February 2017 Newsletter

February 2017

Winbourne Consulting offers a full range of public safety services, including strategic planning, systems integration, specifications development, solution acquisition, and implementation project management and quality assurance.

Our Areas of Expertise encompass all segments of Public Safety, including:

  • PSAP Consolidation
  • NextGen/911 Strategic Planning and Implementation
  • Public Safety Communications and Telephony
  • Public Safety Applications and Systems Requirements and Implementation Support
  • Mission Critical Facilities Design and Fit-Out
  • 311 Call Centers and Implementation
  • PSAP Staffing and Operations Analysis

Our Clients include city, county, state, and federal agencies located throughout the United States and the world, as well as countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America.


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In-Building Wireless Distributed Antenna Systems


During any emergency, it is paramount that first responders can communicate with one another. Yet as clear as this imperative is, the reality is that public-safety communications faces challenges, particularly inside buildings having certain characteristics.


Wireless indoor coverage has always been a challenge since radio signals loose strength as they encounter physical obstacles. The challenge is also increased due to the increasing use of energy efficient building materials, which have an even great negative impact on Radio Frequency.


Blocked radio reception is a particular problem for first responders, who depend on unobstructed communication to ensure the safety of themselves and others in emergency situations. There needs to be communications with other individuals within a building, since those persons may need to be notified of an incident or they may need to call for help. First responders may not be aware of these occupant situations without communications within the building. The events of 9/11 highlighted the need for reliable radio coverage in large buildings. To date, at least 30 states have adopted or will soon adopt codes that apply to first responder coverage. With the enactment of IFC 510 in 2009, the fire code was updated with suggested jurisdictional guidelines regarding emergency responder radio coverage.


In addition, indoor wireless devices, whether WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular or Land Mobile Radio (LMR), have become pervasive, and it is imperative that first responders have the capability to track indoor location accurately in case of emergencies. This fact was recognized by the FCC when it adopted new 911 rules designed to bolster indoor location accuracy information from wireless devices.


Since the 80’s, cellular communications within a building has been a problem. In 1987, a paper by Saleh et al.1 described using a Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) as a solution to this problem. A DAS replaces a single antenna radiating at high power with a network of spatially separated antenna transmitting at low power to cover the same area. The idea works due to the fact that less power is wasted in line of sight penetration and shadow losses from a single antenna, and because the line of sight channel exists from multiple locations it leads to less fade depth and reduced signal spread. This applies to both cellular and LMR communications that support public safety first responders.


DAS may be installed as a passive system or an active system. A passive DAS system makes use of a Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) or transmitter connected to a passive network of splitters and coax. An active system uses optical fiber to transfer signals between a head-end and remote nodes located throughout a building or group of buildings.


Passive DAS system usually have a donor antenna, coax from the donor antenna to the BDA (or Base Station transmitter), the BDA/Repeater, more coaxial cable runs with splitters, couplers and taps and multiple indoor antennas. Active DAS systems usually have a signal source a BDA or Base Station Transmitter, as the passive system, however, the remainder of the system uses active components to distribute the RF signal. The active system make use of a head-end RF Conditioner and Optical base, multiple fiber optic cables and fiber remotes, coax, splitters, couplers, taps and indoor antennas. The active DAS solution makes use of fiber optic cable due to the very low loss over long distances.


A passive DAS (with BDA) is best for smaller buildings (typically less than 100,000 square feet) that may cover multiple floors. An active DAS allows for co-existence between cellular channels and public safety radio channels and is much more scalable to accommodate large facilities, even if the structure is millions of square feet. An active DAS will allow for future expansion, adding new frequency bands and carriers without having to add more cable and remote antennas.


Whether an active or passive DAS system is used, the facility must also have all critical areas defined. Normally these critical areas include Emergency egress or exit pathways, Fire and Pump Control rooms, and any other areas as designated by the Fire Department or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).


Communication equipment vendors now deliver products and services that can provide robust in-building wireless solutions serving wireless digital devices, cellular smartphones and P25 Radio that are changing communications in public safety and cellular networks alike. Public Safety agencies as well as building owners and property managers must look to adopt and implement not only the prevailing building and fire codes; but implement in-building wireless systems that enhance public safety inside their buildings.


For additional information please contact Winbourne Consulting at info@winbourneconsulting.com


*1 - A. A. M. Saleh, A. J. Rustako and R. S. Roman, Distributed Antennas for Indoor Radio Communications, IEEE Transactions on Communications., vol. 35, pp. 1245-1251, Dec. 1987


Recommended white paper “In-Building Wireless and Public Safety Imperative”™ SOLID 2015


“Best Practices for In-Building Communications” Appendices A through E, National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), In-Building Working Group, Nov. 12, 2007



Winbourne Happenings


Winbourne Consulting recently received a contract through Clark Nexsen to develop a migration plan and coordinate the migration of technology and operations into the city of Chesapeake, Virginia’s new Public Safety Operations Building.


Winbourne Consulting participated in 911 Goes to Washington (911GTW) on Feb 27th and 28th. Lisa Madden, Winbourne’s VP of NG911 and FirstNet, represented iCERT on a panel discussing the NG911NOW Coalition.


Winbourne Consulting was recently awarded a contract to support the technology portion of the new Palo Alto Public Safety Building Program. We will be working with the Architect, RossDrulisCusenbury on this project.


Winbourne Consulting will be participating in an NG911 NOW Town Hall discussion at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) on March 28th in Las Vegas.

Lisa Madden, Winbourne VP of NG911 and FirstNet, will be representing iCERT in a panel which will be focused on the efforts of the NG911 NOW Coalition to accelerate the deployment of NG911 across the country.


Industry Events




May 16 & 17 | Washington DC

APCO’s 2017 Broadband Summit will be held May 16-17 in Washington, DC. The annual event provides a forum for technology experts, policy leaders, industry partners, wireless service providers, and public safety professionals to discuss timely issues affecting the deployment of the FirstNet nationwide public safety broadband network.



June 3-6 | San Antonio, Texas

No matter what your role is in public safety, NENA's Annual Conference & Expo delivers the education, resources, and contacts you need to be better equipped to do your job and actively prepare for the road ahead. Featuring inspiring keynote speakers, dozens of education and training sessions designed to inform and empower, comprehensive full-day and multi-day courses and workshops with real-world applications, unparalleled opportunities to network with peers and make the right connections, and an expo hall showcasing cutting-edge products and services, this is the must-attend event of the year for today’s emergency communications professional.


Articles of Interest


Standard for Exchange of Emergency Data Approved

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International received approval from the American National Standards Institute for an American National Standard that identifies standard specifications for the exchange of emergency data. The Emergency Incident Data Document provides standardized industry-neutral National Information Exchange Model conformant specifications for exchanging emergency incident information to agencies and regions that implement next-generation 9-1-1 and IP-based emergency communications systems.



GCNGetting Roads Ready for Connected, Autonomous Vehicles

The Federal Highway Administration issued new guidelines to help state and local government agencies understand and prepare for the technology that will enable connected and autonomous vehicles. Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Guidance and Products provides city and state transportation planners with information about deploying and integrating V2I communications.



National Report Finds Most 9-1-1 Calls Are Wireless, NG 9-1-1 Deployment Moves Forward

A total of 46 states and territories provided data to the National 911 Program and National Association of State 911 Administrators to measure and report their progress in implementing advanced 9-1-1 systems using innovative technology and operations. The respondent number is an increase from 42 states in 2015. In addition, progress is being made toward implementing next-generation 9-1-1. Many states are now developing either statewide or regional emergency service IP networks that PSAPs and 9-1-1 authorities can access.