Ensures Clear Communication Lines for First Responders
Public safety voice communications for first responders primarily relies upon the quality of their two-way radio network and coverage within their jurisdiction. This also extends to how well their LMR’s (land mobile radios) work inside the buildings where they provide emergency services. We all know or recognize that cellular coverage diminishes when we walk inside large buildings or any LEED Green Certified building because the buildings cause cellular signals to drop significantly. First responders’ radios that operate on the public safety network are no different and can suffer the same call quality degradation, dropped signals or worse, no signal at all. In emergency situations, an unreliable network can literally be the difference between life and death if mission-critical communications aren’t getting through.
More AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) around the country are adopting and enforcing ERRCS (Emergency Radio Responder Coverage Systems) to be installed in buildings that have weak or no signal coverage to ensure that first responders’ radios work. There are a number of manufacturers in the industry that offer ERRCS systems. A critical piece of the ERRC system is the BDA (Bi-Directional Amplifier) or Fiber DAS (Distributed Antenna System) – these devices, along with the interior antennas that are used in ERRC Systems, bring calls from the network into the building, and then bring those calls from within the building out to the network. These devices, working in tandem with ERRCS’ interior antennas, allow dispatch to talk to the responder; and vice versa.
Comba Telecom, Inc. has been manufacturing BDAs and Fiber DAS solutions for almost two decades for commercial wireless and for five years in the public safety wireless industry. Over this time Comba has become a trusted and reliable commercial and mission-critical public safety equipment for in-building wireless communications systems solutions provider for thousands of buildings nationwide. Last month Comba released a few new products that enhance our public safety offerings and offer industry-leading features.
5 WATT BDA
The first of these new public safety products is our more powerful 5 Watt BDA. It can cover a building roughly 650,000 square feet in size, and is an economical way to ensure that mission- critical communications operate as expected within larger buildings. Calling Comba’s 5 Watt BDA “economical” does not mean it’s incapable of providing the assurance of reliable communications for first responders, however. Comba’s 5W offers the same features as our award-winning 2W BDA, and comes in either Class A or Class B configuration. It also includes a large number of features and functions that allows the BDA to be set to provide excellent in-building call quality, while protecting against interference with the public safety network. An easy GUI (Graphical User Interface) along with a step-by-step commissioning guide helps SI’s (Systems Integrator) properly and safely bring the buildings ERRC System online quickly, and performing well from the initial turn up. Finally, the BDA offers one of the lowest power consumption ratings in the industry, which significantly reduces the operating costs over the life of the system for the building owner.
“If the building requires a Fiber DAS, the 100AH BBU is powerful enough that it can support both the Master Unit and a Remote Unit, reducing the need for multiple BBUs in the main equipment room.”
100AH BATTERY BACKUP UNIT (BBU)
Comba now offers a larger 100AH Battery Backup Unit (BBU) to power the 5W BDA. Many jurisdictions require that if the power goes out, the ERRC System must continue to operate for a minimum of 12 hours. Not only does the BBU provide ample power for the BDA to meet the 12-hour requirement, it can also provide alarm notifications if the BBU itself has any charging or other issues, as well as for the other alarm notifications of the BDA it is supporting.
If the building requires a Fiber DAS, the 100AH BBU is powerful enough that it can support both the Master Unit and a Remote Unit, reducing the need for multiple BBUs in the main equipment room. Finally, the BBU utilizes state-of-the-art Lithium Ion Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. Lithium Ion Iron Phosphate is chemically different than the typical Lithium Ion batteries used in mobile phones and laptops. Unlink Lithium Ion, the LiFePO4 batteries are chemically stable and are not prone to thermal runaway as phone and laptop batteries are which are the main cause for them to explode and catch fire. LiFePO4 batteries are extremely stable, are they are half the weight of lead acid batteries, offer better power efficiency and last three to four times as long as lead acid.
Finally, Comba released a new product category within its public safety lineup, an Annunciator Panel. Many jurisdictions that require an ERRC System state that the alarm notifications, both visual and audio, must be displayed in a common area where the fire life and safety system annunciation panel (FACP) is located. In order to comply with the code requirement, Comba’s new Annunciator Panel connects from the BDA/Fiber DAS/BBU to the Annunciator Panel which can be placed near the FACP, typically near the front lobby so that first responders can see immediately upon entering the building if any part of the system is not working and account for that when addressing the emergency. It also gives the inspector and building owner a quick overview of the system and if there is a problem it can be addressed directly rather than having to troubleshoot the issue. Not only does the Annunciator Panel offer eight LED alarm indicators, but also an audible alarm that will alert personnel to any problems the ERRC System may have.
Comba’s newest product releases add to their already large public safety offering that includes 700MHz/800MHz and UHF BDAs, 700/800MHz Fiber DAS, an Antenna Monitoring System and a full assortment of passive products that include power splitters, service and donor antennas, combiners and directional couplers.
“All of Comba’s public safety equipment is 100% in compliance with all industry standards, regulations and requirements.”
“All of Comba’s public safety equipment is 100% in compliance with all industry standards, regulations and requirements, and can be deployed in any building, anywhere in the U.S.,” Comba VP of Sales and Public Safety Program Manager Don Henry said. “Comba is committed to the public safety space and will continue to develop products that are not only innovative with cutting- edge technology but also provide them at an affordable price so building owners can provide the in-building mission-communications that first responders deserve and rely upon.”