ASTRID, the operator of Belgium’s emergency services TETRA network, is to renew the system’s infrastructure over the next few years. The upgrade will enable it to continue to guarantee quality communications systems for the public safety and security services into the future.
The programme will start with the replacement of the core network infrastructure and monitoring systems.
Belgian emergency and security services rely heavily on the communications systems provided by ASTRID. The police, fire brigades and other emergency services, use their radio for all their mobile communications. Every day, the ASTRID TETRA network processes around 56,000 group calls.
In providing day-to-day assistance, the radio is an indispensable means of communication with colleagues, the control room, and other emergency services. In critical situations or disasters the radio becomes a genuine lifeline: any worker in danger can quickly summon support, or request help to save human life.
To guarantee users an uninterrupted network performance and quality service, ASTRID has drawn up a renewal plan. This involves continued efforts to strengthen crucial components, and to provide more efficient system management and additional security.
Daniel Haché, ASTRID’s director of external relations, (pictured below) said: “This is a significant milepost in the renewal of the network. Whilst the number of users and volume of communications is increasing year on year, the emergency services also have new needs.
“ASTRID will continue to offer a quality service. Following the launch of the 3G service via Blue Light Mobile, we will continue to invest in TETRA. TETRA remains the very best technology for mobile voice communications in the public safety sector.”
ASTRID will renew two important elements:
The core radio network: the 11 provincial switches (DXT) will be replaced, the architecture optimised, and the technology evolved into IP. The switches are the brain of the radio network. They handle the routing of all radio communications and identify the radio position. ASTRID has placed an order with the Cassidian-Belgacom consortium.
The network monitoring system: the current system will be replaced. The existing ASTRID Service Centre will be equipped with the very latest technology. The ASTRID Service Centre monitors the effective working of all ASTRID systems 24/7. It receives all alarms of any technical problems, so that the ASTRID staff on duty can respond quickly. ASTRID has placed an order with Hewlett-Packard.
See also: Belgium launches broadband data service for emergency services on commercial networks