Central Scotland Fire and Rescue WAN
Highly resilient wireless WAN for critical 999 responses
Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Services manage a total of 17 fire stations in the Central Scotland area from its headquarters at Maddiston Station, Falkirk. These headquarters are situated only a short journey from most of the Services’ fire stations and within minutes of the giant Petro-Chemical complex at Grangemouth, which ranks among the largest in Europe. This in conjunction with the large number of docks and timber yards in the region, the Central Scotland area is one of the largest fire risk areas in the country.
Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Services receive approximately 10,000 emergency calls per year, for fires, road traffic accidents and other incidents.
The Fire Services headquarters needs to remain in constant contact with the other fire stations in its coverage area. The system in use was outdated and as the communications needs of the fire service grew, the capacity of the existing analog system was deemed insufficient and the Fire Service found it often had no spare bandwidth for voice calls.
In addition to needing a higher-capacity network to encompass voice over IP and serial over IP, the Fire Services wanted a solution that was easy to manage and cost-effective.
Following a meticulous planning and design phase, the following technical requirements were identified:
- Carrier-class availability and reliability to communicate mobilisation messages from headquarters to outlying stations
- Multiple links to coexist at 1 location, enabling 1 location to communicate with numerous other locations
- The ability to cope with a “noisy” radio environment
In order to connect the numerous fire service stations, towers and single police station, Boston Networks designed a wireless wide area network (WAN) encompassing seven Motorola Point-to-Point Wireless Ethernet integrated links, varying from a very short hop of a few meters to a link of 13.4 miles.
Connecting all the necessary stations using Motorola wireless equipment, the
Boston Networks WAN solution delivers both high speed line of sight and challenging non line of sight connectivity. The sophisticated network ensures voice and critical serial data (responsible for sending emergency mobilisation information) is carried as IP before being converted back to native traffic within each station.
Optimising the position of the equipment, the bespoke network also incorporates adequate redundancy, which was stipulated as a pre-requisite by the Fire Service.
Although some of the wireless links are subjected to high levels of interference, they still manage to maintain data rates significantly in excess of the capacity that would have been provided by a more expensive leased line option.
Connecting 17 Fire Stations