MCU could automatically act like a remote base station to other users, coordinating communications if the size of the incident expands or if additional first responders are needed.
The MCU could automatically switch from the terrestrial network modem to a satellite modem and use in-vehicle routers and rugged antennas that could withstand extreme environmental conditions. New satellite technologies can improve some of the performance, physical installation, and cost of including a satellite option, FirstNet said.
While MCU is still a concept, FirstNet is researching deployable platforms and working to ensure that the MCU is prioritized as appropriate to support commercial availability of this critical platform.
Posted by GCN Staff on Jul 27, 2015 at 11:14 AM