This lack of interoperability led the public-safety community to call for a single, nationwide, public-safety broadband network that would provide full interoperability. Once radio spectrum was allocated to what is now The FirstNet Authority, the FCC issued a nationwide license under the rules that govern public-safety spectrum. It further authorized exclusive use of higher-power field devices within this spectrum for the purpose of providing enhanced coverage and higher data rates for the public-safety community. In January 2021, the network was ready to support high-power devices.
This increase in transmitter power from field devices has been described as a game changer for everyone who is permitted to use this spectrum: first responders and extended primary users defined as those who work with the public-safety community during incidents and emergency situations. High-power field devices available for in-vehicle use provide extended FirstNet coverage for all users qualified to operate on public-safety broadband spectrum.
This paper walks readers through a short history of FirstNet and then takes a deep dive into high-power products provided by Airgain, including results of extensive drive testing using the AirgainConnect® high-power device.