Avon Fire and Rescue upgrades critical communications system


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Critical communications for Avon Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) will continue thanks to a network upgrade by communications specialist Telent.

Telent has designed, tested and deployed a future-proof solution to replace the back-up Paknet service connecting the station end to the control room. Station End systems are the critical link between control rooms and fire stations, firefighters and fire appliances and are connected using a network that has both primary and secondary back-up bearers.

Telent said that Avon FRS turned to them when the technology it was using for secondary back-up bearers was scheduled to be withdrawn from service. The new solution ensures firefighters can respond to an emergency even if the main network goes down. Telent also upgraded the organisation’s fire coders – the core hardware technology that mobilises crews.

Barry Zielinski, Telent’s Operations and Services Director said: “Avon FRS provides emergency and protection services to a population of over one million people and we helped the organisation replace existing systems that were imminent for retirement to ensure its fire stations remain connected. Telent is the partner of choice for emergency services organisations looking to work alongside a company with the knowledge, expertise and vision to innovate services in the years ahead.”

Replacing legacy technology

Telent’s solution, based on a powerful router device from technology partner Cradlepoint, uses a mobile network data service for over-the-air connectivity and is equipped with a multi network SIM. This allows the most appropriate mobile service provider to be automatically selected, eliminating any coverage issues in rural and remote based stations. It is also compatible with the ESN Connect service and ready for the future transition to the Emergency Services Network.

“Our collaboration with Telent has allowed us to upgrade and replace our legacy technology for our mission-critical station end communications in readiness for the transition to future technologies,” said John Craig, Station Manager at Avon Fire and Rescue Service. “Working with Telent has provided us with the complete confidence that our firefighters have access to unfailing and continuous communications to effectively and diligently undertake their daily duties.”

Many secondary bearers across the UK have been rapidly approaching end-of-life and need upgrading and replacing. PSTN is scheduled to be retired in 2025 and mobile operators announced the phased withdrawal of 3G and 2G networks from 2023.

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