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FirstNet MegaRange: Extending First Responder Connectivity Like Never Before

January 26, 2021

FirstNet® – America’s public safety network – has launched new solutions to help first responders across the U.S. better connect to each other and the information they need to carry out their daily, life-saving missions. And today, we’re bringing public safety a game changer: FirstNet® MegaRange™.

This high-power user equipment (HPUE) solution provides America’s first responders with significant coverage benefits. But, in case you’re unfamiliar with HPUE, here are 3 things you need to know:

  1. Following 3GPP and FCC standards, power class 1 HPUE solutions can transmit stronger signals.
  2. This increased signal can only be transmitted using Band 14 spectrum – the nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet.
  3. That means FirstNet is the only network where public safety can take advantage of the highest power class signaling available in the U.S.

But what does all this really mean?

FirstNet MegaRange helps improve coverage issues, whether at the edges of coverage or in dense urban environments. It provides the greatest benefit in areas where data connectivity is traditionally unreliable, such as remote regions, rural areas, and maritime environments. It also boosts coverage in metropolitan areas that have challenges with cellular signal penetration through buildings and underground parking structures. The stronger signal may better assist those connecting from hard-to-reach places like building shadows (a coverage hole caused by dense urban surroundings), tunnels, basements, elevators, stairwells and parking garages – helping first responders communicate inside and out.

“By equipping fleets with mobile routers and LMR/LTE mobile radios supporting optimized HPUE technology, public safety agencies leverage a crucial benefit of Band 14 spectrum that assures broader coverage and enhanced resiliency,” said Ken Rehbehn, Senior Principal Analyst, Critical Communications at Omdia. “First responder devices equipped with antenna-modem integrated HPUE provide public safety agencies with one of the best possible radio environments for successful emergency communications and field operations.”

Using specially designed FirstNet Ready™ HPUE devices, first responders and public safety agencies, like Bangs Ambulance, can now use this new solution to improve connectivity and uplink data speeds – particularly at the edge of signal coverage. With modems and antenna-modems from Assured Wireless Corporation and Airgain, FirstNet MegaRange can be used either standalone to directly connect with devices like laptops, tablets, and hotspots, or in connection with mobile and fixed modems and routers from Digi, Sierra Wireless, and Cradlepoint.

“We provide services in areas with challenging terrain. With FirstNet MegaRange, our paramedics were incredibly impressed with the improved coverage helping them to deliver critical patient care,” said Brad Marzolf, Director of Information Services, Compliance Officer, Bangs Ambulance. “We plan to equip all our vehicles with FirstNet MegaRange.”

“With FirstNet MegaRange, we noticed a substantial coverage improvement in some remote areas, and we sustained high data speeds even as we moved further away from wireless towers,” said Jared Vandenheuvel, Program Coordinator with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “This will be especially advantageous for public safety and first responders who have high uplink needs, such as drone teams sending video back to operations centers.”

It’s just one of the ways we’re bringing public safety a level of connectivity that is second-to-none. After all, serving public safety is our mission.

For more information on how to get FirstNet MegaRange, go to FirstNet.com.

FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks and service marks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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