By Beecher Tuttle
Telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent and mobile radio solutions provider PowerTrunk recently wrapped up a very successful trial of a TETRA/LMR network (Terrestrial Trunked Radio/Land Mobile Radio).
The trial, which was the first of its kind to be completed in the United States, enabled New Jersey Transit buses to stay connected with operations personnel using next-generation voice and data technologies.
Formerly known as Trans-European Trunked Radio, TETRA is a digital trunked mobile radio standard that is commonly utilized in Europe and other locations outside of North America. Public-safety agencies, utilities and transportation companies in more than 100 countries currently embrace the technology, but New Jersey Transit is the first to do so in the U.S., Mexico or Canada.
The TETRA network was a strong fit for the nation's largest statewide transportation system because it is proven to provide higher data bandwidth than New Jersey Transit's current network, which is very limited and not spectrally efficient. Furthermore, TETRA provides 6.25 KHz voice equivalency capable of meeting future FCC narrow-banding requirements. New Jersey Transit's TETRA network is the only one that completely utilized networking equipment that is certified by the FCC, according to Jose Martin, Chief Operating Officer of PowerTrunk.
“The existing NJ Transit communications backbone enabled us to efficiently and smoothly reconfigure the network to support TETRA,” Nicola Guidara, Director of Transportation Market Segment for Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas Region, noted in a statement. “Thanks to our close collaboration with PowerTrunk, together were able to provide NJ Transit with an advanced TETRA network.”
The responsibilities of creating the network were split between Alcatel-Lucent and PowerTrunk, with the former serving as the primary network integrator for the trial. Teltronic-owned PowerTrunk supplied the base stations, hand portables, mobiles and a PABX/PSTN gateway, which enables full duplex cellular-like communications between PowerTrunk radios and mobile phones.
PowerTrunk's equipment has been authorized by the Federal Communications Commission. The certificates are available on the FCC's website.