Perle Systems Case Study
The Devon Fire and Rescue Service provide emergency services in partnership with other emergency services and agencies. It also provides community fire safety, education, premises inspection, and other related functions. Devon Fire and Rescue attends more than 18,000 emergency calls a year including fires, road accidents, and other urgent incidents.
When a 999 call from a member of the public is received at the Devon Fire and Rescue Service’s Headquarters in Clyst St. George, United Kingdom, the nearest fire station has to be quickly alerted. There were individual private point-to-point communications circuits between the control room and mobilising units at 58 outlying fire stations. The mobilising unit contains an alarm that rings and flashing lights to alert station staff of an emergency. In addition, the mobilising unit sends data to a printer that gives the location and nature of the emergency.
Each point-to-point communication circuit was costing the service up to £5,000 per year. In addition to these primary links, BT Highway ISDN circuits provided three lines for each fire station. Two of the links were used for a computer connection and telephone while the third provided a back-up alerting system. The connection speeds of 64 Kbps were insufficient for the ever increasing IT demands.
By upgrading to broadband from Telewest, the Devon Fire and Rescue Service has cut costs, increased efficiency, eliminated the private circuit network, and enabled fast connection speeds. When an emergency call is received, the control room signals the station nearest to the incident over a Virtual Private Network on broadband Internet.
At each fire station, a router is connected to a Perle IOLAN DS1 single port device server via an Ethernet interface. This, in turn, is connected to the serial COM port on the station’s mobilising unit. And, to ensure 100% reliability, the router, Perle IOLAN DS1, and mobilising unit are powered by an uninterruptible power supply to avoid power failure issues.
There are 114 fire appliances at the 58 fire stations throughout the county. The new solution allows fast IT connections over broadband and, in conjunction with the Perle IOLAN DS1, is now part of a highly reliable alerting system that helps to saves lives.
Serial devices, such as Devon Fire and Rescue Services specialist mobilising unit, remain critical in many of today’s IP-driven networks due to their superb reliability and simplicity. The compact and robust IOLAN DS1 offered high reliability, no maintenance, and remote management features to ensure its inclusion in this mission critical application. In addition the IOLAN DS1 supported the necessary input power range of 9-30v DC. This allowed Devon Fire and Rescue to save costs, as there was no need to purchase a separate adaptor.
“Downtime is not an option and we require all of our equipment to be 100 percent reliable. As a longstanding Perle user, we were already familiar with Perle quality and performance as well as the lifetime warranty. The Perle IOLAN DS1 single port device servers have proved a very flexible and reliable solution that we can view, manage, and configure remotely.” Peter Trout, Communications Officer, Devon Fire and Rescue Service.