Enabling emergency networks in the mountains

Enabling emergency networks in the mountains

Eltel has developed emergency communications networks in the remote Swedish mountains for people in need and rescue teams.

5 min

Sweden’s northern mountain wilderness offers excellent opportunities for various outdoor activities, but enjoying these remote areas comes with risks even for the most experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Communication in Sweden’s mountainous region has always been problematic for the country’s emergency services as people in need of help or search and rescue teams may have limited or no radio connectivity.

Eltel supports the emergency services

Eltel has been working with the Swedish Police to develop, upgrade and maintain the mountain radio network in northern Sweden since 2002. “In the most recent phase, we upgraded the mountain radio network to the nationwide RAKEL system, and installed 110 RAKEL emergency telephones in mountain cabins,” explains Ingemar Åström, Service Engineer at Eltel.

Satellite solution provides emergency connectivity

Because the RAKEL network does not provide full coverage in mountainous areas, Eltel has delivered a satellite solution to connect 17 emergency telephones. These telephones look and work just like RAKEL telephones and ensure good connectivity despite their remote nature and natural barriers.

Ensuring a robust emergency communications network

Eltel developed and installed the emergency telephones that are now available along all mountain hiking routes in Sweden. The telephones are designed to cope with harsh outdoor conditions, and instantly connect to the RLC control centre in Umeå, which coordinates emergency responses.

“The mountain emergency telephones – including those with a satellite link – provide a clear connection and are easy to use for anyone who requires emergency support,” says Åström. “They have their own off-grid solar panel and battery system to power them year-round, and even a ‘sleep mode’ to minimise power consumption when not in use.”

Safety is only a phone call away

The emergency mountain telephones allow people to enjoy the northern Swedish wilderness, knowing that safety is only a phone call away.

“We are even installing the RAKEL telephones for the Swedish emergency services in remote villages where they act as an emergency communications backup for rural communities,” explains Åström. “There is certainly more potential to install more of them around Sweden.”

Sweden’s RAKEL network

RAKEL is Sweden’s nationwide digital communications system used by the emergency services. It is the world’s geographically largest Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) public safety network.

An Eltel consortium built the entire national RAKEL network in Sweden, which now covers 99.8% of Sweden’s population and 95% of its territory.