DHS Awards Catalyst a Contract for LMR/LTE Interworking
Wednesday, August 01, 2018 | Comments

Catalyst Communications Technologies was awarded a $150,000 contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) for interworking to enable mission-critical communications between first responders using LMR systems and devices over Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks with push-to-talk (PTT) applications.

This contract is the result of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other businesses. Catalyst’s experience and expertise with Project 25 (P25) technology, broadband PTT and interoperability using IP qualifies the company for the project. Catalyst’s contract is for phase one of a three-phased effort as defined by the SBIR guidelines.

Murus Cybersecurity was the second awardee for phase one, the feasibility study. Only the two winners of phase one are eligible to apply for phase two, which continues research and development (R&D) and includes a prototype, Catalyst said. Phase three is commercialization.

The need for a feasible interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems is critical. DHS S&T is interested in technology and solutions that take advantage of existing standards in P25 LMR and Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) LTE technologies to create seamless communications between users on these systems.

The objective of this three-phase project is to investigate and develop a reliable, secure and standards-based LMR/LTE interworking service for the different LMR systems in use and LMR systems and new LTE systems being deployed, including the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

In phase two of the project, Catalyst would develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be a software product running on a standard networked computer or computers. Catalyst is following the recommendations of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and its supporting organizations including the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC). By analyzing industry documents and standards, Catalyst is creating a comprehensive set of requirements and features for interworking.

“Catalyst is very well positioned to provide insight and technology for interworking, as we’ve been deploying interoperability solutions for the first responder community for more than 15 years,” said Mike Schools, vice president of engineering at Catalyst and the technical lead for this project. “We understand the application requirements of mission-critical PTT and the complexity of internetwork communications. Solving interoperability challenges for the first responder community is a core competency of Catalyst.”

The award was part of nearly $3 million in 20 competitive research contracts for 19 small businesses in 10 states announced in May by DHS S&T. The awards were made in seven topic areas. In addition to LMR/LTE interworking, additional topic areas included cellphone location for maritime and search and rescue, detecting interference, and augmentation of RF transmissions for position, navigation and timing (PNT), among others.

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