DHS Awards Phase 2 LMR/LTE Interworking Contract to Catalyst
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | Comments

Catalyst Communications Technologies was awarded a contract valued at up to $1 million by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop an interworking solution to enable mission-critical communications between first responders using LMR systems and cellular devices over Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks with push-to-talk (PTT) applications. This contract is a phase two award and extends the research and development (R&D) activities initially funded by DHS in a phase one award in 2018.

When the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) deploys the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), the need for a feasible interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems will be critical. As users discover applications where PTT on a mobile phone or other broadband device may be more practical and less expensive than LMR subscriber units, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure unified and reliable communications between first responders who are using these different systems.

The award provides funding to continue development of Catalyst’s IntelliLink line of LMR-to-LTE interworking solutions. In phase two of the project, Catalyst will develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be software running on a standard networked computer or computers.

Once developed and commercialized, these interworking solutions will improve communications for first responders and facilitate the migration to FirstNet, where a host of new applications that can take advantage of the greater bandwidth capacity is expected to develop. More than 80,000 first responder organizations, including police, fire, EMS and government organizations that use mission-critical PTT (MCPTT) can take advantage of this new technology.

The road map for effective interworking was established during the phase one $150,000 award and completed in November 2018. This road map was based on recommendations from the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and its supporting organizations including the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).

“This phase two award is a significant accomplishment for Catalyst,” said Mike Schools, vice president of engineering at Catalyst. “It provides up to $1 million to support the further development of our interworking innovations and will accelerate the development of a prototype that can be tested and deployed into first responder communications networks. Solving interoperability challenges for the first responder community is a core competency of Catalyst.”

Initiated in 2004, the DHS S&T SBIR Program is a competitive contract awards program designed to increase the participation of U.S. small businesses in federal research and development initiatives and to increase private sector commercialization of SBIR-funded solutions.

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