Best PUBLIC SAFETY ERRCS & Cellular Solutions
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EMERGENCY RESPONDER RADIO COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (ERRCS)
An Emergency Responder Radio Communication System (ERRCS) has become a required in-building network in many municipalities around the country. The requirements for such systems are typically outlined by an entity called the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” or AHJ. The AHJ is typically the local Fire Marshall and is the first contact point for anyone attempting to acquire information about the local code requirements.
An ERRCS looks much like an Over-the-Air Cellular DAS in some respects it uses a donor antenna to receive the radio signals from the local first responder network – signals that operate on private frequencies. These signals are then re-amplified in the building at the required locations.
The actual system requirements will vary by municipality. This will mandate what frequencies need to operate inside the building (800/700 MHz but occasionally VHF and UHF frequencies) and at what locations and strength. There will typically be system-testing requirements to get an initial permit and an annual maintenance contract required to ensure the system remains operational.
After contacting the AHJ, the next step in the process is usually a site survey to provide baseline readings of the signal strength at the property – assuming the property is in some stage of construction. This will allow for a preliminary evaluation of the possible need for an ERRCs so that horizontal and vertical cable paths and/or conduit can be identified and installed. Once the building’s outer skin is up, a second site survey will determine the necessity of the ERRCS and identify areas of the building that require a network of antennas.
Without one or more site surveys it is impossible to determine whether all or only some part of a building actually needs an ERRCS.
Building owners, property managers, and enterprise customers have a number of options when there’s a cellular coverage problem. Traditionally so-called Active Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) were the only alternative for many customers. These systems are expensive and take months to deploy, although for customers with capacity issues (think football stadium) it is the preferred solution.
For most customers, a Passive DAS fed by either an over-the-air donor antenna or a “Small Cell” from each carrier is a much more cost-effective and simple solution to deploy.
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