Wireless Garland to grace police

Garland, Texas

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NexGen City

The Garland, Texas, police department will be the first users of a new wireless network for first responders that is able to transmit voice and data at least 20 times faster than the city's old network.

NexGen City LP developed the systems and network. The deployment of the NexLink solution will start with the city's 290 police officers, including the mobile data terminals in 80 squad cars.

City officials are starting with data on the new network, using it as part of the Computer Automated Dispatch system to transmit 911 calls, alarms, report management, graphics and mug shots to the mobile units, said Darrell McClanahan, Garland's telecommunications manager. Users will still have the same applications and interfaces, but the speed will change, he said.

The next step will be to add other public safety applications that require more bandwidth than the city's old 19.2 kilobits/sec Cellular Digital Packet Data network, he said.

"This is an important milestone in fulfilling our city's communications vision for a fully converged high-speed data, voice and video network over which police, fire, emergency medical personnel and, eventually, all city employees will be interconnected in real time," McClanahan said.

Instead of a traditional wireless network, the NexLink solution is a proprietary mesh-based network. It does not use the 802.11 standard but instead pushes data, voice over IP and streaming video through a series of network nodes that serve as repeaters and routers, achieving regular speeds of 1.5 megabits/sec, according to company officials.

NexGen City officials are also providing Garland with a network operations center to monitor the performance of the city's new network.

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