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GCN : November 2012
26 GCN NOVEMBER 2012 • GCN.COM As part of their secu- rity operations for the Republican National Convention in August, police in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla., used a first-of-its-kind cellular network dedicated to law en- forcement. The network was a demon- stration project for the proposed National Public Safety Broad- band Network, which would use the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard to provide interoper- able voice, video and data com- munications for first responders. LTE is a standard for wireless high-speed data communication for mobile phones and data ter- minals. The Federal Communications Commission granted special temporary authority for the net- work, which was built by Cisco, Raytheon, Nokia Siemens Net- works, Reality Mobile and Am- docs. "This has been a real eye- opener for what the future holds," said Sgt. Dale Moushon, commander of the St. Petersburg Police Department's intelligence unit, which used the network for crowd control and surveillance during the convention. Officers on the streets were able to use iPhones for encrypted voice and data and to stream vid- eo over a cellular network that was not available to the public. The use by police of off-the-shelf cellular devices is not new, but cell phones rely on commercial carrier networks that lack secu- rity and police have to compete with the public for access during times of high traffic volume. "During large-scale events we have difficulty using our cell phones because of congestion on the network," Moushon said. Because the RNC demo network did not use a commercial car- rier and was dedicated to police there was no congestion, mak- ing advanced services available for mission-critical communica- tions. "That was absolutely huge for us," he said. The need for such a network that could allow roaming and interoperability between juris- dictions and departments on a national scale has been appar- ent since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The FCC has set aside spec- trum for it in the 700 MHz band and the National Telecommuni- GOALS: Test of first-of-its-kind advanced cellular network for security operations at the Republican National Convention in August in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. TACTICS: LTE transceivers mounted on St. Petersburg Police Department towers. When iPhones could not connect with the 700 MHz system, pocket-sized MiFi wireless routers used as a stopgap. TOOLS: The 700 MHz LTE network was built using Cisco's LTE packet core, Unified Communications applications, IP routing and switching, and cyber security. Nokia Siemens Networks pro- vided the LTE radio access network. The National Public Safety Broadband Network undergoes 'eye opening' real-world test of next generation cellular technology HOW MOBILE LTE MADE ITS CASE AT THE GOP CONVENTION CASE STUDY