Tetra | 2019-02-04

Norwegian Public Safety Communications Network Experience Outages

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The municipality of Stranda, Norway, a municipality in the Møre og Romsdal county, experienced Nødnett outages on 14 and 15 January, due to the unavailability of leased transmission lines.

In Geiranger, Nødnett was inaccessible for most of the time of January 14, while in Hellesylt there was downtime in Nødnett from the afternoon of January 14 to the evening the following day.

In total, four base stations, which are connected in a ring, were unavailable these days, explains the department director for emergency and emergency communication in DSB, Sigurd Heier.

Leased lines

The main reason for the outcomes were errors on two leased transmission lines at Telenor. Double faults meant that both main roads into the ring with Nødnett base stations went down. Telenor has stated to DSB that one transmission line was broken due to wood fall in two places. According to Telenor, the second transmission line went down as a result of a technical error. There were extensive problems in the area due to bad weather.

Locating errors and subsequent error correction was time consuming. However, after the faults were rectified, base stations in Nødnett were continuously available.

Luckily, during the incident, there was sufficient power at the Nødnett base stations in the village of Geiranger, Hellesylt and Geirangerfjord .

Other problems

There were a number of unfortunate circumstances that occurred in the same period. Prior to the incident, we had problems with a base station at Dalsnibba which made Nødnett in the area more vulnerable than it usually is. We are now looking at several measures to avoid a similar situation happening again, Heier explains.

The base station at Dalsnibba is without a fixed power supply and is powered by a diesel generator and fuel cell. There was an error associated with the transfer of diesel between two tanks. There were several attempts to fill up the tank, but the helicopter was prevented by the weather situation. From January 21, 2019, the base station functioned as normal.

"The agencies seem to have handled incidents in an excellent way and some have told us that they used direct mode to communicate in Nødnett," said Heier.