Oceus Networks Flies Deployable LTE Solution Above the Clouds to Support Public Safety

July 11th, 2013

RESTON, Va. (July 11, 2013) – Oceus Networks Inc., the market leader in delivering mobile 4G LTE broadband networking solutions, announced today that it has successfully demonstrated the efficacy of a deployable 4G LTE solution on a high-altitude balloon platform, which can be used to rapidly provide broadband coverage and communications services to first responders within the first 72 hours following an emergency or natural disaster.

The exercise, conducted near Boulder, Colo. last week, launched an airborne 4G LTE cellular network, allowing engineers to collect data and characterize the performance of a high altitude 4G LTE public safety system.

The payload traveled nearly 200 miles and reached an altitude of 75K feet. The experiment supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture (DACA) initiative, which is exploring the role of High Altitude Platforms in the national public safety network. Oceus Networks partnered with Space Data to deliver an innovative platform for public safety communications restoration in the event of large scale commercial outages after major natural disasters or terrorist attacks. The team used Band 14 devices – data modems (the VML 700) and smartphones (the LEX 700) – both provided by Motorola Solutions, to connect to this mobile airborne LTE network.

“This successful demonstration underscores the role of 4G LTE in a rapidly deployable aerial communications architecture, particularly during the first crucial hours after disaster strikes, when deployable broadband technologies are critical,” said Douglas C. Smith, chief executive officer of Oceus Networks. “We look forward to continuing our work with federal policymakers and first responders on deployable solutions for extending the reach of the national public safety network, FirstNet.”

Combining Space Data’s high-altitude balloon expertise in system design, payload integration and flight operations and Oceus Networks’ military-grade deployable LTE solutions, Xiphos™, allowed technical performance measurements to be made that demonstrate the potential for this 4G LTE solution in a disaster scenario. The test was conducted in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program.

Oceus Networks is compiling the results of this test and will formally file a report with the FCC in its DACA docket.

To facilitate this test, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), along with the FCC and NTIA, provided Oceus Networks and Space Data the temporary authorization to use the public safety broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band (Band 14). By using the same frequencies that will be utilized in the forthcoming nationwide public safety broadband network, the test was designed to demonstrate how FirstNet, states, and local public safety organizations can rely on the flexibility of deployable solutions as a critical component of DACA and other public safety user broadband capabilities. Since Google’s recent announcement of Project Loon, there is growing interest in delivering broadband services from airborne and balloon-based platforms to rural and developing regions.

To see photos and learn more about the exercise visit: http://oceusnetworks.com/node/379.