Public safety Network, an alternative approach



Cost effective public safety network using internet VPN technology

This write up is an attempt to present an alternative robust public safety network which is within the reach of third world countries like Nigeria instead of the expensive specialized police or public safety network.

If we look at the cost of deploying what Nigeria has today, estimated at 470m USD for CAPEX alone in addition to the prohibitive operational expenditure (OPEX) , we simply cannot maintain a public safety network.

But a public safety network is a must do for any country in managing both actual public safety as well as perception of the outside global community on issues of public safety.

What we have tried to do in presenting an alternative view point and design is to present what is both cost effective and manageable.

The design as presented can be effectively implement at 10m USD for a city like Abuja on CAPEX and as low as 1m USD on OPEX.

It is an attempt to harness the power of private networks for public good, using generic devices and components and already available network infrastructure.




A typical Video surveillance privet Network

The present security situation in Nigeria requires very innovative ways of combating terrorism.

Part of which will require a robust, cheap public safety network.

The highlights of this design are:

  1. It is a private public network
  2. The networks are owned by private concerns, markets, malls , hotels etc. but yet it is all integrated into an effective managed public safety network
  3. It uses very off the shelf network elements based on IP technology

The core design strategy is to harness the effectiveness of private networks for public safety. It is based on the fact that the management of a purely public security network is a nightmare for the Nigerian Police or any other National security organ.

In turning scattered private networks into public safety network, you will leverage on the maintenance ability of the private enterprise and yet be able to provide public safety.

In doing this the operational expenditure (OPEX) on the side of the government and its organ is almost nonexistence or near zero.

The network s will be wholly private networks, yet with a public interface.

It has the capacity to carry both video and voice signals.

It is also easily integrated into a mobile unit for mobile patrol units.

The concept is quite simple.

  1. Ask all markets, malls, complexes to install IP based video surveillance systems
  2. Integrate the networks with IP phones
  3. Provide an interface to a central IP network via simple VPN networks through the internet cloud
  4. Link the network system to mobile LTE handhelds for patrol units


A simple prototype design for a fairly large city is provided below

This simple design has the capacity to send triggers from schools, library, malls, and markets to either the municipal council or police stations, or ambulance units, firefighters etc.

The total cost of this design covering all the major cities in the country may just  be within a range of 70million USD with very minimal OPEX, as most operating expenditures will be borne by the owners of these networks; as compared to the ZTE provided network of 470million USD with unimaginable OPEX.

Think of what the Chinese company provided and the attendant maintenance cost.

  1. It is proprietary
  2. Two Diesel Generating set per base station( to cover the nation you may need 4,000 Base stations meaning you will have to provide 8,000 generating sets)
  3. Requires extensive training and manpower to manage what is a carrier class network
  4. The OPEX is not within the budget of any third world country

In our alternative approach, the cities can actually be linked together to a central command and control center if so desired for central control, but this is not necessary for operation. This is depicted below in a fairly simply schematic way below. And that can be done with our own re-launched satellite system if it is in operation, or simply via the internet cloud.














The basic components of this network are:

  1. IP/non IP Cameras,
  2. IP based NVR’s Or DVR’s
  3. IP Phones
  4. Low cost switches routers
  5. Power supply back up and few cablings


At the central Network the components are:

  1. Large screen display Units
  2. High Capacity routers and firewalls
  3. Power supply back up units
  4. Personal computers or servers


A typical control room


There are two methods that can be adopted.

  1. Using public IP addresses for all the NVR’s and DVR’s OR
  2. Use a licensed software (Like Team View) to provide a tunnel view of all the networks through the internet for a less expensive implementation


A total solution will include but not limited to:

  • Video storage
  • Video retrieval system
  • Video on demand
  • License plate alarm trigger
  • Alarms generation
  • Alert to patrol units
  • And many more


Indeed we do need a simple robust public safety network to deliver prompt alert and effective communication suit to both law enforcement units and those managing our cities. But it does not have to be at a cut throat cost to our economy.



Henry O Ohakwe

Telecoms and security consultant



Author: nmmin

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