Skip to main content

Michigan transforms its public safety communications

Twitter: @hchan888

How do you upgrade your critical public safety backhaul network in a way that will assure the effectiveness of your first responders and the safety of your citizens – now and for decades to come? You may want to look to the State of Michigan for a great example of how it is done.

There’s no doubt that a reliable, mission-critical public safety backhaul network must be resilient in order to ensure uninterrupted radio communications for first responders in the face of severe storms, floods, terrorism and any type of unexpected emergencies. It also must be fully interoperable between agencies, and ready to handle the increasing volumes of voice, video and data traffic that place substantial demands on older networks as land mobile (LMR) systems are upgraded.

Coming up short in time critical scenarios is not an option for first responders. So, in 2014, Michigan’s Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS) began working with Nokia to upgrade its legacy LMR backhaul infrastructure. It was a statewide project. Covering 59,415 square miles, with 245 radio towers and more than 80,000 radios, MPSCS’s network serves local, state, federal, tribal and private first responders with 700/800 MHz mutual aid land mobile radio (LMR), simulcast systems and Inter-zone statewide communications.

The overall goal was a broadband backhaul network carrying critical voice and enhanced data communications. To meet the stringent resiliency and quality of service requirements, cutting-edge Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) and packet microwave systems would be deployed in the network to reliably securely support the P25-based public safety digital radio with integrated voice and data capability.  Adding to the challenge, Michigan and Nokia needed to gracefully transition all legacy time division multiplexing (TDM)-based LMR traffic to the IP/MPLS network without interruptions to radio users. Therefore, the new network also had to support flexible multi-service requirements (Ethernet, IP and TDM), with  deterministic QoS, along with unified end-to-end service management of network resources, and extensive microwave link monitoring and control via automatic event collection, as well as alarm, status and performance data.

Michigan’s new IP/MPLS network is already live, providing high-capacity connections between hundreds of public safety facilities. A multi-ring network topology powered by IP/MPLS provides multiple dynamic paths over which critical traffic can be routed, even after multiple disruptive events. This ensures superior resiliency in the event of attacks or failures from weather, fires, cyberattacks and other emergencies, while preserving essential communications for response, recovery and operational continuity.

True to spec, the new backhaul network offers greatly simplified management, along with a highly scalable and reliable foundation for more advanced public safety communications capabilities in the future – for the near term, possibly incorporating security video or SCADA, as well as using the backhaul capability for state police aviation, and enhanced partnerships with rural first-responder agencies, power companies and entities in the U.S. such as FirstNet, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

By upgrading its critical LMR backhaul infrastructure, Michigan has successfully created a reliable, secure and flexible public safety backhaul network for today and tomorrow.

Download this Nokia case study for more details, particularly if you’re planning your own migration to the new generation of public safety communications. and visit our dedicated Nokia Backhaul Portfolio Page and Nokia Public Safety Solutions webpage

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #publicsafety #missioncritical

Hansen Chan

About Hansen Chan

Hansen Chan is an IP Product Marketing Manager with a special focus on digital industries and government. He has worked with telecom service providers and critical infrastructure network operators worldwide for more than 25 years on protocol testing, network design and consulting, and product management. When he’s not talking networks, he’s reading up on history and religion, and listening to Baroque and 20th century classical music.

Tweet him @hchan888

Article tags