Wireless Emergency Service Network
ITS Technology Group in partnership with Computacenter (UK) were contracted to provide a high capacity wireless IP communications infrastructure for South Wales Fire & Rescue Service (SWF&R), connecting up 51 SWF&R locations to the Headquarters in Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The main Customer requirements of the solution were:
- Ability to carry IP voice, IP data and video traffic between existing premises.
- Solution readily upgradeable, allowing for future growth.
- To provide a minimum 10Mbps FD bandwidth to all whole time and day crewed stations and 2Mbps FD to retained stations at a contention ratio of not more than 3:1
- To reduce existing revenue (leased line, Metro VPN and ISDN) costs
- To deliver solution in line with SWF&R strategic objective “providing our people with the information, systems and technology they require to undertake their jobs”
The network was designed using a mix of licensed and light-licensed wireless technology; and used Cisco layer 3 devices to provide the routing.
In order to keep deployment costs to a minimum and facilitate public sector resource sharing and revenue savings moving forward, the final solution included ‘aggregation’ over both ITS’s own infrastructure in Rhondda Cynon Taf and in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The network spans 10 Unitary Authority areas, reaching from Bridgend in the West to Monmouthshire and the Severn Estuary in the East and has been built utilising 32 third party tower sites owned by 7 different site providers.
The wireless layer comprises licensed radio links operating at 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 155Mbps and light-licensed radio links operating at 24Mbps.
ITS have rigging certification for all major tower operators in the UK and reduced the installation costs for the deployment by having their own teams carry out all the necessary work.
The total linear distance of the network is some 380Km, making the capital cost per meter £3.95 in terms of all the equipment and services required to implement the solution, versus the typical fibre dig cost of £40 per metre (Soft dig).
The ongoing OpEx for supporting and maintaining the network infrastructure works out at £0.80 per metre per annum.
“A live demonstration at ITS’s R&D facilities in Sheffield clearly illustrated that aggregated bandwidth between ourselves and other councils was achievable without compromising the integrity and security of our IP communications. Without ITS’s unique services we would never have been able to proceed with such a beneficial solution”
Chris Williams – ICT Strategic Manager, South Wales Fire & Rescue.