City of Los Angeles Mobile Command Vehicles Rely on MRC Microwave Technology

Microwave Radio Communications (MRC) announced that a microwave communications system has been installed and is in use by the City of Los Angeles (LA) for public safety inter-departmental communications. The system allows LA law enforcement and public safety personnel to move video, voice, and data between mobile command vehicles and the City’s infrastructure through use of a fixed central site.

Mobile Command Vehicle

Portable communication systems can be deployed as repeaters, or in locations not readily accessible to their vehicles. This type of communications solution enables Public Safety personnel to establish necessary communications in the event of a catastrophic event, such as an earthquake or terrorism response. Other potential uses include security at major events including demonstrations, sporting events, concerts, and public gatherings where the public’s safety is of critical concern.

“The City of LA System provides an on demand self sufficient network that does not require existing infrastructure, such as power grid or communication network,” states Tony Finizio, President of MRC.  “It’s a system that will allow LA to keep transmitting in the event of a disaster when land lines are lost similar to that experienced during Katrina.  This system will allow LA public safety personnel to remain informed and in control,” he said. 

MRC faced major challenges in custom tailoring this system.  It was tasked with enabling the City to transmit and receive video, voice and data over the allocated 4.9 GHz Band in which Public Safety agencies are allotted 50 MHz of Bandwidth.  This limited amount of bandwidth meant MRC had to design an efficient system that would allow video, voice, and data to be simultaneously transmitted and received while granting the user the flexibility of switching across multiple channels within the band to avoid interference.

MRC met the City’s requirements by setting up a bandwidth-efficient system which transports four T1 lines over microwave using only 7 MHz of bandwidth. It also allows the City flexibility to change channels to accommodate other transmissions, for instance live video from an airborne unit can be accommodated by moving the 7 MHz of T1 transmission anywhere within the 50 MHz Bandwidth.

“MRC was a logical choice for us,” states Raul Velasco, Communications Engineer. “The City has a significant investment in MRC systems, and they have proven to be very reliable. Our maintenance staff has significant experience on systems built with MRC equipment. In addition, MRC’s diverse product line gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility. This latest system was tailored to meet our communications requirements today, but the same MRC equipment can be reconfigured as needed to meet our communications requirements tomorrow.”

“The system is performing as expected and has already proved its value on several occasions,” said Raul. “Most recently, the MRC systems were deployed to support Incident Command Posts for the 2007 LA Marathon and the Academy Awards,” he said.

“How can we best utilize this 50 MHz band? What can we do with it? These are the questions that public safety departments are asking,” said Mike Payne, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at MRC. “Well, we can do a lot with it,” he said. “In any emergency scenario, a video feed mounted on the van can be transmitted over to headquarters. From there the video can be put out over their network and made available to all law enforcement agencies in LA.”

In addition to mobile vehicles, portable transport units were also used and designed with the same capabilities as the mobile command vehicles. These portable units will allow the City the flexibility to set up communications in areas where a mobile command vehicle may not be able to access, or in some cases to expand the communications infrastructure by providing additional inter-communication services.

For more information visit the MRC web site at: http://www.mrcbroadcast.com/index.html

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