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Behind the radio: A critical network component for Florida public safety

The power, resiliency and efficiency of digital radio and other next-generation services are driving the need to modernize public safety communications networks toward internet protocol (IP) and broadband.

In this new multi-service, all-IP era, backhaul, the critical communications links between first responders and the backbone network that connects all statewide public service agencies and command centers, is expanding to become a critical value-added component of this evolution.

In 2017, the State of Florida will begin to upgrade its Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) network to national Project 25 (P25) digital standards.

With voice support as the current focus, the new backhaul network also will have to be ready to connect other devices or sensors that are or will be used by law enforcement teams — for example, those for CCTV — as well as for interagency communications and coordination.

By deploying a mobile backhaul network that uses internet protocol/multiprotocol label switching (IP/MPLS), Florida’s public safety organizations will be able to address all current and future requirements for digital communications while controlling costs.

Reliably connect, prioritize and secure mission-critical traffic

A full IP/MPLS backhaul network will give Florida many powerful benefits. It will be able to securely route mission-critical data in highly efficient, digitized packets that can reach their destination via any number of different routes. This ensures that critical communications traffic will get through in times of natural disasters and other emergencies.

If one or more links are down, the network will detect the problem and reroute data in milliseconds using another path. It also will instantly prioritize the most critical services, such as voice communication, as determined by agency policy and best practices.

Additionally, IP/MPLS mobile backhaul will provide Florida with enhanced cyber security. For example, it will manage the encryption of the traffic to protect it from being spied upon, and will stop an illicit attempt by non-authorized people to access the network.

Multi-layer encryption for IP/MPLS, optical and microwave, and many additional cyber security capabilities, are built natively into Nokia mission-critical grade backhauling products, which were awarded Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 New Product Innovation Award for North American Cyber Security Solutions.

Keep operations and finance under control

Nokia IP/MPLS backhaul will streamline management as well. For example, Nokia’s single service-aware network management system with graphical user interfaces allows centralized management of all backhaul network components (microwave links, IP routers and eventually optical equipment).

This lets operators automate and simplify provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting by giving them a unique end-to-end view of the whole network.

The new backhaul architecture can be the cornerstone to consolidate several aging government networks. Multiple agencies will be able to use the same network for any kind of traffic with full separation, prioritization and security, and the state’s microwave system will be more easily expandable.

All of this will create financial advantages, lowering overall operational costs for the state, while law enforcement and other public agencies benefit from improved network resiliency and speed.

IP/MPLS Mobile Backhaul for Florida

To best safeguard the health and security of its citizens, Florida needs a partner with a solid financial base, technological strength and unmatched innovation capability to support and scale these services for the long run.

Nokia backhauling solutions are designed in North America and deployed in many states and cities to serve public safety networks, and utilizing our renowned Bell Labs research arm, Nokia is #1 in worldwide in packet backhauling. In fact, for more than two decades, Florida has relied on Nokia backhaul technology.

There’s no doubt that Florida’s new packet mobile backhaul network will play a crucial role in maintaining advanced, efficient mission-critical communications services, available 24/7. Secure from hacking and cyberattacks, it will be a foundation for numerous future uses beyond simple voice communications. In short, it will be at the heart of the digital transformation of Florida’s public safety.

As Florida begins to modernize SLERS, Nokia will be there to support the transformation.

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