Vegas police go with IP-based wireless net

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

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Officials from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) have awarded an $8.9 million contract to M/A-COM to implement a wireless, IP-based communications network in the city within two years.

M/A-COM, which is a business unit of Tyco Electronics, will deploy a private 700/800 MHz OpenSky network infrastructure for voice and data communications for the 2,000-member department. Over the next couple of years, a number of other agencies will be migrating onto the network, which can be expanded to accommodate up to 12,000 users.

Currently, departmental officers, whose jurisdiction includes Las Vegas and Clark County, are using an aged VHF conventional system, originally sold by Motorola, although they have upgraded their equipment using M/A-COM repeaters, according to David Bremson, M/A-COM’s area sales manager, in an e-mail message. They are also operating a mobile data system that will be integrated into the new OpenSky system, which will provide the “over-the-air portion of the data solution at much higher speeds than the old system,” he wrote.

The OpenSky network will also include several features providing internal redundancy, he wrote. This includes a high-availability network switching center that will allow for two completely redundant computer switches. The center, he added, will eventually be geographically separated.

During implementation, Bremson said, one network switching center will be located in an M/A-COM facility to ease accessibility and maintenance and provide a backup to the other network switching center, which will be placed at the metropolitan police department’s communications headquarters. M/A-COM’s facility will be placed in a remote location as a possible backup emergency operations center.

The new network will also allow interoperable communications with three other major public safety networks operating in the state, he wrote. They include:

• The Nevada Shared Radio System (NSRS) – an M/A-COM Enhanced Digital Access Communications System (EDACS) 800 MHz trunked system operational since the mid-1990s – that is used by the state’s transportation department, highway patrol, Nevada Power Company, Sierra Power Company, Nevada Taxi Cab Authority Police and University of Nevada, Las Vegas police.

• Another M/A-COM EDACS 800 MHz trunked system used by the Washoe County Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies and fire departments.

• The Southern Nevada Area Communications Council, which is a Motorola SmartZone trunked system which covers most of Clark County and is primarily used by the county’s fire department.

“The LVMPD system will provide for network interoperability to NSRS and the user equipment, being based on multi-mode, software defined radios, will be capable of supporting OpenSky, EDACS and P25 (Project 25 radio communications interoperability standards) if necessary, giving street level interoperability to LVMPD officers throughout the state,” Bremson wrote.

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