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The ability to communicate effectively and have reliable mobile coverage are critical for first responders during a crisis. However, materials in buildings, such as aluminum or steel, can reduce or even block wireless signals. Improving wireless coverage indoors is a long-standing challenge.
To improve indoor communications for first responders, the First Responder Network Authority identified improved in-building communications as a critical need for first responders and a required component of the nationwide public safety broadband network it’s been tasked with deploying.
The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s research laboratory in Boulder, Colo., has been researching in-building communications for many years, independently and as part of its Public Safety Communications Research partnership with Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.
ITS recently released a new report describing the results of experiments conducted to investigate both the in-building coverage characteristics of future public safety mobile networks and ways to improve performance in such environments.
The findings in the report cannot only be used to help first responders better communicate during emergencies, but can also help inform innovation in cellular technology, such as Long Term Evolution communications, that will enhance in-building coverage.