The following paragraphs summarize some of the more notable projects on which Mr. Blais has worked. Use the links in navigation pane at the left to move directly specific technologies or industries.
Mr. Blais’ experience with commercial wireless began with the deployment of the Orlando non-wireline system. He later went on to design and deploy systems in Beaumont, Roanoke and Casper as well as numerous Rural Service Area (RSA) markets.
He later became a consultant on the team that MCI had assembled to pursue PCS license. In this capacity, he supported the coverage design and deployment planning activities. He also provided support to NORTEL during the initial planning and roll-out phases of the Sprint PCS deployment. On the international side, he provided support to AT&T during the roll-out planning for the UniTel PCN rollout in London.
Mr. Blais recently completed the design radio system design for three-site point-to-multipoint wireless broadband network for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) covering an entire city in Texas. The point-to-multipoint data system communicates with a variety of devices throughout the city to collect streaming video, Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) data, Video Imaging Vehicle Detection System (VIVDS) data, provide communications with Dynamic Messaging Signs (DMS), and to provide communications links with intersection signal controllers. The system will provide broadband data links of between 3 Mbps and 9 Mbps per remote location into three 6-scctor base station hubs. The technologies being considered include both outdoor 802.11a and WiMAX. This system also includes several point-to-point MW systems linking the three multipoint hubs to the Traffic Management Center (TMC). Additional high-speed digital links provide extensions of the existing fiber network to the TMS and other monitoring locations in the city. In addition to performing the radio coverage design, Mr. Blais managed the field survey activities, performed the capacity analyses, filed FAA study information for the towers being proposed and provided budgetary information to support the project planning process.
During 1999 and 2000, Mr. Blais supported the nation-wide deployment of the Metricom-Ricochet broadband wireless network as acting RF Engineering Director and senior technical consultant. Ricochet was nation-wide system delivering fixed and mobile broadband services to the 30 largest cities in the USA. During the deployment, he directed and managed the primary RF engineering and site acquisition contractor, established administrative processes, and developed and documented the design standards and guidelines. He was responsible for the RF engineering of the network and conducted design reviews, and approved radio system coverage, capacity analyses and radio resource provisioning.
Mr. Blais has designed a number of point-to-point radio systems to carry traffic video for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). These systems are used to bridge gaps in the existing fiber system and to provide “temporary” links to maintain communications during highway reconstruction projects. In these projects, he developed radio link designs between camera locations provided by TxDOT using typical equipment performance parameters, and terrain and land cover data. He also directed the field survey and verification activities verifying the location and height of potential obstacles along the path, and collecting spectrum usage data needed to develop a frequency plan. The final design was documented in a formal report for presentation to TxDOT.
Mr. Blais also recently completed the design radio system design for three-site point-to-multipoint wireless broadband network for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) covering an entire city in Texas. The point-to-multipoint data system communicates with a variety of devices throughout the city to collect streaming video, Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) data, Video Imaging Vehicle Detection System (VIVDS) data, provide communications with Dynamic Messaging Signs (DMS), and to provide communications links with intersection signal controllers. The system will provide broadband data links of between 3 Mbps and 9 Mbps per remote location into three 6-scctor base station hubs. The technologies being considered include both outdoor 802.11a and WiMAX. This system also includes several point-to-point MW systems linking the three multipoint hubs to the Traffic Management Center (TMC). Additional high-speed digital links provide extensions of the existing fiber network to the TMS and other monitoring locations in the city. In addition to performing the radio coverage design, Mr. Blais managed the field survey activities, performed the capacity analyses, filed FAA study information for the towers being proposed and provided budgetary information to support the project planning process.
In 2003, Mr. Blais developed, deployed and demonstrated the use of wireless links to extend the video surveillance capability for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LA-DOT) beyond the reach of their fiber system. He also developed, deployed and demonstrated a wide-area wireless data network used to extend communications to traffic signal controllers not having connectivity the existing fiber network. The radio systems connected with the fiber system to extend communications the Advanced Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) Center. The ATSAC, along with its video and signal control capabilities were featured in the movie “The Italian Job” released in 2003.
The most recent work done by Mr. Blais in PLMR has been with public safety systems. Please see the section below for recent activities. Prior to his recent public safety involvement, he performed a comprehensive feasibility study for a California electric utility to determine the best way to meet their current and future mobile communications needs while replacing their aging analog two-way radio system. The project included a background study of their existing operations and how radio communications were used, a survey of available technologies suitable of meeting the current and future requirements, an evaluation of infrastructure sharing options with other non-profit and for-profit organizations operating similar radio systems in the geographic area, lease-buy analysis for owned verses leased infrastructure, and culminated with an scoring methodology to evaluate each option against a set of weighted performance and cost criteria. The analysis also included a financial analysis and recommended the preferred approach for the replacement system.
In 2006 Mr. Blais developed a system-level design for a proposal to Cumberland County, Tennessee by EADS. In this capacity, he identified potential base station locations capable of providing the required radio signal coverage, evaluated potential base station sites, recommended the sites to be deployed and engineered a digital IP microwave radio backbone to tie the entire system together and to the countywide E-911 center. Once EADS won the project, Mr. Blais joined the team to deploy the P25 digital two-way radio system and backbone MW network. He filled the role of technical lead for the post-sale engineering and deployment activities. In this capacity he developed the radio coverage engineering, microwave radio link design, performed the site engineering for the antennas, transmission lines, filtering and combining, intermodulation analysis, rack profiles, equipment lists, interconnection diagrams, power load analyses, UPS and generator specification, etc.
Prior to his work with EADS, Mr. Blais provided services to a number of Public Safety organizations upgrading or rearranging their radio communications facilities. In the process, he coordinated the relocation of transmitter sites to new towers, managed the coordination of frequencies at the new locations for FCC needed to support license modifications, filed with the FCC to modify the licenses and obtained airspace clearance from the FAA for these locations.
Most of the work performed by Mr. Blais has been associated with commercial and private land mobile radio systems, security systems and with transportation projects. He engineered a project in Puerto Rico providing communications for a Waste Water Treatment System. This network was used to connect the monitoring and control equipment in waste-water pumping stations to a central control facility. For this project, he performed the route planning, calculated the link budgets, determined the antenna sizes, developed path profiles and determined the antenna heights, and performed the radio path surveys to assure the radio paths had adequate clearance. In addition to path design, Mr. Blais worked with tower vendors to develop tower and footer designs capable of meeting the antenna mounting height requirements while providing survivability for hurricane-force winds common in that part of the Caribbean.
Another significant MW project was a feasibility study for an electric utility in the Midwestern United States investigating the replacement of an aging analog microwave system with digital equipment. This project assessed the current infrastructure, the communications it provided, and developed a plan to replace the existing analog equipment with digital microwave and multiplex equipment. The plan also included fiber-radio trade-off analyses for the shorter links where the power utility had ROW, and produced recommended hybrid fiber-radio network architecture. The plan resulted in a five-phased project roll-out plan and schedule, and cost estimates by deployment phase. It also included several options for carrying streaming video surveillance traffic for security applications.
Mr. Blais first became involved in radio systems supporting security and surveillance applications with the design of an OC-3 point-to-point radio microwave backbone to carry radar, video and surveillance data in and around Corpus Christi Bay and the Port of Corpus Christi. The design of this included the analysis of traffic requirements and connectivity, and the design of over-water links that also crossed port facilities and refineries. The system was 35 miles long and connected VHF radio sites, radar sites and video surveillance sites to a security command center, the harbor master’s office and the U. S. Coast Guard offices at the Port.
Mr. Blais developed a similar radio system backbone network design needed to link video surveillance sites along the Beaumont-Port Arthur ship channel into the U. S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Tracking Center in Port Arthur. The project included performing site and radio path surveys, developing the network architecture, performing capacity analyses and recommending equipment for the actual implementation.
Another security project done was for radio systems supporting airport security systems. This project was performed for the commercial division of a large defense contractor and provided a a radio network using WAN and RFID technologies to track food and merchandize for airport concessions and other materials entering and traveling through the airport. The system design also included an indoor and outdoor Local Positioning System (LPS) to report the location of security officers and other key airport personnel, as well as tracking high-value portable and mobile equipment.
Mr. Blais began the satellite communications portion of his career with GTE Satellite Corp. There he held the position of Earth Station Engineer, and was the technical lead during the construction and initial operation of a Standard A earth station and terrestrial MW radio route connecting it into the national long distance network. He provided technical support during equipment addition and maintenance activities, prepared specifications, and performed or assisted in special studies at the direction of GTE Laboratories and GSAT headquarters.
He subsequently moved to corporate headquarters in Stamford, CT. where he held the position of Staff Engineer responsible for transmission equipment additions to the GSAT segment of the joint GTE/AT&T domestic satellite system. In this capacity, he prepared budgets, schedules, work orders and specifications for earth station and terrestrial radio equipment additions. He also administered frequency coordination and prepared documentation for submission to the FCC. He was the point of contact with AT&T, the Bell Operating Companies, and other carriers to assure continuity for interconnection projects on a local as well as national basis. He was later promoted to Senior Staff Engineer, managed the technical portion of R & D projects for satellite-based digital multiple access networks for voice, data and compressed video. He prepared system specifications and participated in the development and initial implementation of a TDMA satellite network for private services. He also prepared and executed test plans for factory and over-the-air field tests of prototype and production equipment. He served as the principal technical interface with GTE Laboratories, the FCC and equipment manufacturers. He prepared management reports and provided FCC authorization support. He also supported the equipment designers in the resolution of hardware design problems impacting system performance.
Later, Mr. Blais moved to TELSPEC in Hauppauge, New York. There he served as Systems Engineering Manager leading a team of three engineers. The system engineering group developed system definitions and hardware requirements in response to RFPs, provided technical support for proposal preparation and pricing, and served as the chief technical advisor on consulting contracts performed for major defense contractors.
Systems Engineering Manager, Developed radio system requirements, design and hardware requirements in response to RFPs for radio-based digital and analog networks. Provided technical support for proposal preparation and pricing activities. Supported the factory and installation forces in identifying and resolving design problems at a system level. Prepared acceptance test programs and procedures. Conducted final acceptance tests with the customer.
The most significant multi-disciplinary project Mr. Blais directed was an airport security project using a variety of interconnected radio systems. This project was performed for the commercial division of a large defense contractor and provided a a radio network using point-to-point, WLAN and RFID technologies to track food and merchandize for airport concessions and other materials entering and traveling through the airport. The system design also included an indoor and outdoor Local Positioning System (LPS) to report the location of security officers and other key airport personnel, as well as tracking high-value portable and mobile equipment.
Mr. Blais began his legal experience provided technical analyses, opinions, and served as an expert technical witness to Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerach of New York in a class action legal case involving cellular service in the United States. This case centered on a defect in the AT&T infrastructure equipment resulting in false disconnects for subscribers during a conversation.
Mr. Blais also served as an expert technical witness in a trial involving the interception of wireless communications in the USA. The case went to trial and he supported the defense team prior to the trial and testified as an expert during the trial. He was also providing technical services to a local startup in the area of wireless Internet access at the time.
Mr. Blais was one of several experts that provided support for Fulbright-Jaworski in an IP dispute between Harris Corporation and Ericsson involving the North American digital cellular air interface and the operation of certain features.
Mr. Blais worked on several projects involving advanced technologies and new services for wireless mobile telecommunications. Recently, he served as the technical and regulatory lead in a price cap study for wireless services for the nation of Bolivia. This project is financed through the World Bank for SITTEL. He also supported PCS and 3G spectrum allocation and licensing activities for the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Government of Columbia on behalf of Global Telecommunications Investment Group. GTIG was part of an international team for this project, and was headed by Credit Suisse – First Boston Corp. Mr. Blais’ participation included developing a spectrum plan to permit the licensing of US PCS frequencies while keeping UMTS-3G channels open for future auction opportunities. It also included a clearing plan for currently occupied parts of the spectrum as part of the final recommendations.
Later, he developed the technical content and provided administrative and regulatory support to Carroll, Burdick & McDonough of San Francisco for the development of an international tender for the B-Band cellular license for Paraguay. License was granted in October and raised $46 million.
Over the years, Mr. Blais has provided technical support to numerous business ventures. These include:
Coverage predictions and backbone network design support to BellSouth International during their pursuit of the cellular markets in Mexico.
Two business plans for regional broadband wireless networks in the mid-west and southwest under the USDA-RUS program. His technical input became part of venture plans submitted to several of the premier funding organizations in the USA. He assisted in preparing presentations and presented the technical portions.
Technology evaluations and design support for the international tender activities of Global Telecom Investment Company in its PCS project in Bolivia for LMDS and MMDS, and wide area computer and Internet systems. His activities included coverage analysis, frequency reuse plans and link margins.
He also supported the development of tenders for several cellular telephone systems in South America with demographics and coverage analyses, backbone network designs, and infrastructure construction and operational cost estimates.
Version 0.2, February 19, 2010