Pinnacle Wireless has built its reputation for excellence through an extensive portfolio of high-profile projects, including DAS (distributed antenna system) deployments at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub; the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum; and the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.
Vital RF Installations at the New World Trade Center Complex
The new World Trade Center construction is the centerpiece of a revitalization movement in lower Manhattan. This radiant cluster of towers stands as a symbol of American resilience and ingenuity, encompassing the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as well as the uniquely designed transportation hub that promises to become a destination location on its own merits. For The Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the completion of the new WTC will be the culmination of years of joint venture planning.
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Central to those plans are the most rigorous public safety standards, far exceeding New York City building codes. PANYNJ understands that the success and sustainability of this site calls for reliable, state-of-the-art Public Safety and Life Safety (PSLS) systems. So do the major agencies and emergency response teams that rely on radio communication, including:
- Port Authority Police Department
- New York Police Department
- Fire Department of New York
- Emergency Medical Services
- United State Secret Service
Critical to PANYNJ and agency approval of any proposed system was a well-designed RF solution. It was of utmost importance that the radio design implementations coexist with nearby wide-area networks while delivering the mission critical audio that the agencies required. After all, this radio communication infrastructure would be an essential component of the PSLS operations for massive numbers of people working and passing through the complex. Furthermore, these radio systems interface with public safety networks that protect and serve the largest metropolitan community in the country.
Various projects arose around this grand endeavor, which called for 72 radio frequencies serving 15 first-responder and property management agencies. Over 9,000 alarms would be active throughout the complex, and it would be imperative for alarms and devices to be efficiently and continuously monitored. A turnkey Private Mobile Radio System had to be designed and implemented for the property management facilities, and Wi-Fi installation would have to accommodate coverage by the four major cellular carriers in the New York area. Also a durable and dependable network would have to support emergency response teams and provide daily operational radio interface for these agencies.
Pinnacle Wireless had installed Fiber Optic cable networks at Seven WTC, which was the first skyscraper to be built in the new complex. Due to our solid performance and expertise in RF design, we were awarded the contracts for wireless communications installations to be engineered for the Transportation Hub, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum along with its Pavilion, the Vehicle Security Center and the Chiller Plant. Pinnacle solutions include the engineering and integration of Land Mobile Radio systems, indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi systems, and a neutral-host distributed antenna system. This required two head-ends with 88 cabinets of equipment as well as a fully integrated Radio Alarm Control System.
Pinnacle engineers designed a public safety distributed antenna system (DAS) that is now the most extensive and complex in the United States and one of the world’s largest in-building radio communication systems. This design includes two identical head end radio rooms, each capable of serving the entire system. RF signals are distributed to a massive array of antennas providing coverage in each venue. Public safety personnel receive clean, reliable voice and data over hand-held radios throughout the complex.
Also required was the design, integration and deployment of a Radio Alarm and Control System (RACS) which will monitor more than 9,000 alarms.
The Pinnacle solution switches control between the two head-ends on a channel by channel basis based on the alarms that are sensed. Our expert team employed programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) and a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system to accomplish these functions.
One of the challenges of this project was the requirement to lower overall potential of intermodulation interference, or Passive Intermodulation (PIM). The Pinnacle solution was to install low PIM cables and large capacity amplifiers. We also used broadband instead of channelized amplifiers and fiber optic cable.
The National September 11 Museum solution called for a public safety system that would perform in the harsh RF environment of the particularly complex site. As Alice M. Greenwald, the Memorial Museum Director noted on their website, “The Museum’s core exhibitions are located at bedrock, seven stories below ground, allowing visitors to be in the very space where the Twin Towers once stood…Where most museums are buildings that house artifacts, this Museum has been built within an artifact.” It follows from Ms. Greenwald’s description that the location of this treasured venue presents certain challenges for RF engineering. Additional obstacles were the many large, dense metal artifacts in the space. Since Pinnacle’s installation was to cover the entire outdoor Memorial and indoor Museum and Pavilion, plus the back of house spaces in between, we had to devise a solution that would ensure balanced power levels throughout the site. This called for a design that gave an emphasis of power to uplink radio signals that would be vitally important in case of emergencies. Our public safety DAS was designed, factory tested, and approved in early 2015.
Second Avenue Subway
After almost nine decades since the first proposal was introduced, service on the new Second Avenue extension of the New York City subway system began on January 1, 2017. This project was a longstanding vision of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City Transit (MTA-NYCT). As part of the largest transportation network in the United States, it currently serves about 7.8 million passengers weekly on over 24 lines. However, on the east side of Manhattan, there was a great need for enhanced mass transit that had been anticipated since the 1920s.
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After winning the bid, Pinnacle Wireless went to work on solving the largest challenge of this project: distributing UHF from a single off-the-air source to underground tunnels and spaces stretching for over two miles. We began by assisting the MTA-NYCT, designers and other stakeholders to develop a workable design. We then implemented the solution by optimizing the passive distributed antenna system (DAS) and minimizing the addition of active equipment. In the final stages of the project, Pinnacle accelerated efficient final testing and system turn-up procedures to meet aggressive demands and deadlines.
Our successful efforts produced a safe and reliable configuration for fire, police and public safety radio coverage in the tunnels and throughout the stations, which exceeded the original requirements. The entire system also provides robust voice communication between the motormen and control towers.
Overall, Pinnacle played a key role in meeting deadlines and enhancing design, which facilitated a safe and timely opening of Phase One of the new Second Avenue Subway line. As the transit authorities reached this important milestone, a breakthrough was realized for riders on the east side of Manhattan. As the Governor of New York and local officials expressed, this completion is also a giant step in changing the perception of the MTA-NYCT as a faster and better transportation network.
A “Timely” Wireless Solution for the New Time Inc. Headquarters
When Time Inc., relocated their headquarters in lower Manhattan, the iconic publisher called the move a symbol of their independence and the completion of their spin off from Time Warner. In moving to this area of the city, Time joins other creative agencies and publishing houses in the migration to the rejuvenated downtown neighborhood. As the old address of 59 years passes into history, sights are set on being a potent brand for next generation audiences while disseminating information on all preferred platforms, not just print alone. Their move symbolizes this intent as well.
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Brookfield Place, the site of Time Inc.’s new home, is a dense group of skyscrapers situated directly across the street from the World Trade Center. As offices were being completed, the company faced stringent building code requirements, including an imperative for up-to-date Public Safety Life Safety (PSLS) communications. This job was no small task as the coverage area was six floors and approximately 500,000 square feet. Still, with the protection of office staff being paramount, PSLS communication devices had to operate without interruption and security personnel needed access to seamless connectivity. Without rock-solid network design and installation, codes would not be met and personal safety could be compromised.
Time Inc.’s relationship with Pinnacle Wireless had begun months earlier when, at their former location, we solved operational problems in a two-way communications system that had been previously installed by a different contractor. Once those issues were corrected, Pinnacle became the wireless RF contractor of choice to the media giant.
Pinnacle teams went to work designing and engineering Time Inc.’s new PSLS system. We provided design, staging, coverage and sweep testing as well as expert project management. Through adept and responsive action we overcame a challenge of securing frequencies for the new system. This involved analysis of the legacy frequency usage, capacity and contingencies of the new site. Ultimately, our team obtained Federal Communications Commission authority to deploy some unused frequencies that were obtained years prior, and to relocate others. Knowing that we were also responsible for avioding interference from the massive World Trade Center systems, our engineers and project manager collaborated intently to ensure that this crucial requirement was met.
Essentially, our solutions were developed through site visits, computer-engineered design and skillful engineering and installation supervision. Also, Pinnacle performed a series of measurements to verify full coverage. We conducted approximately 1,000 Delivered Audio Quality (DAQ) tests that examined every 25’x25’ cubic sector, as well as Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) tests.
With attention to detail throughout the processes described above, we achieved our goal of customer satisfaction with the end result of a Pinnacle designed Distributed Antenna System (DAS) integrated with a MOTOTRBO two-way radio network. We successfully engineered triple redundancy thus assuring continuous service that will help maintain a secure work environment for personnel and deliver complete coverage throughout the site. To Time Inc.’s delight, Pinnacle completed this project on time, within scope and within budget. After experiencing superior performance from Pinnacle, Time contracted us to design, install, integrate and implement a similar system in their other new office location in Industry City, Brooklyn that houses the staff of one of the company’s newest brands.
Pinnacle Wireless delivers complete wireless and wireline communications solutions for clients in the public and private sector, including the transportation, public safety, energy, education, government, carrier, and enterprise markets.