Feeds

London Underground gets emergency phone network

Airwave finally gets moving

Boost IT visibility and business value

The emergency services phone network, Airwave, was activated at 125 underground stations in London this morning, providing seamless coverage for service personnel working the tube.

Airwave is based on Tetra technology, providing cellular services for special handsets and (in theory) allowing emergency services to talk to each other from anywhere in the country, a service that now extends into the London underground system.

London has 125 sub-surface stations, and Airwave signed the £107m contract - including running costs until 2018 - back in January 2007, and started work in July of that year. The installation was pushed hard in response to the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, and the following investigation, though how much difference it would have made is open to debate.

Tetra is capable of some quite clever things, with nodes acting as mesh routers to stretch coverage. Police occasionally use vehicle-mounted Airwave radios in that way, but no such complexity was needed for the tube deployment as London Underground was already in the process of deploying their own radio system - Connect - so they could communicate with staff. Airwave just piggybacked on that infrastructure to provide the back-haul.

The project was actually scheduled to switch on in March, but things went unusually well and the system became operational last month.

The systems are installed in the stations, but coverage projects down the tunnels too, so miscreants won't be safe anywhere. Still, Airwave is heavily biased towards voice, and has suffered accusations of being incapable of supporting the more data-centric applications such as throwing around video clips of criminals.

The rest of us still can't talk on the underground, obviously - unless we're in Hong Kong, where a technically almost identical underground network offers full connectivity to the commuting traveller. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.