January 2013 Inbox
Friday, January 11, 2013 | Comments
Following are comments we’ve received from readers about recent online and print news and articles. If you’d like to comment on an article, email edit@RRMediaGroup.com.
Nice job on presenting the realities of the FirstNet. It’s nice to see that MissionCritical Communications continues to report on the sometime difficult realities of situations.
Mark Hoppe
Principal Consultant
Blue Wing Services
St. Paul, Minn.

I read your article about the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) efforts to standardize requirements in Long Term Evolution (LTE) to meet public safety's needs. Is there a single accepted definition of "mission-critical voice?" What standards organization or industry body is chartered to determine the definition? 
Phil Lamoureux
Mobility Architect 
Juniper Networks
Editor’s Response:
The following definition is from the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) “Mission Critical Voice Communications Requirements for Public Safety” document.
“The key elements for the definition of mission critical voice include the following:
• Direct or Talk Around: This mode of communications provides public safety with the ability to communicate unit-to-unit when out of range of a wireless network OR when working in a confined area where direct unit-to-unit communications is
• Push-to-Talk (PTT): This is the standard form of public safety voice communications today the speaker pushes a button on the radio and transmits the voice message to other units. When they are done speaking they release the PTT switch and return to the listen mode of operation.
• Full Duplex Voice Systems: This form of voice communications mimics that in use today on cellular or commercial wireless networks where the networks are
interconnected to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
• Group Call: This method of voice communications provides communications from one-to-many members of a group and is of vital importance to the public safety community.
• Talker Identification: This provides the ability for a user to identify who is speaking at any given time and could be equated to caller ID available on most commercial cellular systems today.
• Emergency Alerting: This indicates that a user has encountered a life-threatening condition and requires access to the system immediately and is, therefore, given the highest level or priority.
• Audio Quality: This is a vital ingredient for mission critical voice. The listener MUST be able to understand without repetition, and can identify the speaker, can detect stress in a speaker’s voice, and be able to hear background sounds as well without interfering with the prime voice communications.”
The full seven-page document is available on the NPSTC website.

There was no mention of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association’s person who not only presented this idea to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in November 2008 but also sat throughout this project as a member of the Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) as the only disabled person. Arthur Rendall is that person, and I have taken just more than four years to get it to this stage with the help of a Bell Mobility engineer who took the idea and developed it into the system.
Arthur Rendall

In response to “AT&T Buys Alltel for $780M” from Jan. 23
I’m just wondering if Alltel is going the way of the dodo bird. Windstream acquired most of its landline base, and its wireless flagship went to Verizon Wireless. I don’t know if there’s going to be that much of it left.
Todd Anderson

We are still having customers in our store everyday that tell us that they have just learned of the narrowbanding mandate. I don't know why they weren't notified, or if they were notified and just didn't know what the letter meant so didn't act on it.
They all seem to be anxious to get into compliance, but I believe they shouldn't be penalized. 
Debbie Hankins

Once they can agree on a standard data format, that would allow "cloning" between disparate radio equipment, I'm sure a Bluetooth dongle could be developed by each manufacturer that would allow wireless cloning between two different brands of radios. This would come in extremely handy on wildland fires and other such incidents.
If I were a hardware designer, I'd build the thing myself and retire.
Randy Jones
Senior Telecommunications Specialist
Northeast Region
Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 

We are having a lot of problems with an adjacent county using data on our frequency. We have the same frequency, but it wasn’t a problem until they started transmitting data.
Our coordinator said the adjacent county is not licensed for data, but they continue to transmit. Our efforts to resolve through their coordinator have not been resolved.
Adam Rabe, EMT-PS/Director
Iowa County (Iowa) EMS
I have had several problems with MOTOTRBO causing interference with existing analog customers. Something needs to be done. I believe we have another Nextel problem here.
Gary Vodvarka

I oversee a regional communications center in Maine. We dispatch for 91 agencies and are the public-safety answering point (PSAP) for two counties. My department does in excess of 1,200 emergency medical dispatches (EMDs) a month. I have a full-time supervisor that listens to one law call, one fire call and one EMD call every week for all of my 30 dispatchers.
The state of Maine EMS managed to get legislation that mandates a quality assurance (QA) system for PSAPs and a certain number of EMD calls. This mandate does not include fire or law. I have a great QA program set up. My complaint is that the program is mandated by the state, funds are collected via telephone bills, and PSAPs do not get a penny of it. I have the luxury of having enough staff that allowed me to create a position.
QA is a must in this business. My issues are with something being mandated by law, but not funded. It places an extreme hardship on the small agencies and does not do QA programs any justice. Point: If you are going to start a program, make sure you can afford to run it.
Jim Ryan
Executive Director
Penobscot Regional Communications Center, Maine

Click here for the December 2012 Inbox.
Click here for the November 2012 Inbox.
Click here for the October 2012 Inbox.

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