This month, Pierson Wireless will address a number of topics related to the best practices in the design and implementation of Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES) – also known as Public Safety DAS (Distributed Antenna System).
The single most important reason Public Safety DAS exist and are necessary is to ensure critical in-building communications between members of first responder teams that can mean the difference between life and death as they coordinate and execute emergency response tactics.
First responders coordinate efforts via radio signals broadcast within government-mandated frequency ranges, normally in the VHF, UHF, 700, and 800 MHz bands. A Public Safety DAS leverages a donor antenna to receive RF transmissions from public safety network towers. In turn, those signals are collected, amplified, and rebroadcast within the structure via a distributed network of antennas.
The preponderance of steel, concrete, and low-emissivity (Low-E) glass in modern construction creates many challenges for a reliable signal in large venues or multiple-level buildings. The density of materials, coupled with the square footage within the structure, makes it difficult for first responder radio signals to penetrate and populate the entirety of the space. As a result, municipalities are updating codes to make the presence of a Public Safety DAS mandatory and a requirement of occupancy.
Today’s look at best practices utilized by the Pierson Wireless Public Safety team takes a look at redundancy in a public safety communications system solution.
REDUNDANCY IN ERCES
Redundancy ensures the reliability, availability, and continuity of critical operations. Implementing redundant systems can minimize downtime and mitigate the risks of hardware failures or disruptions. However, it adds an extra cost to the initial system for equipment that may not be required or utilized.
The current Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and International Fire Code (IFC) codes do not require redundancy in Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems – also known as Public Safety DAS – except for the power source. The solutions below reference possible ways to achieve system-level redundancy should it be desired.
Redundancy in an ERCES can be done in multiple ways. The majority of the methods of redundancy utilize only certain parts to be duplicated in an ERCES. These methods are to solve the issues of signal booster failure, donor antenna failure, and donor site failure.