How do you create a radio communications network? All projects begin with the same foundational building block: a careful understanding of radio frequency, or RF propagation.
Simply put, RF propagation is about predicting the pathway that radio waves will take across the terrain or environment in question – whether that environment is as small as an office or as big as a country. It’s about establishing where those waves are likely to be disrupted or distorted, whether because of obstacles, environmental features, building materials or rugged terrain – and then finding ways of working around those disruptions, to ensure a powerful and reliable signal throughout. If you want to end up with comprehensive and resilient coverage (which is, of course, our guarantee on every project), then you need to begin with a thorough RF propagation phase.
When implementing a unified critical communications network in any environment, there are always issues and challenges to be overcome. However, when implementing one in a confined space those challenges are augmented, and an entirely new set of difficulties is presented.
Developing a comprehensive communications network that can perform in adverse environments such as road or rail tunnels, or more industrial settings such as mines is not only important to delivering operational success either. Having reliable communications infrastructure in place is a must in order to ensure the safety of any members of staff or the public who may be using the space too. Operators need systems and technologies that can withstand challenging conditions and provide reliable and safe links for those in the confined environment.
The importance of our emergency services and the depth of their contribution to society cannot be overestimated.
Rapid response units, for the police, fire and ambulance services, all rely on a robust communications network to share information keeping their colleagues in the loop and saving lives.
In practice, this network will look very different depending on the service that is being provided, the location and the kind of emergencies they will typically be dealing with. However, Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) is one of the core communication technologies at the heart of many public safety operations.
‘Single site’ covers a lot of bases. Single site organisations can be as small as an individual shop or office – or as huge and complex as hospitals, universities and even festival sites and holiday parks. Clearly, such sites have very different communications challenges from their smaller cousins.
Thousands or even tens of thousands of people work across these large single site organisations. Some, of course, are unique to particular sectors, such as the health practitioners in hospitals, but a huge proportion operate in all industries, from cleaners and maintenance staff to security personnel. These staff make up facilities management – and for them, communications are critical.
With modern two-way networks more robust than ever the article discusses how much maintenance is required given the latest technology is so reliable. It points to the wide range of advice available for radio network managers, including information on radio site engineering from ETSI and the Federation of Communications Services (FCS).