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Wireless in the District of Columbia: Public Safety and Public Access. Digital Cities Conference December 11, 2007. Wireless Broadband for Public Safety. Current Police Communications Platform. Mobile Data Terminal Limited throughput – non IP Centric $ 6,000.00. Stand alone

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wireless in the district of columbia public safety and public access

Wireless in the District of Columbia: Public Safety and Public Access

Digital Cities ConferenceDecember 11, 2007

wireless broadband for public safety
Wireless Broadband for Public Safety

Current Police Communications Platform

Mobile Data Terminal

Limited throughput – non IP Centric

$ 6,000.00

Stand alone

Land Mobile Radio

$ 4,200.00


The Future of Police – IP Centric Interoperability

Video Camera System

$ 1,500. 00


Mobile Data PC

$ 5,000.00

Rugged PDA


IP Based

Land Mobile Radio

IP Centric solution results in reduced costs and greater efficiency

getting there
Getting There


Commercial wireless data networks are inadequate for public safety:

  • Unreliable in emergencies
  • “Best effort” standard
  • Usage limits
  • Lower availability

Hurricane Katrina


Public safety grade reliability, end user dedication and control, and application flexibility.


enhancing the productivity of government
Enhancing the Productivity of Government

Fire/Permitting Inspection Reporting

Wireless Motor Vehicle-Criminal Database Research

Wireless Traffic Management

Transportation Services Enhanced for Vehicle Location and Service Routing

Wireless Connected Parking Meters

Wireless Ticketing Capabilities


Regional Wireless Broadband Network (RWBN)

  • Public safety 700 MHz high speed wireless network, built by the National Capital Region (NCR)
  • Attributes:
    • Covers 80-95% of the 69 square miles of the District (outdoor);
    • Dedicated Public Safety network – no contention with cellular or commercial users
    • Uses EVDO revision A, the same technology as Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, supports commercial roaming at 1.9 GHz.
    • Uplink rate -- 1.8 Mbps (peak) / 600 Kbps (average)
    • Downlink rate -- 3 Mbps (peak) / 1.2 Mbps (average)
    • Advanced security features including Quality of Service (QoS), DCWAN firewall protection, intranet access via static IP addresses, AAA access control, limited and known user base.
    • Recently received FCC authorization to operate in 700 MHz.
  • Status:
    • Deployment: 12 radio sites and core in the District of Columbia;
    • Devices: Currently, only PC cards; expect options to increase and prices to decrease as manufacturers prepare for 700 MHz commercial market.
    • Future Plans: Migrate WARN pilot network users (including Police, Fire and EMS, USSS, FBI, US Park Police, and others) onto RWBN, achieve network acceptance, obtain commercial roaming agreements, operate until subsumed into nationwide 700 MHz broadband network.
an organic hybrid approach with digital inclusion benefits

Wireless Broadband Access for the Public

An Organic-Hybrid Approach with Digital Inclusion Benefits
  • A substantial problem for major city wireless efforts is funding the initial investment required for deployment.
  • Organic network growth is viral, spreading the cost of deployment broadly among user-participants.
  • Viral growth can be uncoordinated, poorly suited to revenue generation.
  • Digital inclusion programs typicallyrely upon subsidies for services and equipment for low-income residents.
  • Hybrid approach could be coordinated,using revenues generated by the organic, grass-roots network to subsidize services and equipment.
city as participant not owner
City as Participant, Not Owner
  • The city could jump-start an organic network by being a major participant, sharing hotspots with the public and helping to market the network.
  • The city could encourage participation by sharing fiber backhaul—and perhaps ISP services—with network users, just as a café might share its DSL line and Internet access.
  • The city could also ease participation by allowing participants to hang access points on city assets.
non governmental administrator
Non-Governmental Administrator
  • A non-governmental organization could administer the network.
  • The administrator could be responsible for:
    • Technology: preferred network design (for efficient infrastructure placement), capture portal, authentication, network monitoring, network standards
    • Marketing: recruiting participants, advertising the network, selling ad space, obtaining discounts on equipment and services for participants
    • Digital Inclusion: using advertisingrevenues to drive the network into underserved areas, providing training, hardware.
  • Administrator could out-sourceas necessary.
three layers to an organic network
Three Layers to an Organic Network

(1) City nodes: City-owned point-to-multipoint nodes tethered to city fiber, may include hotspot functionality.

(2) Private nodes: Point-to-multipoint nodes with hotspot functionality, deployed by businesses, neighborhood groups, and individuals, pursuant to Administrator’s design.

(3) Organic mesh: Affordable, residential-grade 802.11b/g access points/repeaters mesh to grow the network organically and share resources.

Participants could connect the network to the Internet at any/all of these layers, if permitted by ISP-Subscriber Agreements.

organic hybrid open source pilot
Organic-Hybrid, Open Source Pilot
  • The District of Columbia will build a small pilot to test this organic-hybrid approach using non-proprietary equipment and open source software at both the node and residential layers.
    • Open source allows wider choice of equipment, easing participation in the network for businesses and residents.
    • Open source spurs innovation among users, including local students developing technical skills and capabilities.
  • Pilot to start at neighborhood scale, testing both the technology as well as the social aspects of this approach.