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Communications and Dispatch Gear

Written by James Careless

AWINS’ Interoperability Solution
ARINC’s ARINC Wireless Interoperable Network Solutions (AWINS) creates interoperability among disparate communication devices using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products and open standards-based architecture. Using Cisco’s Integrated Services Routers (ISRs), IP Interoperability Collaboration Suite (IPICS) and its Push-to-Talk Management Console (PMC), AWINS interconnects these comm systems at an IP network level. IPICS serves as the command and control Web-based application that manages the virtual talk-groups (VTGs) of the integrated devices, channels and users.

http://www.arinc.com

The PMC is used just like a typical console to communicate with the integrated devices. Through AWINS with IPICS, desktop computers, laptops computers, cell phones, Nextel PTTs and any typical public safety radio system are integrated into an interoperable and integrated communications system over an IP network. The result: true interoperability, without having to put everyone on the same radio system.

Firetide Wireless Mesh
Firetide is known for its wireless mesh networks, which are increasingly popular for dispatch functions. The company’s newest products are its HotPort mesh nodes, HotPoint access points and HotView Pro network management software. Collectively, these Firetide products let public safety agencies rapidly set up wireless networks to improve their dispatch services.

http://www.firetide.com

In Elko, NV, the police department is now networked to the fire department over Firetide mesh. Before the deployment, the fire station was only able to receive emergency dispatches from the dispatch center via phone. This method wasted precious minutes, and all too often, inaccurate details were written down regarding the address and directions to the emergency.

The Elko Fire Department refers to its new emergency communication system as “Rip-and-Run.” Firemen now receive an instant printout of police dispatch details. In addition, the dispatchers can send more timely reports via the network for inclusion in the fire department records located in the central server at the police department. Firetide mesh easily integrates with existing network infrastructure and operates at 2.4 GHz, 4.9 GHz (U.S. public safety licensed band), or 5 GHz.

Gamber Johnson’s Toughbook Docking Stations
Gamber Johnson has developed in-car, quick-connect docking stations for Panasonic 18, 19 and 30 Toughbook computers. All were designed using MIL-STD-810F test procedures, and each docking station features four USB ports (three out back and one out the side), one Ethernet port, two serial ports, one video port, and ports for microphone and speaker connections.

http://www.gamberjohnson.com

The Toughbook 18/19 docking station has brass locating pins to allow for precise computer placement. The docking station can be positioned vertically (Tablet PC) or horizontally (Notebook PC). The docking station has an easy-to-use, “lift-and-turn” compression latch that draws the computer down for docking connection, and a floating docking connector for reliable docking connections.
The Toughbook 30 docking station allows for complete port replication, eliminating the need to connect any external peripherals to the computer.

Gamber Johnson is also offering Dodge Charger Dual Trunk Trays, eliminating the danger of loose radios flying around inside the trunk. The company’s Trunk Storage Solution consists of an upper tray, lower tray, side storage boxes, side accessory panels and a permanent rubber Y-strap tie-down.

The upper tray features a unique double layer bottom so sheet metal screws used to mount equipment to the upper tray do not protrude through the bottom of the tray, injuring officers or damaging items stored in the bottom tray. The lower tray is used to safely mount the spare tire, whether it be full or compact size, and comes with a spare tire tie-down bolt and nut. Both trays slide on heavy-duty ball bearings and latch securely when in the closed position to allow for easy access to the vehicle battery.

JPS Eases Upgrade to P25
Raytheon JPS Communications has developed a product that should cause sighs of relief in departments saddled with legacy analog base stations. Called the P25 Channel Controller (P25CC), this converts analog channels to Project 25 (P25) digital channels, without requiring the replacement of existing base stations! Excuse our enthusiasm, but this is pretty cool.

http://www.jps.com

Better yet, “The P25CC can be incorporated into a communication system, channel-by-channel as time and funding permit, easing the transition to the P25 standard requirements,” said Steve Rahn, sales director for Raytheon JPS Communications in North America. “It’s a simple and affordable way to gain the advanced features and benefits of a P25 radio system.” The P25CC also offers a full suite of features for conventional as well as single site or multi-site trunking systems.

M/A-COM Combines CAD with IP
M/A-COM has married the functionality of radio dispatch with IP networking technology, resulting in highly capable dispatch solutions that are also economical and easy to deploy. The company’s flagship CAD-IP product, MaestroIP, is a full-feature high-end dispatch system with touch screen capability that can be run on a Dell 490 off-the-shelf PC equipped with a 3.2 DualCore Xeon processor, 1G RAM, and an 80G hard drive.

http://www.macom.com

The smaller, less expensive VIP Console provides essential dispatch and communication needs and can monitor up to four simultaneous calls either from a laptop or desktop PC. With sufficient coverage and VPN access, users can access radio communications using wireless connections. Finally, M/A-COM’s VIP Radio software lets a laptop or desktop PC serve as a virtual police radio. With wireless connectivity, it can be used in non-radio-equipped cars to provide extra communications capabilities.

Motorola’s Mission-Critical Portfolio
MOTOA4 is the family name of Motorola’s new “mission-critical” portfolio of communications products, and some of them are pretty cool. Besides Motorola’s XTS 2500 / XTS 5000 P25 portable radios and the XTL 5000 Digital P25 mobile, the MOTOA4 mission-critical line includes the ML910 rugged notebook computer.

http://www.motorola.com/secondnature

Built to MIL-STD 810F specifications, the ML910 comes with a 1.66 GHZ Intel Core Duo processor, built-in fingerprint scanner, and a hard drive that is cushioned from shock in three directions and even has its own heater. MOTOA4 also offers the MC70 and MC909X handheld computers, and the Motorola Mobile AFIS. This is a handheld biometric acquisition tool that lets a patrol officer fingerprint a suspect on scene, then get back AFIS data via secure wireless.

The Miami-Dade Police Department deployed 10 Mobile AFIS devices during Super Bowl XLI. Out of 111 biometric searches, 58 suspects were found to have past criminal records, and 25 were arrested, 12 for outstanding felony warrants.

National Interop Delivers RoIP
Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) is the arguably the “next big thing” in public safety communications. RoIP works by putting public safety radio traffic onto law enforcement IP networks. Not only does this allow for easy interoperability communications because departments can interconnect at an IP network level without using actual radio equipment, but it opens up patrol car users to a range of new applications. These include fast in-car computing, secure RoIP data communications and even helicopter downlinks in a relatively easy and affordable manner. Check out RoIP. It promises to be an important development in public safety communications.

http://www.nationalinterop.com

National Interop designs and implements public safety communication systems that feature true interoperability based on RoIP technology. Recently, National Interop delivered to Tillamook County, OR Sheriff’s Office a state-of-the-art mobile command / communication vehicle, one of the first mobile RoIP systems deployed in the U.S. It can provide backup to a 9-1-1 center and give incident dispatchers a familiar radio console at an incident scene.

Sprint Offers LMR / Cellphone Interoperability
Sprint is pushing the envelope of interoperability, through its Nextel Dispatch Integration mobile communications solution. Nextel Dispatch Integration makes it possible for law enforcement agencies to interconnect land mobile radio and telephone systems, so that radio-using officers can talk directly to other on Nextel wireless handsets.

http://www.nextel.com

With this application, “Law enforcement agencies have the best of both worlds,” said Sprint spokesperson Sukhi Sahni, “because the combined Nextel-LMR network delivers an integrated and interoperable system that maintains each individual network’s unique strengths. Serving as the ideal supplemental or complementary system, the Nextel National Network (Iden) delivers the interoperability, coverage, capacity and reliability that public sector organizations need now and well into the future.”

James Careless is a freelance writer who specializes in first responder communications issues. He can be reached at jcareless5000@yahoo.com.

Published in Law and Order, Apr 2008

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