Cellular and Public-Safety Radio “Dead Zones” in Buildings Undermine the Safety of the Public and First Responders

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SOLiD and Hutton Communications publish e-book that details regulatory and technical challenges, recent advances

The public-safety imperative is shared by the public safety, commercial wireless and venue owner ecosystems

Today SOLiD, a wireless infrastructure company, and Hutton Communications, a premier distributor of commercial wireless communications and related equipment, jointly issued an e-book titled "The Imperative" which details the obstacles and options facing public-safety communications in public and private buildings.

Fourteen years after 9-11, building occupants and first responders still face unsolved communication challenges. The general public relies upon cellular connectivity and coverage for 911 access; and first responders depend upon two-way LMR radios to communicate during emergencies. However, once in a building, both technologies are impacted by limited RF signal performance that ultimately leads to miscommunications and potential casualties during critical responses.

“Today’s imperative is simple” says Chief Alan Perdue (Ret.), Executive Director of the Safer Building Coalition “At the height of any emergency, it is paramount that first responders can communicate with one another, with command and with building occupants. Yet the harsh reality is that many stakeholders have failed to take the necessary actions to improve communications, thereby limiting where we could or should be compared to over a decade ago.”

Said Mike Collado, Vice President of Marketing from SOLiD, ”The FirstNet initiative is moving towards the RFP stage, which will guide fire and life safety codes and standards across the country. At the same time, robust in-building wireless solutions have evolved that address significant obstacles to communications. But due to the safety code development cycles, many of the new standards don’t include state-of-the-art technology, and for building managers, regulators and vendors, it’s a complex picture with a lot of moving parts.”

Insights from The Imperative include the following:

  •     The designs and materials that make buildings stronger and more energy efficient are significantly more resistant to the penetration of radio and cellular signals. Outside towers alone cannot consistently penetrate inside a building to provide the necessary coverage.
  •     Nearly 80 percent of all wireless calls originate or terminate inside buildings. Most 911 calls are made inside buildings using mobile phones.
  •     The typical teenager with a smartphone possesses wireless communication abilities that are superior to today’s first responders.
  •     New in-building wireless networks based on DAS technology can be integrated with legacy public-safety networks and address the latter’s shortcomings.
  •     Because model codes from the International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are adopted at the state or local level, often with modifications, the opportunity for repeatable nationwide processes is problematic for indoor public safety solutions.
  •     Indoor public-safety communications is an “unfunded mandate” whose financial burden is typically absorbed by the venue owner.

Said Lori Blair, Vice President of DAS Solutions at Hutton Communications, Inc., “With 'The Imperative', our goal is to spark a discussion among all the parties involved: the public-safety community, building owners, the wireless industry and regulators.”

The Imperative addresses the following topics:

1.    The evolution of public-safety communications, including FirstNet, the national initiative for an interoperable public safety broadband network
2.    Understanding fire and building codes for public-safety communications that impact building owners, risk managers and property insurers and building occupants
3.    Fundamentals of public-safety and public cellular in-building wireless systems
4.    Funding and owning in-building public-safety networks

To receive a copy of The Imperative, visit SOLiD and Hutton at Booth #1709 at the APCO Annual Conference & Expo in Washington, DC or download at http://www.solid.com/imperative.

About SOLiD
SOLiD (http://www.solid.com) helps people stay connected and safe in a rapidly-changing world through a portfolio of RF Amplifier, RF Radio and Optical Transport solutions. SOLiD enables indoor and outdoor cellular and public-safety communications at some of the world’s best-known and most challenging venues including leading hospitals; professional, and college sports venues; government, university and Fortune 500 corporate buildings and campuses; international airports and metropolitan subways; and other high-profile sites. For further information on SOLiD DAS, Backhaul and Fronthaul solutions, go to http://www.solid.com or call 888-409-9997.

About Hutton Communications
Hutton Communications, Inc. established in 1967 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier distributor of commercial wireless communications products including site infrastructure, DAS solutions, microwave backhaul, two-way radio accessories and power systems. Hutton supplies products from over 125 quality manufacturers to radio communications dealers, wireless communications carriers, tower contractors, in-building integrators, value-added resellers and self-maintained end users of communications systems. With experienced sales teams, strong technical expertise, and rapid deployment from a network of strategic warehouses located across North America, Hutton provides local support and timely delivery to customer locations. For more information, visit, http://www.hol4g.com or call: (877) 648-8866.

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Mike Collado
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