Thursday November 19, 2020
PSAP network upgrades move region closer to NextGen 9-1-1 implementation
CAPCOG, acting in its capacity of the Capital Area Emergency Communications District, started making hardware, software and cabling upgrades to the region’s 9-1-1 infrastructure that continues to prepare its public safety answering points (PSAPs) for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NextGen 9-1-1). NextGen 9-1-1 is the capability to transfer additional and advanced forms of digital data, such as instant messaging, recorded videos, and medical files, across the 9-1-1 network to and from the PSAPs.
The upgrades have included retrofitting routers on the regions’ host servers and transitioning to better IP-based networks which allows the transfer of the additional data in a more secure environment. These changes strengthen a PSAP’s resiliency and redundancy allowing it to stay operational if network issues occur or if maintenance is required. They also set the tone for the PSAPs to receive NextGen 9-1-1 data from voice and multimedia platforms. Initially, CAPCOG’s focus is to get the voice platform completed and then initiate GIS call routing, which allows a cellphone’s location via coordinates or address location to direct a call to nearest PSAP instead using a cell tower’s location to determine which PSAP should receive a call. This form of call routing means callers are nearly guaranteed to reach the closest emergency services as the GIS data becomes critical and used for life safety. After those are instituted, CAPCOG will work on the system’s multimedia capabilities.
Some PSAPs have already finished these upgrades and the remainder of the PSAPs should see upgrades start and possible finish in the next quarter. While CAPCOG doesn’t know when NextGen 9-1-1 will be fully instituted across the nation, these preparations have moved the region to be one of the closest 9-1-1 districts to implementation in the state. CAPCOG will continue to move forward improving the region’s technology that meets NextGen 9-1-1 standards as the technology is tested and made available for deployment.