Video surveillance serves to report crimes and protect officers in the field, at times allowing them to detect situations in remote areas and determine how to enter. Video is essentially police awareness, extending the eyes and capabilities of law enforcement. But what about those areas where cameras can’t be deployed because of obstacles that prevent line-of-sight for microwave solutions?
A long-awaited broadband communications alternative is here; this strategy depends on non-line-of-sight (NLOS) capabilities that make video camera backhaul possible in the most challenging locations—TV white space broadband.
White space is the term for the unused TV spectrum that became available when television broadcasts transitioned from analog to digital. The FCC recently designated unlicensed spectrum for broadband use. This means that wireless Internet service providers (WISPs), municipalities, public safety agencies, and many others will have the advantage of using vacant TV channels to deliver service to previously unreachable rural areas at a lower cost.
By harnessing the NLOS capabilities of TV white space (TVWS) frequency bands, service providers can now deliver speeds comparable to traditional wireless networks (up to 16 Mbps over the air in the current generation). While the range varies depending upon the terrain and obstacles in each individual location, users can typically expect an area of high throughput extending 3 to 7 miles from the base station.
Up until now, the focus of this new technology has been rural deployment in order to deliver high-speed Internet connection to under-served regions, which is particularly important to public safety. Although this still remains the primary purpose, the ability to improve wireless connectivity is expanding to other applications as well.
Recent wireless deployment of video surveillance networks have become a hot topic. Surveillance cameras are being used everywhere, from shopping malls to parking lots. And now, thanks to TV white space, cameras can be deployed in more secluded locations like forested greenbelts and hidden alleyways, improving security for officers and community members alike.
Getting broadband to tough terrain
Carlson is one of the few companies leading the charge toward turning TVWS broadband into a reality. Carlson’s award-winning RuralConnect broadband radio system enables the signal to surpass almost any obstacle due to its propagation characteristics, which operate with large amounts of multipath interference. Additionally, Carlson has partnered with TVWS spectrum manager, Spectrum Bridge to ensure a seamless, interference-free network.
The two have been collaborating to find a way to make the technology viable for broadband communication. Craig Domeny, Carlson director of engineering explains, “This spectrum, which opened up when TV became digital, is a luxury no one had five or even three years ago. The non-line-of-sight propagation characteristic of UHF spectrum makes it ideal for broadband in challenging locations. The design of the radio is focused around achieving high data rates and equalizing multipath and fading effects for NLOS communication.”
Using white space for video
With data rates to support high-definition video, Carlson’s RuralConnect can be used to create point-to-point or point-to-multipoint networks with priority-routing support for voice, data and video traffic. Its applications extend to IP video surveillance and traffic monitoring. The dynamic broadband radio utilizes the superior TVWS spectrum to deploy campus-wide, citywide or regional wireless video surveillance systems and wireless broadband networks in a cost-effective manner.
Although public safety agencies will benefit from TVWS “indoor broadband access” in many ways, including the ability to supplement emergency communications, offer online officer training, access critical data resources and more, they can now add “outdoor broadband access” to the list of benefits. For example, first responders can use the network to manage their outdoor video surveillance systems via broadband security cameras.