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USA Mobility — Mission Critical Paging and Messaging Capabilities

USA Mobility, Inc.
Mission Critical Paging and Messaging Capabilities
9-21-05

In the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster along the Gulf Coast, among the most reliable methods of electronic communication throughout the region were the one-way paging and two-way text messaging services provided by USA Mobility, Inc.

USA Mobility is the nation’s largest narrowband personal communications service (NPCS) company, providing mission critical wireless services for police, fire, rescue operations, hospitals, and government, along with many utilities and other businesses that responded to the emergency.

In preparation for the hurricane, USA Mobility technical teams staged equipment and personnel just outside the storm’s path for rapid deployment. The hurricane recovery work demonstrated several of the distinguishing features of USA Mobility’s NPCS messaging—the speed and relative ease of restoration of service, based on a streamlined and cost-effective system design.

USA Mobility’s 16,000-transmitter network is satellite controlled, and is therefore less dependent on the traditional wireline telephone system than wireless cellular two-way voice or mobile phone based data technologies. This architecture enabled rapid restoration of USA Mobility’s services.

On Monday, August 29, the hurricane interrupted operations at 291 of the company’s tower locations along the Gulf Coast. Partial network coverage remained available during the storm and immediately thereafter. Within 48 hours, basic service was restored throughout New Orleans, southeast Louisiana, and Mississippi, the areas hit hardest by the storm. In contrast, most wireline and cellular telephone services have required far more time for restoration and in some cases were still off line weeks after the storm.

USA Mobility’s paging availability far exceeded that of mobile phone providers in the affected areas and when you consider that most pagers operate on a standard AA battery, there is no concern of not being able to recharge when commercial power is out. Bottom line is that one-way and two-way pagers worked when most other wireless services didn't. This meant that emergency service responders, hospitals, utilities, police, businesses and citizens could receive messages on a pager and initiate messages from a two-way pager when their phones would not work.

USA Mobility also supplied thousands of additional pagers to federal, state, and local emergency response organizations to help respond to the Katrina crisis.

To understand why pagers work when mobile phones do not one must consider the very different network architectures. USA Mobility’s systems feature-high power transmissions of up to 3500 watts effective power with typical antenna heights of 300 feet or more in a simulcast network topology, in contrast to the 100 watts of power and 90-foot antenna heights of the typical cellular system. USA Mobility’s simulcast networks provide simultaneous delivery of a radio signal from several transmitters, which provides wider coverage area and better in-building penetration than other wireless technologies. This overlapping radio coverage provides natural redundancy in the event of the loss of one or more transmission towers. Cellular type networks, in comparison, assign a single channel in a single transmitter to a mobile connection, typically with a much smaller range, and then rely on the network to “hand off” the call to another tower, but only if a channel is available.

Many federal government organizations need an emergency communication system that provides rapid messaging for one-to-one and one-to-many communications, where voice is not required or message content is sensitive to eavesdropping. The paging and text-messaging services of USA Mobility offer a premier emergency communication solution in these cases at a significantly reduced cost as compared to any wireless voice services. At a time when our nation is challenged with so many natural disasters a tried and true technology represents the most reliable form of wireless connectivity at ironically the lowest cost as compared to any other form of mass mobile wireless communications. The paging systems, customer service and engineering resources of USA Mobility should be the first choice of all federal, state, and local governments when considering their critical communications needs.

Source: USA Mobility, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.


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With best regards,

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Brad Dye
WIRELESS DATA CONSULTANT

P.O. Box 266
Fairfield, IL 62837 USA

Skype:braddye
Telephone/Fax:618-842-3892
E–mail:brad@braddye.com
Web:Consulting page

Note: I do consulting work for most of the major Paging companies, including USA Mobility, but I am not being compensated for publishing this article.


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USA Mobility — Mission Critical Paging and Messaging Capabilities

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