For several years now, I’ve been expounding on the benefits of our public safety broadband network, FirstNet®. The FirstNet contract, as I’m sure you know by now, was awarded to AT&T for twenty-five years to build and maintain for public safety. This quantum leap in technology is changing how first responders communicate, respond, share data and protect themselves and the members of our collective communities.
This isn’t new information to anyone who provides emergency services. Here’s the new stuff. As we expected, innovation drives innovation. There have been hundreds of hardware / software applications developed and approved for use on FirstNet. But this one is way out there in what it brings to emergency services. I’m talking about High Powered User Equipment (HPUE), or the AT&T trademark version called MegaRange
and Airgain antenna-modem, AirgainConnect® AC-HPUE™
Airgain is not new to public safety—they’ve been helping us for over twenty-five years and all their Antenna Plus LTE products are optimized for LTE band 14 support (which is FirstNet). What is a new focus for them is their first and only HPUE antenna-modem.
I’d like to focus on their AirgainConnect AC-HPUE antenna-modem. It integrates a high-powered modem with a high-gain LTE, Wi-Fi, and GNSS antenna assembly. What does this mean to first responders? Well, have you ever been in a remote part of your response zone and lost connection? Or, have you been in your downtown area and lost connection in parking structures, under bridges or in tunnels? Those blank spots are greatly reduced by using this product.
For you techies out there, this is why MegaRange is so impressive. With HPUE you get a power class 1 that transmits up to 31dBm in band 14 (FirstNet) and at 1.26 watts, where conventional user equipment is used, a power class 3 that transmits up to 23dBm in all other bands and is at 0.2 watts. This increase, combined with a 2dB savings in cable loss from the patented antenna-modem, results in up to a 10x power increase which allows the coverage in the blank spots for the Airgain/FirstNet user. This has been confirmed in drive tests performed in multiple areas of the country. The antenna-modem is easily installed on a vehicle and without interfering with conventional antennas.
As a person who has spent a career in the Fire and Rescue service, I understand the value of communications and staying connected. MegaRange is the answer to our demand for more reliable connectivity.