Irving, TX- October 23, 2017 – When Hurricane Maria ripped through the center of the island last month and wiped out much of its infrastructure, Puerto Rico’s ATLAS P25 system proved to be resilient.
When it was time for Puerto Rico to upgrade to a P25 emergency communication system in 2011, it was faced with many challenges due to the complexity of an island deployment and its vulnerability to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Puerto Rico knew it needed a system that could withstand the most extreme conditions, so it selected a 20-site ATLAS P25 system from EF Johnson Technologies, Inc., the P25 communication specialist for JVCKENWOOD.
The ATLAS P25 system was put to the most severe test when just two weeks after Hurricane Irma skirted the north side of Puerto Rico, the eye of Hurricane Maria made its way directly through the middle of the island. Puerto Rico suffered catastrophic damage to the main power grid, knocking out electricity to 100% of the island. High winds caused major damage to most of the radio towers and disrupted the microwave network that connects the tower sites together. Even though the ATLAS system was split in two or more parts, with its coreless network architecture, it was able to continue providing localized wide area communications to first responders.
Typically, with the majority of a system’s sites sustaining major tower and microwave damage, the IP network that connects all of the sites together could take months to be fully reconnected. However, ATLAS was designed with Latitude technology to make it easy to re-establish connectivity via any IP enabled transport, including satellite links.
“This is a game changer for the Puerto Rico recovery,” said John Suzuki, President and CEO of EFJohnson. “It can regain island-wide emergency P25 communications in a matter of days versus months.”
With all of the volunteers across the U.S. heading to Puerto Rico to assist, the communications capacity requirements will continue to increase. EFJohnson is working with Codecom, its local partner in Puerto Rico, to replace damaged radio equipment and to deploy hundreds of Viking P25 radios to the emergency personnel who will be working through the restoration for the next several months.