AFRRCS In-Building Two Way Radio Coverage

The long anticipated Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System (AFRRCS) is making its mark on Alberta’s First Responders. Testing is underway with some key Government agencies, and early indications are that the coverage reach is very good. This of course is both expected and encouraging based on predictable outdoor operations of portable and mobile radios.

Inside public buildings however is another matter. AFRRCS is developing a process through which it will allow approved equipment (Extenders) to re-broadcast or extend existing AFRRCS coverage. Typically this equipment will be in the form of a BDA (Bi-Directional Amplifier), or DAS (Distributed Antenna System). Guidelines are being developed for coverage in areas less than 400 square meters (small) and beyond 400 square meters (medium to large).

Medium-to-Large extenders will need the capability to be alarmed and provide remote access. SNMP and http will be mandatory to allow for AFRRCS Network Management capability. Performance specifications will also be published in the AFRRCS guidelines. This can vary substantially depending on vendor equipment, antennas, and the quality of design and installation by your integrator.

Many equipment vendors claim to be compliant to NFPA or IFC, however it is imperative for the end user to understand whether these compliances also meet the AFRRCS guidelines and understand whether aftermarket modifications such as a NEMA 4 enclosure make the original equipment compliant.

A capable integrator and compliant Equipment Manufacturer will be able to guide you through this process and help you understand the options available to you.

References:

RSS-131 – Zone Enhancers for the Land Mobile Service (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)

CPC-2-1-05 – Zone Enhancers (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)

IFC-510.1 – (International Fire Code)

NFPA 72-2010 – (National Fire Protection Association)

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