Renewal of the Central Control Center

Control Room
Control Room Technology
Virtual KVM Gateways
KVM System
Published 3. April 2024

Central IP-KVM media control system for optimized mission communication

Qvest has redesigned the control center technology of the Central Control Center of Wetteraukreis. Mission control stations, meeting rooms, and the command center were integrated into a central media control system.

The challenge in the renewal was to modernize the existing technology to meet the increased demands of the fire department, emergency medical services, and civil protection – covering an operational area of ​​approximately 1,100 km2 with a population of around 310,000 people. IT devices, workstation screens, smart displays, and large monitors were provided by the client.

Issue: Existing Infrastructure Reached Its Limits

The existing infrastructure of the Central Control Center had reached its limits in terms of emergency call acceptance, alerting, and communication handling. As part of the upgrade of the county-owned property in Friedberg, Hesse, Qvest implemented a comprehensive upgrade of the control center technology.

The core of this upgrade was the integration of a modern IP-KVM system with up to 4K/60 Hz resolution, allowing for crisp display on all workstation screens, smart displays, and large monitors. Thanks to the existing fiber optic multimode cabling, distances of up to 300 meters for transmitting a 4K signal (@60Hz, 4:4:4@8bit) posed no problem.

Solution: Comprehensive Technology Upgrade

The installation of 51 workstation modules and 53 computer module extenders, supported by two virtual KVM gateways, creates a flexible and redundant control infrastructure. The KVM matrix is operated through intuitive touch panels or web-based HTML5 client PC applications. An additional Watchguard firewall prevents unauthorized access and ensures system security.

For the network architecture, advanced M4300-96X switches from the manufacturer Netgear are utilized. The switches are equipped with redundant power supplies, configured as a stack, and provide the Layer-3 AV network. With a stacking bandwidth of 240 GB, high availability and reliability are achieved.

Integration of an IP-KVM system with the following core components

  • 51 workstation modules, 4K DisplayPort 1.2, Extender over IP, redundant, in fiber. The range of the 4K extenders is 300 meters (at a resolution of 4096x2160 @ 60Hz with a color coding of 4:4:4 @8 bit) for workstations and sinks.
  • 53 computer modules, 4K DisplayPort 1.2 with active HDMI converters, Extender over IP, redundant, in fiber. The range of the 4K extenders is 300 meters (at a resolution of 4096x2160 @ 60Hz with a color coding of 4:4:4 @8 bit) for sources.
  • Two Virtual KVM Gateways for the virtual computers (sources).
  • Control of the KVM matrix via touch panel or web pages (HTML5) of the client PCs of a Vuwall system. The web service controls the interface (API) of the KVM switching manager. The touch panel also serves as a fallback layer since it is directly integrated into the KVM network.
  • The control of the KVM system is done directly from the workstations and via a touch panel. To prevent unintended access between the networks of the control system and the AV system, control is done through a Watchguard firewall.
  • The KVM network is built with four identical switches of type M4300-96X as a Layer-3 network from the manufacturer Netgear. Modular 96-port switches are used, configured as a stack. The stacking function is realized through 6 x 40G ports each. This provides 240 GB of bandwidth for transmitting signals between the switches. Thus, the function of the remaining system is ensured in the event of a complete switch failure. The switches are equipped with 10G fiber or CAT connections according to their functionality and have redundant power supplies.

Benefits: Powerful and Reliable Control Room Technology

The Central Control Room in the Wetteraukreis now has powerful and reliable control room technology that significantly improves operational processes for emergency call reception and processing. Additionally, the high resolution and intuitive control ensure smooth information flow and enhanced decision-making during emergencies. The redundant and secure network design ensures continuous availability and reliability of the system even during outages, thereby ensuring continuous operational readiness. The renewal is therefore not only a technological improvement but also a significant investment in the safety and efficiency of the emergency services in the Wetteraukreis.

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