Your tenants’ lives depend on your public safety radio system—Comba can help you monitor it

When commercial real estate owners hear they must have a reliable, wireless network in their building, the reasoning is to meet their tenants’ increasing demand to be able to use their wireless devices without any connectivity issues. While keeping tenants satisfied is a good reason to have a strong in-building network, an even more important one for doing so exists.
Public safety.
Yes, while it’s nice for tenants to be able to make calls on their smartphones without fear of them dropping, stream videos or remotely change the thermostat, it’s even more critical that first responders’ radio equipment works in the event of an emergency. Firefighters and police officers being able to communicate with one another when they enter a building could be the difference between life and death. This assurance of dependable communication is typically realized by the installation of an ERRCS (Emergency Responder Radio Communication System), or more commonly called “a public safety DAS”. However, if the ERRCS system does not function properly, then this assurance does not exist. One of the ERRCS components that can cause system failure are the interior, or “service” antennas. ERRCS systems are required to send an alarm to the building’s fire control panel if an antenna fails. Then, it is the responsibility of the building owner to get the system repaired – immediately. Up until recently, determining which antenna (or antennas) have failed was a time consuming and costly venture for the building owner.
That is why wireless solutions provider Comba Telecom, Inc. recently announced its new public safety in-building CriticalPoint™ Antenna Monitoring System (AMS) at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in Las Vegas. The robust, compact system powered by RFID technology is designed to provide reliable and real-time monitoring of individual service antennas of an ERRC system.
Both commercial real estate owners and public safety first responders will benefit from the CriticalPoint AMS not only because of its ability to monitor the public safety ERRC System’s service antenna infrastructure, but also because of its ability to identify which individual antenna in that infrastructure and/or passive components are not operating, so the problem can be quickly addressed, and at less cost.
“This is versus the alternative of an ERRC system with a standard public safety antenna monitoring system. Both types of systems will alarm if an antenna or passive fails – the
Comba AMS system allows for more precise troubleshooting, and faster, less costly repairs.” Comba Marketing Manager JR Wakabayashi told Connected Real Estate Magazine.
“If there is an alarm that one of the antennas are faulty, it can be quickly identified and fixed,” he told Connected.  “Without the AMS system, the system integrator solving the problem would have to spend hours trying to identify where the issue is, costing more time and money.”
The CriticalPoint™ AMS works by combining a 900MHz Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) pilot signal from the Master Control Unit (MCU) along with the UHF or 700/800MHz LMR signal – this combined signal is then sent out through the service antenna coax network to addressable service antennas. (Addressable service antennas have an AMS RFID tag attached to it.) At the addressable service antennas, the RFID tag is energized and transmits each antenna’s health back to the Master Control Unit.  If the antenna (and passives and coax connected to the antenna) is working – the RFID tag returns the pilot signal, telling the MCU everything is okay. If an antenna, passive or coax fails, the RFID tag does not return the pilot signal, telling the MCU THIS ANTENNA DOES NOT WORK, and an alarm is sent to the annunciator panel, just as would be done by the BDA.  By logging into the MCU, using a notebook PC with the AMS software client, the system integrator can view the system’s overall status along with being able to see each individual service antenna’s status and immediately identify which antenna triggered the alarm.
The CriticalPoint AMS MCU is placed inline with a public safety BDA or Fiber Distributed Antennas System’s (DAS) passive infrastructure system that’s installed in a commercial real estate building. The AMS MCU presents two dry contact alarms that are wired to the annunciator panel for NFPA/IFC compliant visual alarm reference. The system can support up to 50 antennas or tags. Additionally, the CriticalPoint AMS consumes very little power and comes housed in a NEMA 4 enclosure.
“Monitoring a complete in-building public safety communications system was near impossible and very expensive in the past,” as stated in an official Press Release from Comba’s Public Safety Product Manager Steven Cheng. He also mentions, “With the CriticalPoint™ Antenna Monitoring System, we can now reliably monitor the full system, both the active and passive components to ensure the system is fully functional at a very reasonable cost.” The CriticalPoint™ Antenna Monitoring System is now available, visit  Comba Telecom, Inc. for more information.

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