P25 CSSI/ISSI Conformance Tests On Track for 2019 at DOI’s Denver Lab
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Comments
The Project 25 (P25) Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) plans to begin Inter RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI) and Console Subscriber System Interface (CSSI) testing next year using the Department of Interior (DOI) test laboratory in Denver. Initial testing will consist of only conformance testing — not interoperability testing.

Russ Sveda, radio and spectrum chief for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), said the federal departments have not yet signed an agreement but agree on the content and cost.

DHS will fund the lab accreditation, testing tools and the testing during three years. “The intent is to not charge manufacturers and system owners for this testing during the three years,” Sveda said.

DOI will acquire a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-accredited ISSI and CSSI conformance testing software package. Testing will be performed by a mix of contractor and federal personnel.

“We are preparing now for the lab accreditation and hope to have that completed in the fall, so testing can begin right after the new year,” Sveda said.

The DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) plans to define features to undergo conformance testing using a commercially developed software tool. The tool is undergoing detailed assessments to evaluate and certify it for use for the P25 CAP. DHS, DOI and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are working together to develop individual test cases, review the test cases with the test tool developer, and to add message sequence charts and detailed messages to test cases.

DHS is seeking public-safety agencies and manufacturers for beta testing using the software tool later this year, said Sridhar Kowdley, program manager of the P25 CAP for DHS S&T.

DHS OIC is evaluating a process for the inclusion of interoperability testing data from field or factory tests. Although the first tests will not include interoperability testing, public-safety agencies and vendors are already conducting interoperability tests and could report their results, Kowdley said. “Interoperability can be best tested in the field,” he said.

Tom Burkett, product line manager for infrastructure products for Harris, said conformance testing will help the situation where vendors interpret the standards differently.

“There are some places in the standard that are vague,” Burkett said. “We have tested with 10 different vendors for ISSI/CSSI. Every time we do it, we find something that doesn’t match up. We interpreted it one way and the other vendor differently. That will go a long way to make all the vendors conform and save time, and it will be good for the customers. All testing [to date] has been voluntary and everyone has been good at working together.”

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which oversees P25 standards, published a recommended compliance assessment test (RCAT) for the ISSI; however, the standards don’t define all the test cases the P25 CAP advisory panel (AP) wants.

DHS and the AP are developing the detailed messages and other test cases based on the standards. “Some test cases are written by TIA, and we will use those,” Kowdley said. “Other test cases were never updated for conformance or consoles, so we are reviewing the standards for the features wanted to round out the conformance tests. Group call, for example, was never covered by TDMA, only FDMA. There will be a test document, and TIA can review it.”

DHS also plans to develop educational tools for ISSI/CSSI use.

DHS S&T and the P25 CAP AP last year began exploring potential government laboratories for the ISSI/CSSI compliance testing, which is expensive because a lab needs the core infrastructure for three different vendors.

TDMA Testing
Another priority for the CAP AP is conventional TDMA testing, said Chief Gerry Reardon, chairman of the P25 CAP AP.

“We’re seeing a lot of systems put in service, and while the standards are set, there is no way to see if it meets the standard,” said CAP AP member Jason Ervin with Lower Colorado River Authority in Texas. “We’re fixing to go down the same path that we’ve gone prior. It is important to get this TDMA done.”

TDMA CAP testing will include performance and interoperability tests. A TDMA test documentation CAB was released in July 2017. DHS-recognized TDMA test labs must be accredited by September 2018.

The Harris TDMA test lab has been accredited for subscriber, repeater performance, conventional and FDMA/TDMA trunking interoperability. The Motorola Solutions lab has been accredited for subscriber performance and conventional and FDMA/TDMA trunking interoperability. The Tait Communications’ lab is accredited for subscriber performance.

Lab accreditation for third-party Compliance Testing is pending for subscriber and repeater performance, along with conventional and FDMA/TDMA trunking interoperability.

A third TDMA network vendor is required for the CAP’s rule of three testing, but vendors can do rule of two testing if three vendors are not available through a waiver.

Equipment testing and associated TDMA Suppliers’ Declaration of Compliance (SDOC) and Summary Test Report (STR) document submissions are due by March 2019.

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