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Get the Lights & Sirens to Cop Themselves On!

May 8, 2011

Nancy Jesuale gave a great presentation at IEEE DySPAN 2011. It was very well thought out and reasoned. It was a policy paper looking at spectrum pooling in the D-Block for a mix of emergency and commercial uses. The paper has the very short title of  Lights and Sirens – How Spectrum Pooling, Cognitive Radio, and Dynamic Prioritization Modeling can Empower Emergency Communications , Restore Sanity and Save Billions.

I totally agree with Nancy that the idea of a completely separate network for emergency services is neither economically feasible nor sensible.  One fact I thought was completely eye-opening in the presentation was the fact that there are that there are only about 10,000 devices per million of population attributable to public safety in the USA. This is amazingly low and really drives home the point about the lack of need for a separate network.

Nancy presents three examples of spectrum usage in this context.  In normal circumstances the demand from the public safety would be limited but she also presents middle and worse case scenarios. The audience thought these were over pessimistic in terms of the demand that would be placed on the commercial spectrum by the public safety services but Nancy felt it best to consider the pessimistic situation in order to sell the idea and I agree.  For some reason I had missed that the technology of choice for public safety in the USA is LTE. This kind of changing availability of spectrum would be so easy to handle in an LTE context. There are plenty of technology solutions that could be brought to bear on spectrum pooling approaches. Though Nancy focuses on the policy issues, it would be great to work through the details of a technical solution to this. In any case the paper is well worth a read.

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