Parallel Wireless was tasked to provide LTE Band 14 coverage in Galveston Bay and at Disaster City at Texas A&M-College Station. This exercise supports the FirstNet vision. Allied parties were to provide LTE network elements including EPC and backhaul.

Winter Institute – Disaster City, Galveston, TX – November 2-6, 2015

SCENARIO

A common LTE Band 14 network was required to supports rescue exercises at two sites:

  1. On land at the EOC at Disaster City at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas and
  2. Shipboard 15 miles offshore in the Gulf by Galveston on Coast Guard and Houston PD vessels.

SUMMARY

This demonstration required a project manager and close coordination between participants. Typical to actual disasters, planning began immediately as vendors and agencies arrived on scene. All parties had collaborated prior to arrival at the event.

Parallel Wireless came equipped to survive three layers of fallback from the intended plan, and to meet the coverage goals if no support or backhaul was available. Briefly, Parallel Wireless was able to transit the network as intended and reach the exercises’ EPC. When the event network failed, Parallel Wireless’ flexible backhaul-enabled RAN, Converged Wireless System (CWS), used carrier LTE and satellite for backhaul. When the partner’s EPC failed due to power outage, Parallel Wireless operated a standalone EPC to create a Band 14 bubble in the Gulf. The Texas National Guard provided dependable satellite backhaul, power, hydraulic lift, and showed disaster tested problem solving abilities.

CONCLUSION

Resilience demands coordination, public AND private backhaul AND redundant EPCs at the core.

INTERFERENCE CHALLENGES

Parallel Wireless and EPC/RAN vendor #2 both planned coverage at Galveston and Disaster City (where Harris County public safety footprint overlaps too). Parallel Wireless’ HetNet Gateway (HNG) was prepared to manage eNodeB on the X2 interface. X2 was not available from RAN vendor #2. Mitigation was not required as vendor #2 RAN did not broadcast.

ARCHITECTURE

Galveston

Coast Guard vessel, Gulf of Mexico (29.1654, -94.6293)

  • Base Stations: Parallel Wireless CWS-205 eNodeB (1 watt)
  • Access: Private Band 14/D-Block (758-763 and 788-793 MHz). MIMO omni antennas. Wi-Fi access was also provided.
  • Backhaul: Carrier LTE Bands 4 and 2; 1200 sector antenna
  • Handsets: Sonim Technologies XP7 with MutuaLink EDGE media share application

Disaster City / College Station

Emergency Operations Center, Disaster City (30.5750, -96.3498)

  • Base Stations: Parallel Wireless CWS-110 eNodeB
  • Access: Private Band 14 15.3 dBd dual polarized panel antennas. Wi-Fi access was also provided.
  • Backhaul: Wired Ethernet via Texas A&M University network. Mesh and carrier LTE served as backup backhaul options.
  • Handsets: Sonim Technologies XP7 with MutuaLink EDGE media share application

INGRESS

IP-67 – extended exposure to outdoor / weather elements (including salt water). No cooling or other supporting units were required.

PARTNER SCENARIOS

Parallel Wireless planned a primary scenario and two backup scenarios. All were implemented:

  • Plan A: Gulf off of Galveston, TX – Parallel Wireless’ mobile RAN was planned to tap into EPC from vendor #2 via public Internet backhaul
  • Plan B: If vendor #1 EPC is inaccessible, Parallel Wireless’ CWS will tap into the EPC at Parallel Wireless headquarters in Nashua, NH
  • Plan C: If backhaul is not provided, Parallel Wireless will backhaul via carrier LTE or employ Parallel Wireless’ on-site EPC.

PARTICIPANTS

 

Texas A&M University (TAMU) – Winter Institute exercise manager; provided backhaul links at Disaster City

Parallel Wireless – solution integrator / orchestrator; RAN provider at Disaster City; standalone EPC offshore

Texas National Guard – provided power, satellite backhaul, and hydraulic lift as well as installation assistance

 

Sonim Technologies – Band 14 handset provider at both locations

Houston Police Department Maritime Unit – served as distress vessel off of Galveston

US Coast Guard – rescue vessel carried Parallel Wireless eNodeBs 15 miles offshore from Galveston to locate vessel in distress

MutuaLink – PTT interoperability across exercise LTE networks and LMR on all handsets