About 4.9 GHz Radios
We want to be safe and the FCC is helping. The FCC reserves valuable radio frequencies for public safety authorities that can be used for Ultra-Reliable wireless video surveillance. These frequencies are very advantageous and are available across the United States. A license is completely free, it's easy to get and typically can be obtained in 48 hours. The FCC has only issued licenses in less than 3% of potential coverage areas so these frequencies have incredibly low background noise. The use of these reserved frequencies can enable our city's safety professionals to better provide for our individual safety. The reserved public safety frequencies are in the 4.9Ghz “Public Safety Band” and is protected by the FCC to ensure that only authorized public safety usage is allowed. This restriction enhances video reliability because the radio can operate without potential interference from consumer products that share the unlicensed 5Ghz, 2.4Ghz or 900Mhz bands. Huge installation growth opportunities exist now that 4.9Ghz radios cost the same as 5Ghz unlicensed radios and free licensing webinars are enabling quick licensing for immediate deployment.
How far will the radios connect and how fast is the throughput?
There are industrial grade 4.9Ghz radios on the market that have up to 40 mile range and up to 216Mbps connection speed [170Mbps throughput]. With all product marketing claims, there are footnotes to the manufacturer's claims that buyers should be aware of regarding radio specifications. A radio that can go 40 miles will need to transmit data more slowly to go the full advertised distance. It is likely that radio may only be able to deliver 5Mbps of throughput at the claimed maximum distance. The same is true for the peak connection speed claims, but instead, distance is likely to be reduced to 500ft at the full connection speed of 216Mbps. Radio marketeers typically describe maximum range and maximum speed but use the disclaimer “up to” because they do not do both maximum claims simultaneously. For radio communication systems it is always safe to assume that distance and data rate are inversely proportional: as distance increases, data rate decreases and vise-versa.
How expensive are 4.9Ghz radios?
Recently, public safety radios have become available at prices matching their unlicensed equivalents. There are industrially hardened, professional grade radios on the market for around $1,000. It is important to consider the return on investment occurs quickly when installing higher quality radios rather than the perpetual field maintenance on lower quality products. Also factor in the cost when an installation goes smoothly due to receiving competent manufacturer's technical support versus when crews are delayed by poor or unavailable technical support. Like most products, you typically get what you pay for.
Recommended installation process for the security integrator:
While every site is different, wireless video at 4.9GHz typically requires visible line of sight between radios. Visiting the proposed site is recommended to determine if line of sight wireless video is practical for the site. The use of 4.9GHz capable radios can be a key differentiator in winning competitive bids. Some manufacturer's radios can operate at 4.9GHz and also operate in the unlicensed 5GHz bands. This important feature allows flexibility for the system to be initially deployed on an unlicensed 5GHz channel until the municipality receives their 4.9GHz license. In some cases, this can help to accelerate the qualification, acceptance and invoice processing in the event the municipality delayed its submission to the FCC for the license. The 5GHz channel can be easily changed to a 4.9GHz channel once the license is granted using its browser interface.
The US government provided the 4.9GHz frequencies in 2003 with the aim to improve the safety of each citizen. Surprisingly, the band has been scarcely used due to two common complaints: (1) the radio equipment is too expensive and (2) obtaining a license is too complex. AvaLAN has overcome these obstacles by affordably pricing our new high-security 4.9GHz radios at the same as our 5GHz and offering free webinars, Q&A sessions, pre-sales system design and experienced technical support.
Read more information about the Critical Infrastructure Protection here.
Find out who can get a 4.9GHz public safety license and how here.