NY Muni Wireless Network Launch in Sight

New York City’s most extensive municipal wireless network is a month away from launch. When it goes live, it will initially connect 70 percent of police and fire operations to new public safety and public service applications via vehicle modems and handheld units.

The launch date comes four years since the city awarded Northrop Grumman a five-year $500 million contract to build the New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN). Officials expect the network to improve public safety by linking first responders with incident managers at remote sites using real-time data and video fees.

The network will provide access to federal and state anti-crime and anti-terrorism databases, as well fingerprint files, city maps, mug shorts and streaming video feeds. Currently 53 applications for 19 agencies are in trial deployments.

In addition to safety and law enforcement, piloted applications are in use by health and human services division, transportation and the traffic control agency.

“The city’s mobile workforce will have the ability to work from anywhere, at any time, accessing a wealth of data or any application from an office-bound desktop,” Paul Cosgrave, commissioner of the city’s department of information technology and telecommunications (DoITT) told a city oversight committee in late February.

An initial network pilot began in early 2007 throughout lower Manhattan, with various pilot programs taking place over the past year. By summer the DoITT expects the network will include 95 percent of the city, with full coverage for the entire 322 square miles by year’s end.

Currently, the city transportation agency is piloting a Wireless Traffic Signal Control program. The goal is to make sure lights remain properly synchronized, reduce traffic congestion incidents and improve response times to traffic signal issues. The agency will deploy 2,400 wireless traffic control modems throughout the city in the next year.

The system’s 400 network sites, located across all five boroughs, are supported by two fully redundant network operations centers linked using multiple diverse fiber circuits. While the majority have rooftop antennas in place, further zoning approvals are needed to complete the remaining 20.

Device deployment includes wireless vehicle modems for the police, fire and emergency services personnel. The city transportation agency will be given wireless traffic control modems and handheld units for enforcement and inspection in the field. Wireless cards will be issues to all city agencies.

Initial rollout for NYCWiN.
Source: New York City DoITT

Police personnel will be able to access real-time photo, warrant, and license plate databases. The network also includes self-contained IP-based phone boxes, running on solar battery power, for deployment in areas that don’t have access to wired telephony or commercial power.

The fire departments will be able to transit on-scene data and full motion streaming video between its operations center and responders on incident scenes. They will also have access to operating procedures and geographic data.

The network will also support the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) application, which is now installed in more than 1,000 fire trucks and ambulances. Also, the system will cut ambulance response times by offering real-time maps and database updates.

Meanwhile, the city’s sanitation department is piloting AVL in more than 50 garbage trucks and salt spreading vehicles in Queens. The DoITT is mulling whether to use the same technology for school bus fleet management and measuring on-time performance.

Future AVL deployment is considered for several other agencies, including the children’s services department, health and mental hygiene and department of corrections.

Public services agencies are also planning several network-related initiatives. The Environmental Protection Agency is coordinating a citywide rollout of an automated meter reading systems. DoITT says it will boost customer service by providing actual rates and aid in detecting potential water leaks.

In recent remarks about the project to the city council oversight committee, Cosgrave noted the impact of NYCWiN.

“When complete, this system will provide robust, reliable and resilient data communications, enhancing coordination and ensuring critical information reaches our mobile workforce.”

Story courtesy of InternetNews.com

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