Entries » Blog » Drive Testing When There Are No More Roads – Ensuring Secure Communications Coverage for Norway’s Public Safety Users Author: Hilde Holte Eriksen

Drive Testing When There Are No More Roads – Ensuring Secure Communications Coverage for Norway’s Public Safety Users Author: Hilde Holte Eriksen

Created Nov 13 2015, 6:00 AM by Paul Jeffs

Nødnett is the new digital TETRA network for emergency and rescue services in Norway. The radio network is built and approved for operational use and the official opening of nationwide Nødnett is taking place in Kirkenes, Norway in December this year.

Although Norway is scarcely populated, it is the sixth largest country in Europe with a rugged topography of fjords, mountains and glaciers.

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Norway has one of the longest coastlines of the world after Canada, with 1200 fjords and almost half of its land area is covered by mountains.

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The landscape makes it extremely challenging to design and build radio coverage everywhere it is needed. When Motorola Solutions' engineering teams designed the radio network for Nødnett, we needed to consider the special requirements of the emergency agencies. They need a reliable and secure communications system at all times with predictable radio coverage.

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The stringent coverage requirements comprise radio service in over 300 road tunnels including the world’s longest tunnel of 24,5 km and the deepest undersea tunnel constructed at 287 meters below sea level.

In total, the Nødnett radio network has 2100 TETRA base stations. Many of the locations are extremely remote, requiring towers and technical equipment, and even our installation teams, to be flown in to the sites by helicopter.

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After installation and integration to the network, comprehensive coverage testing must be carried out to measure the quality and coverage and making sure the system is ready for daily operational use. The testing distances driven by our engineers in custom made test cars add up to 817000 km - or 20 times around the equator.

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But drive testing is not enough. The TETRA system in Norway includes a number of AGA (Air-Ground-Air) base stations providing coverage to rescue and police helicopters assisting the on-ground rescue operations and operating in alpine and remote areas.

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The terrain of Norway poses many challenges to the designers of radio communications to aircraft because many parts are mountainous with deep valleys. The agencies sometimes fly at low altitudes along the valleys and sometimes at high altitudes. To achieve good radio coverage, the aircraft radios utilise normal terrestrial coverage sites when flying low and automatically change to dedicated sites for high altitude use. This is to ensure good quality communications, avoiding interference from other sites in the region. The Nødnett network has successfully been built, tested and meets the requirements of the agencies who use aircraft in their daily work.

Last year, Norway saw over 1800 helicopter rescues and ambulance flights, which means that we need to ensure that also coverage from the air meets the standards. It took a team of engineers, hundreds of hours and 13 500 kilometres of flying while testing coverage in Norway’s beautiful scenery.

Nødnett has been put to the test. It’s all about providing secure and reliable communication enabling the emergency services to do their job. Saving Lives.

See more about Nødnett here and our customer The Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK) here.

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Hilde Holte-Eriksen is Communications Manager for Nødnett and the Nordics region

Hilde is on Linkedin

Follow @MotSolsEMEA on Twitter and look out for #Nødnett

Jon Are Pettersen of DNK is speaking on 'Norway‘s control centre network' next Thursday at PMRExpo.

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