New system to provide portable private network during failure of critical infrastructure

Published:  28 June, 2011

UK-research company Roke Manor Research has launched ‘Tactical Connect, a portable wireless broadband base station that creates a private network for the emergency services if the national telecommunications infrastructure fails during a major incident.

The Tactical Connect evaluation system is the world’s first portable 3G base station to have up to a 40km range, more than 40,000 times the area covered by other similar devices. This extends the communications range during a major incident, creating a stronger chain of command between the central control and other bases such as hospitals and emergency shelters, as well as between air and ground-based teams.


Tactical Connect is rapidly deployable. Once the base station is switched on, mobile phones with the private network’s SIM work immediately. This is an extremely cost effective and lightweight solution as no specialist handset is required, negating the need for training end-users already familiar with a mobile phone.

As Tactical Connect provides a dedicated network, there are no problems with bandwidth overload, ensuring a reliable and strong communications signal. Photos and video can also be shared quickly, as well as fast Internet access, to give incident commanders an up to date ‘eagle eye’ view of the entire situation.

Tactical Connect is also the first to support full mobility at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, allowing mobile users to travel at speed while connected to the base station.

James Fisher, Business Development Manager at Roke, said: “Tactical Connect’s ‘plug and play’ capability means that the emergency services can rapidly deploy a vital communications link that will be reliable during a major incident or civil contingency situation. They will still be able to communicate even if the conventional telecommunications network has been switched off or is overloaded due to civilian use.

“3G technology is already widely used in the commercial world, meaning that the expensive research and design has been done. By using these ready-made components to develop Tactical Connect, we have created a cost effective and resilient solution that will significantly improve the chain of command. Something that is a key consideration during these times of political and economic uncertainty,” said Fisher.

  • Operation Florian

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