TETRA transport trial completed

Tuesday, 01 November, 2011

Alcatel-Lucent and PowerTrunk have completed a trial of a TETRA/LMR network with New Jersey Transit in Newark.

This is believed to be the first TETRA trial in the US and demonstrates the multiple features and functionality of TETRA technology, as well as specialised TETRA-enabled applications.

TETRA, a digital trunked mobile radio standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), is widely deployed by public-safety agencies, utilities and transport companies outside North America with 2000 contracts in place in more than 100 countries.

The trial enabled NJ Transit buses to communicate, using voice and data, with operations personnel. The current network limits available data bandwidth and is not spectrally efficient.

The trial provided higher data bandwidth and 6.25 kHz voice equivalency that will meet future FCC narrow-banding requirements.

Covering a service area of 8570 km2, NJ Transit is the nation’s largest statewide transport system, providing bus, rail and light rail transit linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. The agency operates a fleet of 2027 buses, 711 trains and 45 light rail vehicles. Its 240 bus routes and 12 rail lines take passengers on over 223 million trips each year.

“This is the first TETRA trial in the United States and the only one that uses equipment certified by the FCC,” said Jose Martin, chief operating officer of PowerTrunk.

“The existing Transit communications backbone enabled us to efficiently and smoothly reconfigure the network to support TETRA,” said Nicola Guidara, director of transportation market segment for Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas region.

Alcatel-Lucent served as the primary network integrator for the trial. PowerTrunk-T provided base stations, mobiles, hand portables, a line dispatcher and a switch to integrate a legacy VHF system.

In addition, the network is integrated to an existing CAD system and a PowerTrunk PABX/PSTN gateway allows full duplex cellular-like communications between cell phones and PowerTrunk radios.

PowerTrunk has received authorisation from the FCC and Industry Canada for its TETRA base station repeater as well as for a subscriber unit and a mobile unit. These units are currently being piloted in the demonstration.

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