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By Gislene D. Weig
Power & Communication Article Use Policy
We all think we can't live without our wireless, but it's not a stretch to say that at some point you or someone you know will need wireless to live. That's because emergency first-responders rely on radio coverage to do their jobs. Due to recent initiatives by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC), officials recognize this and new ordinances are being enacted throughout the country. Already more than 150 municipalities are requiring proper coverage for public safety to ensure that new construction includes adequate radio coverage for public safety RF (radio frequency) signals. If a facility manager is unaware or unprepared, it can result in delays and cost overruns. For some, a distributed antenna system, or DAS, is the solution.
More than 400,000 wireless 911 calls are made every day, according to CTIA. The majority of these emergency calls rely on wireless service provided by AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and other carriers to complete the calls. But emergency responders rely on land mobile radio systems to communicate and coordinate response efforts. Without proper radio coverage in buildings, these communications cannot go through, potentially costing lives. As a result, government bodies are seeking radio coverage for major new construction.
The challenge facility managers face is that different municipalities have different requirements and the intricacies of RF design is not as straightforward as telecommunication design (like local area network design). During a building's design phase, materials are often selected to be energy efficient, but these materials often act as a shield that RF can't penetrate.
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