For many years, the public-safety community struggled with the many land mobile radio systems being spread out over various portions of the radio spectrum, which resulted in the inability for neighboring agencies to communicate directly with each other when needed.
This lack of interoperability led the public-safety community to call for a single, nationwide, public-safety broadband network that would provide full interoperability. Once radio spectrum was allocated to what is now The FirstNet Authority, the FCC issued a nationwide license under the rules that govern public-safety spectrum. It further authorized exclusive use of higher-power field devices within this spectrum for the purpose of providing enhanced coverage and higher data rates for the public-safety community. In January 2021, the network was ready to support high-power devices.
This increase in transmitter power from field devices has been described as a game changer for everyone who is permitted to use this spectrum: first responders and extended primary users defined as those who work with the public-safety community during incidents and emergency situations. High-power field devices available for in-vehicle use provide extended FirstNet coverage for all users qualified to operate on public-safety broadband spectrum.
This paper walks readers through a short history of FirstNet and then takes a deep dive into high-power products provided by Airgain, including results of extensive drive testing using the AirgainConnect® high-power device.