Raytheon Co. developed a mobile Civil Communications solutions demonstration that allows first responders to experience seamless communications capabilities that could help save lives when crises strike.
The mobile demonstration unit is a high-tech experience where public safety professionals can fully immerse themselves in rescue scenarios and realize the benefits that interoperable communications provide.
The experience features Raytheon’s open architecture solutions, which allow users who operate on different types and frequencies of legacy communications networks to communicate locally and regionally, or in systems that span the United States.
First responders receiving the demonstrations are encouraged to bring their own radios (Motorola, Harris, EF Johnson, Kenwood, Sprint, etc.) and use them to communicate with any radio on another system or frequency. “For more than 40 years, Raytheon has provided soldiers on the battlefield access to seamless, interoperable voice, video and data communications systems, without the benefit of existing infrastructure,” said Jerry Powlen, Raytheon Network Centric Systems’ vice president of Integrated Communications Systems. “We have now taken that proven technology and applied it in a public safety environment, virtually eliminating barriers to communication when it matters most.”
Raytheon’s Civil Communications Solutions Demo Trailer began in Los Angeles and will provide demonstrations around the country to first responder agencies at the state and local levels. It travels on a 33-ton, 53-foot, 18-wheel vehicle that expands to 733 square feet—twice its normal size—when stationary. It is also a self-contained unit, complete with all the necessary equipment for a variety of live, interactive demonstrations using Raytheon’s array of Civil Communications products. “When police officers and firefighters from different municipalities respond to emergencies, incompatible radios can hinder basic communication,” said Mike Bostic, Raytheon NCS Director of Civil Communications and a 34-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). “The technology exists to solve that problem, so we want to visit our public safety professionals, and let them see for themselves how a truly interoperable communications system can help make them safer.”
In the past, agencies experienced never-ending battles deciding when to replace communications systems. Interoperability didn’t exist, so there was no talking to anyone, just yourself. According to Bostic, Raytheon built an open architecture network in the defense industry years ago. So the same technology is being applied to public safety now, where true interoperability can be accomplished. First responders can communicate on any handset, any computer, any mobile device—different brands of phones can all work together. With the advent of smart phones, the network now drives the system.
The Raytheon Interoperability on Wheels Exhibit illustrates the system maturity and robustness of the Civil Communications interoperability product line while providing an understanding of the solutions migration ability to its visitors. “Most people think of defense projects and homeland security when they think of Raytheon. This trailer will show Raytheon’s Civil Communications division in a whole new vision,” said Charlie Penders, demonstration operations manager for the demo trailer. Penders played an instrumental part in designing and outfitting the new mobile exhibit for Raytheon. “We are very excited and want to get our customers excited about our interoperability product line by using the trailer’s impressive demonstration capabilities.”
The Civil Communications mobile demonstration trailer uses a hydraulic system to maneuver its expandable sections from “tour” status to event setup. The trailer is also handicapped accessible and is divided into three segmented compartments: a VIP lounge, a demonstration section and a rack or equipment room. The VIP lounge, located at the front of the trailer, provides a location for private meetings and presentations. The VIP lounge has an A/V connection and a 46-inch LED HDTV to be used for high-speed presentations.
The largest and most impressive area within the Civil Communications mobile event pavilion is the demonstration space located in the middle of the trailer. The demonstration area has dual side slide-outs, expanding the trailer to almost twice its normal size while in place. The unit’s entrance and exit doors are located within the demonstration area, allowing for the majority of visiting traffic. It is equipped with a total of seven 46-inch LED HDTVs which will continuously display 3D animated product demonstrations and graphics. The demonstration area of the trailer is separated into two spaces, each dedicated to a different demonstration for the visitors. The first section of the demonstration space houses three kiosks located at the front entrance. These kiosks provide a self-guided, interactive tour of the trailer using touchscreen GUI (Graphical User Interface) kiosk simulation. The second remaining section of the demonstration compartment is the communications console section or live demo area. This section provides visitors the opportunity to observe and/or participate in live product demonstrations of the Civil Communications interoperability product line. The last section of the trailer is the server room. The server room is located in the rear or left of the demo entrance section of the mobile showcase. This room is equipped with eight A/V and equipment racks, all on casters for easy movement. It was built to reduce noise that is produced by the equipment that powers the hardware demonstrations. In addition, the four areas are all individually temperature-controlled.
The trailer’s demonstration elements include product presentations that will utilize Raytheon’s WAIS (Wide Area Interoperability System), P25net Solution and ACU product lines. Demonstration tool types being used within the Civil Communications mobile demo pavilion include: RF (Radio Frequency) modeling and simulation, traffic modeling and simulation, LAN (Local Area Network)/WAN (Wide Area Network) management, network problem resolution, P25 CAI (Common Air Interface) test and measurement, P25 control channel management, P25 ISSI (Inter-RF Subsystem Interface) conformance testing, P25 ISSI emulation and traffic generation, network protocol analysis, IMBE (Improved Multi-Band Excitation)/AMBE (Advanced Multi-Band Excitation) + Voice Codec Testing, and a LAN/WAN Network Traffic Generator.
Raytheon is planning to take its Civil Communications Demonstration Trailer across the United States to highlight its capabilities. The trailer’s first appearance was in Las Vegas in March at the 2010 International Wireless Communication Expo (IWCE), where PSIT
staff saw its capabilities first-hand. Wide-Area Interoperability System (WAIS)
Raytheon’s Wide-Area Interoperability System (WAIS) allows users who operate on different types and frequencies of legacy communications systems to communicate locally, regionally or in systems that span entire states. EADS partnered with Raytheon and its COR(P25) is used in the trailer’s demos. In fact, there is more non-Raytheon equipment in the unit, according to Mike Fleenor, director of land navigation business development. They are patching every type of radio (legacy, analog) for 9-1-1 dispatching.
The WAIS software provides first responders with the means to connect their existing systems to meet operability and interoperability needs and avoid the otherwise costly and time-consuming task of purchasing new communications systems for an entire region or state. From any point on a network, a WAIS software user may configure, control and monitor any interconnected, on-site interoperability system.
Also, WAIS Controller software’s user-friendly, touchscreen interface presents the state of the system and allows operators to promptly make and break connections; it allows for built-in redundancy established via remote or shared control of communication interoperability; it provides a wide-area interoperability communications platform for critical incident command and control that is easily scalable; it allows efficient use of existing network resources with commercial-off-the-shelf equipment and proven radio over IP (ROIP) and voice over IP (VoIP) technology; and it offers the ability of remote access from any point on the network.
At IWCE, PlantCML, an EADS North America company, and Raytheon conducted joint demonstrations of APCO Project 25 (P25) Inter-RF Sub-System Interface (ISSI) and showcased other mission-critical solutions for public safety. IWCE attendees also witnessed production versions of Raytheon P25net and PlantCML’s COR(P25) radio systems communicating during the first tradeshow appearance of Raytheon’s Mobile Civil Communications Solutions vehicle.
In addition to the P25 product demonstrations, Raytheon’s trailer also showcased PlantCML’s industry-leading emergency call processing solution, VESTA, as well as the MapStar scalable mapping solution, and the GeoCastWeb Web-based secure, map-based notification system. Live demonstrations showcased the GeoCastWeb system, which offers secure, map-based notifications that can be launched from virtually any location.
“This mobile demonstration vehicle is an ideal opportunity to view multiple public safety solutions in a single location,” said Darrin J. Reilly, chief operating officer, PlantCML. “From CTI-based call processing platforms to emergency notification technology to P25 digital trunked radio, PlantCML proudly continues to offer solutions and services designed to streamline communications, expedite response and ultimately, save lives.” P25net Solution
When it comes to radio systems, compromise is not an option. P25net, the advanced IP networked radio system, provides full P25 capabilities on a robust standard IP network platform over a distributed architecture. P25net is fully compatible with all P25 radios and offers a standard ISSI interface to other manufacturers’ P25 radio systems. While some companies offer only a proprietary solution requiring a major equipment upgrade, Raytheon provides a complete P25 digital radio system to seamlessly connect with other radios. P25net enables interoperable communications between disparate P25 and non-P25 radio networks using technology to join radio networks. As customers deploy radio systems supporting the P25 ISSI,
Raytheon’s P25net will allow public safety organizations to communicate seamlessly with legacy radio systems on other frequencies while using other technologies. Raytheon’s P25net enables each system owner to maintain control of resources and capabilities to share across systems, while at the same time, bridging legacy radio systems resources into the P25 world via the P25 ISSI. Fleenor said the ISSI link is a software-like base station or performance tool that manages handsets on a laptop. Features include: APCO P25 compliant; conventional and trunked solutions; composite channel reduces channel capacity required for remote locations; cost savings and flexible deployment to meet schedule and budget; easily installed; meets requirements for interoperability grant funding. ACU-1000 Solution
Raytheon’s ACU product family provides instant push-to-talk (PTT). For example, the PTT option can connect LAPD with NYPD. Raytheon’s ACU-1000 offers local and wide area interoperability by directly connecting or networking up to 12 devices. It simultaneously cross-connects different radio networks, connects radio networks to telephone—SATCOM systems, and networks RoIP/VoIP talkpaths. ACU-1000s enable communications between users of these devices by cross-connecting each device’s baseband audio.
The ACU-1000 offers a rich set of operational features and wide scale adaptability with virtually any voice communications device. The ACU-1000 includes VoIP/RoIP technology to provide a means for regional, state, multi-state and national interoperability. It is completely scalable and field configurable, easily controlled using the ACU controller software provided. According to Fleenor, EADS and Raytheon tested their equipment together to get a common air interface. This means they can talk on a Tait radio to a Motorola, EF Johnson, etc., radio using different radio frequencies on different handsets for full digital interface. Trunked, conventional radios are all working together.
ACU-1000 connects up to 12 audio devices with the ability to expand to 24 audio devices, and it can interconnect radios in any band including HF, VHF, UHF, P25, 800 trunked; cellular, landline PSTN and iDEN Nextel. The ACU controller software provides full system status and control from a PC, locally or remotely over an Ethernet network. Sophisticated DSP algorithms provide adaptive hybrid, VOX, VMR (voice modulation recognition), noise reduction, audio delay and more. ACU-2000 IP Solution
The ACU-2000 IP interoperability system provides a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based gateway to digitally converge existing radio systems with SIP telephones, networks and devices. This allows customers to bring all of the advantages of the open-standards SIP directly to their radio systems and add radio functionality to a network. The ACU- 2000 IP is modular, completely scalable and field configurable. The system joins disparate communications systems that can be connected, monitored and controlled over an IP network.
Compared to the ACU-1000, the ACU-2000 IP adds SIP capabilities to allow SIP-based systems or individual SIP endpoint, such as a SIP phone or softphone, to be included in interoperable conferences.
In addition, it connects SIP VoIP devices to radios. Two-way radio users have access to features that have traditionally been available only to telephone users, including call forwarding, call logging, call recording and the ability to directly call telephone extensions. Other abilities include: control a large interoperability system via IP; connect radio systems at multiple sites across an IP network; remotely change radio channel or frequency over IP. Distributed network design ensures continuity of local operations in the event of network failure.
Photos courtesy of Raytheon.