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Communication is essential to keeping projects and workers safe while on the job. Radios are depended on for communication when things turn sour.
How Radios increase safety with special features

Fireman uses radio during emergency at night

Bi-Directional Amplifiers and Distributed Antenna Systems

By Safety, Bi-Directional Amplifiers

All Points Wireless provides Custom-designed, Bi-Directional Amplifier and Distributed Antenna Systems to extend coverage range for each unique environment.

A Safety BDA-DAS in your facility helps ensure that first responders remain in contact with each other during an emergency. All Points Wireless offers consultation and evaluation for all your coverage challenges and provides custom design services and expert level code compliance. Many localities now require Public Safety BDA-DAS installations within new buildings, and as part of renovation permits or inspection certifications.

Installing Bi-Directional Amplifiers and Distributed Antenna Systems is not only beneficial for first responders in emergency situations, they are also important communication tools that improve productivity and safety for maintenance, engineering, operations, and security teams.

Radio technician installing Antenna dish on rooftop

All Points Wireless can help amplify Public Safety communication through BDA-DAS Solutions

There are two types of bi-directional amplifiers: One for two-way radios and another for cellular phones. Public safety bi-directional amplifiers for two-way radio systems and a BDA intended for cellular phone usage cannot be interchanged. All Points Wireless provides a variety of bi-directional amplifier and distributed antenna systems to extend coverage range. Every BDA-DAS solution is custom-designed for each unique environment.

Variables such as building materials, dead spots, and signal interference offer specific challenges and All Points Wireless has extensive experience deploying in-building wireless systems to meet nearly any operating conditions.

Public Safety BDA and DAS Solutions

After the tragic events of 9/11, many localities enacted ordinances making it mandatory to meet wireless signal strength standards on first responder frequencies. Most public safety radios operate on 450 MHz, 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands.

To match wireless coverage code, many jurisdictions require Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDA) within a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). These signal boosters distribute Radio Frequency (RF) throughout a structure.

Radio technician assembling antenna inside his truck

Benefits of Public Safety BDA/DAS Solutions

A Public Safety BDA/DAS in your facility helps ensure that first responders remain in contact with each other during an emergency — even in challenging areas such as stairwells, underground tunnels, parking garages, and pump rooms.

Boosting radio signals not only increases safety for first responders, it also helps public safety professionals better serve building occupants and visitors.

Signal Booster Code Requirements

In-building signal coverage statutes are based on standards set by organizations such as:

  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): NFPA 72 Chapter 24 code requires 90 percent in-building two-way radio signal coverage, which jumps to 99 percent for critical areas like fire pump rooms, exit stairs and passageways, and elevator lobbies.
  • International Fire Code (IFC): IFC-510 code requires 95 percent in-building wireless signal coverage with a minimum signal strength of -95 dB.
  • FCC13-21: Part 90 regulations describe requirements for signal boosters for Public Safety and private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) service operations.

Complying with wireless signal code improves personal safety, minimizes the risk of property damage and reduces the possibility of legal liability.

Defining Cellular BDA & DAS Systems

Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs) are signal boosters that sustain wireless communications throughout a facility. One type of BDA is designed for cellular devices and another kind is for two-way radios. A cell signal booster will not increase two-way radio coverage, so it is best to install each as a separate system. BDAs operate within a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), and together, BDA/DAS equipment is often referred to as in-building signal boosters.All Points Wireless provides custom-designed, bi-directional amplifier and distributed antenna systems to extend coverage range for each unique environment.

Benefitting either Radio or Cellular Systems

Most facilities have lots of of people going in and out every day, from employees and visitors to customers and clients to maintenance workers and security.

Many of these people use cellular devices, which increases the need for added signal coverage. In addition, challenging areas such as stairwells, parking garages, tunnels, and underground floors may not offer any reception at all.

That’s why many facilities install Distributed Antenna Systems and Bi-Directional Amplifiers to boost wireless coverage so people can stay in touch, every day.

View of a large orange antenna from the ground

Why Do You Need BDA & DAS Equipment?

When communication comes to a halt, visitors and staff in your facility not only get frustrated – more importantly, they may be cut-off from help in an emergency. Cell signals often diminish from network overload in a crisis and signal boosters can help sustain coverage.

All Points Wireless also provides BDA-DAS solutions to boost reception for phones and other devices that operate on cellular carrier networks.

In-Building Solutions

Variables such as building materials, dead spots, and signal interference offer specific challenges. All Points Wireless has extensive experience deploying in-building wireless signal boosters to meet nearly any operating conditions.

Police officer utilizing a P25 radio

Introduction to P25 Radio Standard (Project 25)

By Safety, Education

What Is P25?

Project 25 (P25) is a suite of standards developed to provide digital voice and data communication systems suited to public safety and first responders. Project 25 was initiated by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, or APCO. APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals.

Since 1935, APCO International have run a series of projects aimed at solving unique problems telecommunications professionals encounter. Project 25 concerns the development of a standard for digital radio equipment embracing the public safety-focused features of interoperability, spectrum efficiency, and cost economies.

An important feature of P25 is that the development is user-driven. The needs of public safety professionals are paramount. Project 25 is not finished, as the standards are constantly being enhanced and refined as new requirements are identified.

Public safety vehicle

Another key aspect of P25 is the importance of migration strategies and backwards compatibility with existing equipment. Digital P25 radios even include an analog mode of operation that is compatible with existing FM radio equipment.

The Telecommunications Industry Association, or TIA, formulates and maintains the TIA-102 series of standards for APCO P25, on behalf of APCO International.

The Project 25 standards enable interoperability among multiple manufacturers of P25 products. This results in a greater range of products, both mobile and portable radios used by front line staff and also the network equipment, stored on hilltops and in dispatch centers.

Multiple manufacturers allow for price competition, both during the initial tender for a new radio system and throughout the life of the system as it’s expanded and maintained. It also allows for different agencies to communicate together, even if they’ve purchased their P25 equipment from different vendors.

Police Officer utilizing P25 radio to call in the arrest of a perpetrator

P25 Pros and Cons:

1) Open Standards:

P25 is an open standard, and this provides choice and price competition. An open standard also means interoperability. This is the ability for different vendors’ radio equipment to work together, but it also means that different agencies and teams can communicate.

2) Price Competition:

 Having a range of vendors to choose from results in price competition, both at the time a new network is installed, and throughout the life of the system as it expands or parts get replaced.

3) Migration path:

Phase 1 P25 digital radios included an analog FM mode of operation, allowing communication with older analog FM radios. This allowed P25 to be rolled out in a staged process. Perhaps the network equipment was upgraded first, and mobiles and portables rolled out later, or vice-versa.

4) Frequency efficient:

One of the benefits of moving to digital is frequency efficiency. The IRF spectrum was getting very full, and digital allowed more radio channels to be made available in the same physical location. P25 Phase 1 uses the same bandwidth as narrow band analog FM channel. P25 Phase 2 will be twice efficient as P25 Phase 1 because it uses TDMA.

5) Frequency re-use:

 P25 equipment is available in many different frequency bands including VHF, UHF, 700 and 800 MHz bands. Because P25 occupies the same bandwidth as a narrow band FM radio channel, many agencies can keep their existing radio channels, and simply upgrade their equipment to P25. Alternatively, if a new radio system is being deployed, there is a large amount of flexibility to choose the frequency band that best suits the requirements of the new network.

6) Digital radio standard:

This means you get the benefits of digital audio quality. An analog FM radio system will sound more noisy and distorted, the further away from the repeater that you move. P25 digital radio systems can be designed so that within the normal operating area of the system, the audio quality is maintained at the same high level.

7) Encryption:

One of the key requirements is to encrypt communications, so it cannot be intercepted by a third party. This is crucial for police and tactical teams, where interception of their communications could give away their position. It’s also very important for health professionals, where medical records or medical data has to be transmitted over the air to the front line responding staff.

8) P25 Features and Services:

Many of the features and services provided by P25 are direct replacements for existing features used by public safety professionals on their existing radio network. This means that there is no change to standard operating procedures and very limited retraining on the new equipment for staff.

Front view of man engineer with walkie talkie standing on construction site.

New Features with P25

P25 offers many new features to meet the evolving and changing needs of public safety agencies, such as the ability to carry IP data for advanced data applications, and support for GPS and location services, enhancing user safety by being able to immediately locate them in an emergency situation.

Another benefit of P25 is that it can be designed and deployed in a number of different configurations. To meet the end user needs, P25 supports simplex radio to radio operation, repeaters for expanded coverage, wide area voted or Simulcast systems, trunked operations, and can interface to a wide range of dispatcher solutions, voice recorders, and other third party applications, such as location services.