Feeds

London Underground gets emergency phone network

Airwave finally gets moving

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.