Norway, Sweden Move Forward on Border Interoperability Project
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Comments

The Norwegian-Swedish Inter-System Interface (ISI) project is moving forward with additional testing. The joint development initiative between Norway and Sweden is establishing cross-border communications for public-safety agencies using the countries’ national Norwegian Nødnett and Swedish Rakel TETRA networks.

The project is a collaboration between network owners Directorate for Emergency Communication (DNK) and Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), and network suppliers Motorola Solutions and Airbus Defence and Space. The project is associated with the EU-funded research project Inter System Interoperability for TETRA and Tetrapol Networks (ISITEP).

Motorola Solutions and Airbus conducted two successful tests this year. The testing included system configuration, as well as group call, individual call, short data service (SDS) and telephony call functionality. These are the most advanced tests involving TETRA networks from two manufacturers connected through ISI gateway technology.

Further interoperability testing is planned for later this year. Then additional Nødnett, Rakel and end-to-end testing — including radio terminals and control rooms — will be conducted. DNK, MSB, Motorola Solutions and Airbus Defence and Space have agreed to seek formal interoperability (IOP) certification to ensure that the Norwegian-Swedish ISI-solution becomes the benchmark for future international ISI-projects.

Norway and Sweden have a long tradition of collaboration. With ISI, seamless communications during a rescue or other public-safety mission does not have to end at the countries’ borders. That is becoming increasingly important as extreme weather events become more frequent and crime becomes more international.

“As owner of Nødnett, DNK is proud to take part in the work towards a standard solution for future ISI projects,” said Tor Helge Lyngstøl, director DNK. “We have considered cross-border functionality as a natural part of Nødnett for a long time. This project is exciting as it involves not only the technical challenges, but also the alignment of two nations and three agencies’ routines and procedures in our two countries.”

The benefits of ISI will also be apparent in the day-to-day work and planned operations of the two countries’ public-safety agencies. A key learning is that there are not just two public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) networks to be integrated. Radio terminals and control rooms must also be able to handle cross-border communications and foreign users.

Enabling cross-border communications requires connecting different public-safety organizations across the two nations. This task of aligning complex network functionality and end-user devices, as well as different organizations and organizational structures, has been a long process.

The project group is working to ensure that all technical and user preparations will be ready for operational use in the second quarter of 2016. Implementation, user education and training will be put to the test in a cross-border field exercise in the second half of 2016.

“One great success factor in the whole project is that we have involved the end users from the start in several work groups during the whole process,” said Minna Nyman, head of the RAKEL department at MSB. “We focus on user requirements in everyday situations, as well as preparing for crisis situations, and strive towards making sure not only that the technology is in place but also methods and terminology.”

DNK and MSB are also involved in the European ISITEP project and the results from the binational ISI collaboration will be deliverables to ISITEP. The project is carried out during from 2013 to 2016 and involves Norwegian and Swedish representatives from the health service, the fire and rescue service, the police and customs.

“The Nordic Region’s Cross-Border Communications,” an article on the Norway and Sweden interoperability project, is in the Quarter 4 2013 issue of RadioResource International magazine.

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