LGS and PacStar provide tactical-base-station router to U.S. Army Reserve Command

Engineers at LGS, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, and Pacific Star Communications (PacStar), have joined hands to provide a rugged, portable cellular solution to the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) at Fort McPherson, Ga.

Th 0708mae News03

By John McHale

VIENNA, Va. - Engineers at LGS, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent, and Pacific Star Communications (PacStar), have joined hands to provide a rugged, portable cellular solution to the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) at Fort McPherson, Ga.

U.S. Army Reserve Command officials have postured the LGS Tactical Base Station Router (TacBSR), developed by Bell Labs and the PacStar 5500 to support several of its posts across the country for disaster relief and continuity of operations, as well as a portable mobile system to support both forward-deployed operations and communications capability during manmade or natural disaster support efforts.

“We needed a reliable solution that allows us to continue to use our mobile phones even if there was a total communications outage,” says Lt. Col. Lenell White, signal operations chief, USARC. “LGS and PacStar were able to provide us with a ‘deployable network system with full-cell phone capabilities’ that gives us the vital backup we need to accomplish our missions.”

This system is not so much an upgrade as it is a disruptive technology, changing the way cellular systems are deployed, says Chris Stark, senior manager for advanced programs at LGS.

Typically, government customers rely on commercial cellular service providers for cell-phone communications. However some situations have unique location, timing, availability, and security concerns that cannot be met by commercial providers. These include field deployments in remote locations of the world, disaster recovery missions, Reverse 911, search and rescue operations, and backhaul capability for a wide variety of environmental sensors.

Th 0708mae News03
The TacBSR from LGS and PacStar provides a portable cellular system in a box, which can function in disaster areas, remote locations, and closed facilities that are out of reach of typical cellular signals.
Click here to enlarge image

Absent these cell-phone capabilities, soldiers and first responders are forced to carry redundant communications devices-LMR, VHF Radio-when in areas without coverage that require secure communications.

TacBSR is a rugged cellular system in a box that can be deployed anywhere even in service-denied areas such as disaster sites or facilities out of reach of cellular signals, Stark continues. The TacBSR ranges from hardened portable pico systems-2.3 by 6.8 by 11.2 inches-to standard 19-inch rack-mountable micro and macro systems, he adds.

The result of six years of development in Bell Labs, the TacBSR provides a single-box GSM (global system for mobile communication) cellular solution-encapsulating all cellular network functions in form factors as small as 5 pounds. It also includes voice-over-IP (Internet Protocol) backhaul capabilities that allow multiple TacBSRs to be networked in a very simple, easy to deploy and manage, flat architecture employing commodity IP networks to interconnect-providing “cellular-over-IP” functionality, LGS officials say.

This voice-over-IP capability provides internetworking between GSM phones on the BSR network and with other voice-over-IP devices on the network, Stark says.

A network of these deployed communications centers-integrating PacStar’s 5500 and the TacBSR-can easily provision sufficient communications to support a disaster area or coalition forward-operating-base communications for a large number of users across a wide geographic area.

The PacStar 5500’s embedded IQ-Core Software simplifies the user interface and eliminates the need for specialized IT staff in the field, reducing operational risk.

This technology was used by the U.S. Coast Guard during hurricane Katrina, Stark says. The TacBSR also will be implemented during the Interoperability Communications Exercise (DICE) at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., he adds.

For more information about LGS visit www.LGSinnovations.com.

More in Communications