1. #1
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    Post New radio interoperability system?

    By Marguerite Reardon
    URL: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1035_22-5911356.html
    Cisco Systems announced on Monday an Internet Protocol communications system designed to link radio networks used by police, fire, rescue and other public-safety departments.

    Today, in most cities and towns, each department has its own radio communications network. Typically these networks operate independently and are not compatible with each other.

    The lack of radio interoperability has been identified as a problem in early responses to recent disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, relief efforts were a mess in part because first responders were unable to communicate with each other. The lack of radio interoperability also was a problem in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, when firefighters and police struggled to stay in touch over department networks that were incompatible with each other.


    Cisco's communications system, called the Internet Protocol Interoperability and Collaboration Systems, or IPics, uses software to connect existing radio and cell phone networks over an IP network. Radio and cell phone conversations from various networks are converted into IP packets, and that traffic is sent over the existing IP-based data network. The packet data is then converted back to voice so that it can be heard over any and all of the participating networks.

    Many local agencies have contemplated replacing old radios with newer ones that are compatible with radio systems used by other departments and agencies--often a very costly process. Cisco executives said IPics will allow agencies to continue to use existing equipment, saving them the expense of replacing an entire system.

    "We haven't announced pricing yet, but I think it's compelling given the alternative," Charles Giancarlo, Cisco's chief development officer, said at press event in New York City where the technology was introduced. "It will probably be about 10 cents to the dollar when compared to replacing radios. That's a bargain."

    IPics is expected to be ship commercially in the first half of 2006. Cisco is already testing the solution in several cities. The city of Honolulu is among those testing the technology.

    "The lesson from Hurricane Katrina was communication, communication, communication," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann of Honolulu. "Public safety has to be a priority. Then we can go to constituents and start talking about investments that have to be made in upgrading the networks."

    Cisco has focused much of the early development and marketing efforts for IPics on government agencies, but also sees it being adapted for use in large companies.

    The first iteration of the product will focus strictly on overcoming the radio interoperability problem, but because the system is based on IP, the company plans to integrate other types of communication, such as instant messaging and automated alerts, into IPics products.

    Integration of this sort, for example, would allow a dispatcher at a public-safety headquarters to write an instant message alert, which could be broadcast to handsets in the field as a voice alert.

    Cisco also is working on developing a system that would send alerts automatically should certain emergencies arise, such as a chemical leak or a security breach in which an unauthorized individual attempted to break into a secured facility.

  2. #2
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    They certainly aren't the first ones to come up with this, but it looks like a nice system none the less.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I'd be a little concerned that this interoperability depends on IP for its communications. Access to the Internet is hardly reliable, especially during major events like Katrina. This is especially true since acces is typically tied to hardlines or wireless towers.
    This would be useful to tie various wireless(radio) data sources together at a central location like a County EOC using a local LAN, but until wireless broadband catches on in the US probably doesn't scale much past that.

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    IP or something like it is the future it's true. All cell phones are digital now for the most part and there is a digital standard for portable radios too that the feds are pushing. It is only a small step to integrate everything into an Internet like entity now. It only takes money and time.

    Right now, I've said it before and I'll say it again, high band is the way to go darnit!

    Birken

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    By 2007 10% of all households will be using VoIP for communications. The next generation of E911 will be using IP.

    This will happen VERY quickly over the next 5 years or so.... Whoever said this is the next generation, you are more correct then you think.

    We thought cell phones advanced quickly, those things will be nothing compared to this....

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    I would also be leary of trusting critical infrastructure over a long distance to rely on the internet. However, there are many IP based systems that work very nicely on a LAN that isn't subject to internet connectivity. You can very creative with the use of WLAN equipment for a system that can be deployed in the field at a scene too.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9
    local LAN
    I have never heard of a local local area network...
    FTM - PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Do you realize that VoIP does exactly that. They use Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure the voice gets a higher priority. Also ATM in the core fo the internet helps to reduce the jitter. There is a whole bunch of critical stuff already flying over the internet. All of your banking goes over the internet. The internet is pretty robust in it's current state.
    Yes. I know. I still am not ready to bank everything for our emergency communications on it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Using IP based networks to interconnect your radio systems has ZERO to do with securing your communications and has no effect at all on what a scanner listener hears. It connects the radios together. It doesn't change what goes over the air.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    It changes how and what can be sent. Info will be sent in data packets.

    For me as a Telecommunicator, it means that a person with a cell phone that can take pictures can call 911 and also send me the picture of the accident they just witnessed, or the structure on fire. It changes what info will come up on my ANI/ALI dramatically. Alot of potential and it is coming.

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    I'm not too sure of what kind of benifit this would have from a dispatchers point of view. I start my new job as a dispatcher monday so hopefully awhile after that I'll have a better understanding of this whole thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    I guess I'm a step ahead.
    Oh just a few there. Don't give them ideas, A portable radio is expensive enough already.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Yeah, co$t is the major factor here I am sure. Cell phones are cheap but not really, they are actually quite high tech little gadgets and you pay for it over time with your contract. Plus to make a radio that would work well for fire it would have to be a lot more robust both in physical construction and in performance level than a cell phone. $$$ Someday in a perfect world it will all work but everything is so royally screwed up right now it is just all crap.

    Birken

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    Interesting, that kind of confirms what I was thinking...APCO 25 will be the low level layer and TCPIP will be the protocol...now if only we can convince them to stay with high band and not go to this newfangled 700 MHz things will be just dandy...eventually

    Birken

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    Default major downfall

    The one big thing about this system not working is that it is dependant on power. Two months after katrina there are still areas down here that do not have power, with no power your not hooking up to the internet to use you brand new super fantastic system.

    another thing to think about, repeater systems, we have one at my home department with a few conventional side chanels. Granted it does have a back up generator for the repeater tower but just something to think about incase ya haven't yet.
    Doug Velting Jr
    President Cassville Volunteer Fire Co
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    We are talking about it using Internet protocol, not relying on the Internet as its physical transport. The airwaves or dedicated land lines will still be the dedicated transport possibly using the Internet as a backup. But since APCO 25 makes possible completely digital radios it makes sense to use IP as the protocol since it is already so widely used.

    In other words the only thing that would change would be the radios themselves, and how they are selected by the users, and how many could be on at one time. Then of course you could add extra digital information, Internet access, the list goes on and on.

    Dependent on power just like any other radio system. Where I work every vault has a huge bank of batteries and a charger which every radio runs off of of, all the time, and a generator sized large enough to carry the whole load should the mains cut out, meaning the batteries will only carry it for as long as the generator takes to get online, but the batteries are sized for several hours at least in case the generator doesn't start. The generators of course have enough propane to run them for days and even weeks I suspect.

    Birken

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    That makes a little bit more sense, misinterpereted on my end
    Doug Velting Jr
    President Cassville Volunteer Fire Co
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    www.cassvillefire.org
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