Emergency communicationHigh altitude-based emergency communication system

Published 31 May 2012

Oceus Network will conduct a test of its emergency communication system in high altitude: it will place its 4G LTE Xiphos portable 4G LTE broadband network on a balloon which will carry Xiphos to near-space altitude; by placing an emergency communication system on an airborne platform, a zone of coverage is created to restore critical communications in the first hours after a catastrophic event

Reston, Virginia-based Oceus Networks the other day announced it will support the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consideration of the role of High Altitude Platforms in the national public safety network. Oceus says it will demonstrate the role of fourth generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) in a rapidly deployable aerial telecommunications architecture capable of providing immediate broadband communications to disaster areas. The broadband trial will begin this September.

“With this network, following major natural disasters or terrorist attacks, first responders can be provided the urgent communications capabilities they have wanted, but lacked,” said Douglas C. Smith, president and chief executive officer with Oceus Networks. “We are proud to be working with the FCC and other companies to support our public safety community in this manner. We applaud the Commission for exploring the role of High Altitude Platforms in the Notice of Inquiry that the FCC approved today.”

The rapidly deployable mobile network will be based on Oceus Networks’ 4G LTE Xiphos, a portable 4G LTE broadband networks that provide secure high-speed communications. When joined with an airborne platform, a zone of coverage is created to restore critical communications in the first hours after a catastrophic event.

Incorporating a variety of technologies, the trial will be conducted by having a high altitude balloon carry Xiphos to near-space altitude. Vent and ballast adjust flying the prevailing winds to move the balloon across and back through the area of operation. First responders on the ground will have access to the terrestrial network using LTE modems to the High Altitude Platform via the large footprint from the airborne cell and a microwave link.

The company notes that the interoperable solution will work within the First Responder Network Authority’s (FRNA) First NET architecture, which was established on 22 February 2012 with the passing of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. FRNA is as an independent authority established within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FirstNet’s role is to ensure the establishment of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.