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Proxim Bulletin 4 9 G Hz Public Safety 1105


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Proxim Bulletin 4 9 G Hz Public Safety 1105

  1. 1. November 2005 THE 4.9 GHZ PUBLIC SAFETY MARKET This bulletin examines a few commonly asked questions about the 4.9 GHz frequency band allocated in the United States for public safety applications. Topics range from processes to apply for 4.9 GHz licenses, the availability of grants for deploying 4.9 GHz wireless networks, must-have and enhanced service applications that run on these networks, and which agencies are driving the demand for licensed public safety spectrum. What are the processes for municipalities to apply for 4.9 GHz licenses? The process to obtain a 4.9 GHz license from the FCC is simple and quick. Licenses are obtained by the municipality through the FCC’s online Universal Licensing System (ULS). Prior to filing, the municipality has to register for an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password. There is no charge for licensing and the applications are generally processed within hours. A license provides the licensee access to all frequencies within the 4.94-4.99 GHz frequency band anywhere within the municipality’s jurisdiction. In the case of point-to-point wireless links each endpoint has to be licensed separately. Part 90.1207 of the FCC rules spells out the licensing criteria. Proxim’s online Knowledgebase ( explains the procedure in detail. What is the availability of DHS grants? What is the process for applying for them? The Department of Homeland Security’s website offers several different grants ( Likewise, additional federal sites ( and list many more. Process and availability of these grants vary and each site should be consulted to determine the process for application. What is the breakdown of applications required for public safety? Although it will likely be priortized for such use, it is important to understand that the band is not reserved for first responders alone. The licensee has the right to allow any civil organization to operate in the band. Likewise, they can also allow private companies (typically those supporting critical infrastructure) use of the band provided there are no fee-based services traversing the system. Therefore, it is suitable for a multitude of applications. 4.9 GHz Public Safety <1> Copyright© 2005 November 2005 Proxim Wireless Corporation
  2. 2. Sales Bulletin > 4.9 GHz Public Safety Public Safety Applications Agency Basic Needs Enhanced Services Police • Mobile office • Mobility • Computer Aided Dispatch • Database access • DL checks • File sharing • Field reporting • Email and Instant Messaging • Mug shots • Inter-agency coordination • Hi-res imaging • Wireless printing • On the spot citation • Resource tracking • Whiteboarding • VoIP and Streaming video • Real-time multicast video Medical • Mobile office • Mobility • Computer Aided Dispatch • Hi-res imaging • File sharing • Database access • Field reporting • File sharing • Inter-agency coordination • VoIP / Streaming video • Email Fire • Mobile office • Mobility • Computer Aided Dispatch • Database access • Field reporting • File sharing • Instant Messaging Email • GIS data • Resource tracking • Inter-agency coordination • Streaming video • Whiteboarding • VoIP • Real-time multicast video 4.9 GHz Public Safety <2> Copyright© 2005 November 2005 Proxim Wireless Corporation
  3. 3. Sales Bulletin > 4.9 GHz Public Safety The ability to prioritize traffic in real-time is critical for a successful 4.9 GHz implementation. Proxim’s 4.9 GHz mesh product (ORiNOCO AP-4900M) is capable of supporting multiple VLANs by which it can logically separate different users from each other on the network providing security and enabling prioritization of certain sets of users. The most popular installation scenarios appear to be as leased line alternatives between agency buildings, mobile connectivity to police, fire, and rescue vehicles, and temporary high speed point-to- point and point-to-multipoint wireless connections during major incidents and special operations. The ORiNOCO AP-4900M was designed to fit into just about every network topology. By the virtue of mesh we are able to create point-to-point and point-to-multipoint networks, and provide redundancy. Likewise, mesh provides mobility to vehicles that need to be deployed temporarily and in a hurry. ORiNOCO AP-4900M dual-radio mesh There are a wide variety of applications served by each of these types of installations. The most popular of these applications seem to be video and data related. These range from real-time surveillance of a high-crime area to access of online resources such as license plate and hazardous material information. 4.9 GHz Public Safety <3> Copyright© 2005 November 2005 Proxim Wireless Corporation
  4. 4. Sales Bulletin > 4.9 GHz Public Safety Which department - police, fire, EMS - are driving the applications? Each of the departments has their own needs. Most of the interest appears to be from a police standpoint, although the solution is equally effective among all three. In the case of the police agencies they are anxious to add broadband mobile data services, upgrade from an existing outdated low speed data service, or find an alternative to expensive leased mobile data services. The police agencies undoubtedly spend the most time in the mobile environment and rely on data services to provide: • police report information on a particular subject • license plate information • Be On the Look Out (BOLO) information • mug shots One of the key things that high-speed connectivity to the vehicle affords them is more time in the vehicle and consequently, more time in the public’s eye. With broadband connectivity to the vehicle they can also pull streaming video from intersections, inside banks and schools, high-crime area, along with the ability to push video back to a central location, like dispatch, from a dash mounted camera. The fire service has equally important needs for fast transfers of GIS data, building pre-plan information, streaming video, and access to online resources. EMS is very similar, but also adds the capability to push pictures from the scene of an accident and possibly streaming video to the waiting doctors and nurses while enroute to the hospital. Are the 4.9 GHz licenses also available for non municipal agencies including Border Patrol and Coast Guard? As previously mentioned, the band is available primarily to public safety agencies and government entities. Any of them can apply for the licenses. Private industry can be granted use of the band by the local licensee provided the user isn’t charging for services. In other words, a wireless ISP couldn’t traverse a 4.9 GHz wireless system. Ideally, a single wireless system would be deployed to support several different types of users. The ORiNOCO AP-4900M can be installed on light poles, rooftops, water towers, and radio towers through a community. As long as each radio can see a neighboring radio they will create an autonomous wireless cloud throughout the community with complete redundancy. This single wireless system, however, can serve each public safety agency along with the other civic organizations while keeping the traffic from each group of users isolated from the other. Since the ORiNOCO AP-4900M has two radio interfaces, the municipality has the option to leverage the economies of scale of commercially available IEEE 802.11b/g equipment (that is many times already integrated into portable computing devices), while using 4.9 GHz as a transport or backhaul mechanism. Along with the ability to provide different logical networks over a single physical medium (aka VLANs), the ORiNOCO AP-4900M can also support multiple security profiles. This means that you can have one or more VLANs that are encrypted using WPA2 with 802.1x authentication, and possibly a different VLAN that is completely open for public Internet access. 4.9 GHz Public Safety <4> Copyright© 2005 November 2005 Proxim Wireless Corporation