On Thursday, the management of the Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK) and Motorola had a meeting to review the upgrade.
"This upgrade ensures a more robust Nødnett and improves the functionality of the network. Nødnett is now among the most modern TETRA networks in Europe," said Tor Helge Lyngstøl, Director of DNK, at the meeting.
Improved Nødnett functionality
The TETRA technology has been further developed after use of Nødnett started during the first development phase. As Nødnett is in the process of being rolled out across all of Norway, it is natural to do this based on the latest version of the equipment and software from the vendor Motorola.
"This upgrade ensures a better network for both the end users as well as those operating the system. The network is now ready for a nationwide development, and both the capacity and the security have been improved. In technical terms, this entails increased redundancy through a further doubling of key components. The security level has also been further increased by distributing these across different geographical locations."
This latest version also makes it possible to link Nødnett to other TETRA networks, and over the course of the project, the emergency services in Norway will become able to communicate with users of RAKEL, Sweden's national public safety radio communication network.
"The data services provided in Nødnett will be expanded to provide support for TEDS (higher data rates), and testing of this will commence over the course of this year. In addition, Nødnett is now prepared for a potential future tie-in to LTE networks. Among the other functions, I would like mention that the network also provides better helicopter coverage due to an increase in the area covered by the base stations," says Lyngstøl.
In order to make sure all Nødnett users in Norway will use the same platform, the users during the first development phase were transferred to the new platform before use of Nødnett starts in any of the new areas.
Excellent effort by the vendor
During the meeting on Thursday, the management of DNK congratulated and thanked the vendor Motorola for an impressive effort during the night of the migration.
"Overall, everything went better than our most optimistic expectations. In hindsight, it is easy to see that this proved to be a big success. There were a few challenges over the course of the nightly migration, but these were handled in an excellent manner by the teams," says Lyngstøl.
When Lyngstøl talked with Motorola's employees after the meeting on Thursday, he did express great satisfaction with the way Motorola and their partners had handled a transmission problem during the night of the migration.
"This demonstrates that Motorola is able to stay calm and collected in stressful situations, and that we are dealing with professionals. I am duly impressed," says Lyngstøl.
The migration project was carefully planned and a total of more than 150 people took part from all the parties involved, including the emergency services, DNK and Motorola and its subcontractors. The aim of everyone was to reduce the impact on the users to a minimum. The general public's use of the emergency numbers was not affected by the upgrade.
Important milestone for the project
"We upgraded region by region, involving a total of about 250 base stations and 60 control rooms. We have 8,000 users linked to Nødnett and these have now been transferred to the new platform. The upgrade went as planned with only a few minor adjustments along the way," explains Lyngstøl.
The functionality was limited during the migration process itself. The users had been informed that all services other than voice would be unstable and had to be considered unavailable. As a consequence, the emergency services had facilitated use of alternative communication methods and provided additional manning of the public safety answering points during the upgrade process.
"I am very happy that we have passed the most complicated technical milestone of the entire project. We now have to focus on the milestones to come. As all players involved in the migration process have demonstrated their ability to handle complicated challenges, I hope we will reach the next milestone on time. This migration was the first important step towards being able to deliver the Nødnett Project on time in 2015," says Lyngstøl.