LTE Service

Every mobile command center has a hierarchy for network connectivity that is based upon three factors:
1. Network Availability
2. Available bandwidth (size of network pipe)
3. Cost

There are several mesh network and/or point to point wireless connections that allow a mobile command center to connect to an existing network that a customer typically already owns and operates for day to day usage. The CCS BATs offer is a great example of this by allowing the customer to use a GPS auto acquire microwave antenna to connect to a base antenna connected to the customer’s core network. These type of solutions can typically provide extremely large network pipes to the command center with no additional cost other than the fixed hardware expense required for the connectivity. The only limitation is that these type of solutions are based on “line of sight” connectivity and that this core network is up and operational.

If the customer can not connect to their own network, then the next option is typically LTE service that is provided by an LTE router installed in the mobile command center and enhanced with roof or mast mounted antennas. CCS offers Pepwave, CradlePoint, and Sierra Wireless LTE routers and many of these units can support multiple SIM cards from multiple providers to provide load balancing based on signal strength and redundancy in case one network provider is not available or temporarily out of service in that area. Many of these LTE routers now offer a Band 14 option that allows the customer to connect to the new FirstNet Network when available for priority access as a First Responder.

If there is no LTE service available, the remaining option is satellite network connectivity typically achieved by a roof mounted auto acquire satellite that can bring speeds of 20 mbps down and 5 mbps up to the mobile command center. Satellite service is a line of sight technology that requires a clear view of the Southern hemisphere but can be used anywhere in the world. Satellite service is typically more expensive than LTE service, but can be purchased in a Disaster Response Package for First Responders or on a metered service. In addition to internet access, CCS can provide Hosted VoIP service across this sat link so our customer can install IP Phones in the mobile command centers for every day use.

MERC-LITE Portfolio

Although CCS works with most LTE service providers, CCS only resells AT&T FirstNet service. The reason for this is that 95% of our customers are First Responders and that is who created and ultimately owns the FirstNet Network. FirstNet is the only network service that can provide Band 14 coverage exclusively for First Responders and the priority access it provides is unparalleled. The unlimited data plans and quality of service it provides our customers at a great price point have made this a very attractive offer for all First Responders.

Please contact us for a demonstration or a budgetary quote.

Client Testimonials

This MERC package combined with the shelter provides us a response package that can be fully deployed in less than 30 minutes anywhere we need it!

SGT John Byrd,

Harris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team

The MERC Lite satellite trailer worked perfectly during our 3 day response. The generator provided continuous power allowing us to stay in constant contact with the responding Guardsmen.

SGT Jerry Hensley

Kentucky National Guard

The MERC Lite satellite trailers worked great during our support of the relief efforts providing mobile communications, a climate controlled shelter, and lighting for night time operations.

SGT Mark Tremblay

New York National Guard

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t mobile satellite service very expensive?
The cost of mobile satellite service has come down tremendously over the past 10 years. In the past this service could only be purchased as a “full-time” service and would cost over a thousand dollars a month for very minimum bandwidth. Fortunately with advances in technology satellite service has gotten better in terms of bandwidth speeds and quality while the price has come down tremendously. With our partners at IP Access, CCS has been able to develop several Disaster Response Packages that allow our First Responder customers to buy 5 or 10 day per month packages that can provide burstable speeds from 20 mbps down to 5 mbps up for just a few hundred dollars per month. For our Commercial customers we can also provide metered service plans based on their network needs that are very affordable.
Do I really need satellite service with the availability of LTE and FirstNet?
All of the LTE service providers have made great strides in coverage and network speeds and the roll out of the FirstNet Network with Band 14 has been a tremendous asset for First Responders. Most service providers have deployable COWs (cellular units on wheels) that they can deploy during and after a disaster to help keep service up and FirstNet has a fleet of COLTs that provide this same service free of charge for their customers. Despite all of this LTE technology and network redundancy, bad things can still happen. Wildfires and hurricanes can take out cell towers and during that down time that it takes a LTE service provider to deploy their mobile assets, a First Responder could be caught without communications. Satellite service fills that void and provides that life line that should allow the user to always connect and communicate regardless of local assets. Please be very skeptical of anyone that tells you that you will always have LTE coverage. Can you hear me now?
Should we do a “drive away” or “tow away” mobile command center?
Our first choice at CCS is always a tow away command center purely for the sake of redundancy. It is really very simple, if a mobile command center is built on the chassis of a vehicle and that vehicle has a mechanical failure, you lose your mobile command center. If your mobile command center is built out as a trailer and the towing vehicle has a mechanical failure, then you simply find another towing vehicle. The first few years as a company, CCS would not build a vehicle based mobile command center for that very reason. The reality is that some customers felt more comfortable driving a vehicle than towing a trailer so eventually we agreed to do both, but we still always recommend a trailer version.
What trends do you see in the mobile command center market?
Over the past 5 years we have seen customers shy away from building out the bigger command centers (30 to 48 foot units) and look at smaller more tactical units. There are multiple reasons for this: (1) The requirement for a special driver’s license and skill set to drive or tow the larger units (2) The need for smaller units that can be easily transported through urban areas with smaller streets, more traffic, low hanging tree limbs, etc.. (3) The need to air lift units to a destination or ship by sea (4) Overall cost and ongoing maintenance. CCS has been offering our MERC-Lite and MERC-Mini packages for over 10 years and these trailers have been certified for transport on a C-130 and have a proven track record of urban deployments in over 14 countries. To assist with the loss of office space by not having a large command center, CCS has bundled several of our Zumro air shelters that can either attach to these smaller MERC units or set up beside them to resolve this work space issue.
What makes CCS different from any of your competition?
The reason the ownership of CCS chose to enter this mobile command center market in 2007 is that we saw a real void in terms of any mobile command center manufacturers that provided full integration of the communication equipment their customers needed. Some of the long standing suppliers build very nice vehicles and trailers to serve as mobile command centers, but do a very poor job of equipping them with the proper communication equipment. They were basically leaving that to the customer to add after they purchased the unit. That makes sense because most of them are really just trailer manufacturers and custom fabricators with no technology background. The founders of CCS were just the opposite, we were all working in the telecommunication market and were basically technology “geeks”. We went out and hired the expertise we needed to build the command centers and they do a great job at it, but our focus has been and always will be the communication equipment we install in and on these mobile command centers. That is by far the most important component of these units allowing our customers to communicate and schedule the resources they need to respond to any disaster.

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