Comm - seperate & dedicated bands for voice, data and video - Any thoughts?
First, I am not a first responder; my observations are from an technology outsider who follows the Public Safety sector and is aware of recurring communication problems. Please share your opinions and recommendation or critique my idea, from your point of view.
The existing Public Safety band is very congested and getting worse. Two very significant contributors to that are; (1) the always growing number of "voice" radio users, and (2) the rapidly growing use of "data" and "video" technology. The communications failures during Hurricane Andrew, 9/11, and Katrina (among others) exposed a variety of problems of which one very significant one was the fact that "ALL" first responders communication was lost, i.e. voice, data, video. I will focus on the following reasons, although there may be more; today, voice, data & video are all sharing the same congested Public Safety band (800MHz) and the same physical infrastructure (towers, back-up systems, etc). Therefore, if a radio tower site goes down or looses power, all communication is gone. If it's not this, it may be that signal noise and interference, caused by the saturated/busy pipeline makes communication extremely difficult.
So, why not assign these 3 technologies their own, separate spectrum/band? Why not build a dedicated, optimized wireless "DATA" network? Why not do the same for "video"? Why not take data and video off the existing Public Safety pipeline to increase the available bandwidth for "VOICE" communication? Adopting such a strategy will enable much needed redundancy, since the probability of 3 separate infrastructures going down at the same time is lower, as compare to today's scenario. Also, if "voice" (the most real-time communication form) is lost or diminished, we can rely on the "data" network to offer near real-time communication, while it continues to provide its other vital functions, i.e. CAD, AVL, web access, e-mail, Instant Messeging, Telemetry applications, etc. Also, the technology characteristics, technical infrastructures and deployment requirements are different enough to justify the separation, from a cost, reliability and productivity view point. For example, a single channel/single base station for "voice" communication can support several hundred (ex. 400) users. Contrast that with a single channel/single base station for "data" communication, which can suport several thousands (ex. 4000) users.
Enough from me. What do you think?