Alaska’s Wireless Net Built For Emergency
A unique partnership between federal, state and local government agencies in Alaska helped build the Alaska Land Mobile Radio (ALMR) system, a new $120 million wireless network for emergency communications. The system uses emerging IP-based standards to give federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, all state agencies, and local police and fire departments a common communications infrastructure.
The P25-compliant system has four components: Highway coverage, which includes the installation of fixed wireless assets including towers and antennas to cover highways; in-building coverage, including federal buildings, airports, hospitals, and tunnels; gateways for legacy radio systems as well as maritime and cellular systems that do not support P25; and transportable systems, which can provide emergency communications beyond the fixed wireless infrastructure, replace a system that has failed, or provide additional capacity.
ALMR, which currently has 9,000 users and has room for 5,000 more, has already been used in military exercises and real-world operations.
In December 2004, a task force in Valdez, Alaska, used the system to protect the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system–an operation that involved officials from the FBI, the Alaska National Guard, the Alaska State Police, and Valdez police, fire, and emergency response, among others. “The after-action report was excellent,” said Tim Woodall, ALMR program manager for the Defense Department in Alaska. “The system provided secure, on-demand communications.”
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Network World (08/22/06); Marsan, Carolyn Duffy.