DHS Demos Broadband Interoperability with D.C. Pilot (8/28/08)
Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Comments

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate held a demonstration Aug. 27 of the Radio Over Wireless Broadband (ROW-B) project, which connects existing wireless radio systems with broadband devices, such as laptops and smart phones, including the integration of location information. The project is part of a partnership announced last year among S&T, the District of Columbia (DC) Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and ISCO International’s Clarity Communications.

“The ROW-B pilot represents an important milestone in our efforts to advance interoperability progress,” said Dr. David Boyd, director of S&T’s Command, Control and Interoperability Division. “The capability to communicate among radio and broadband system users will significantly improve emergency response operations by allowing nonradio users to communicate with response units in the field.”

During July and August, the ROW-B pilot is connecting OCTO’s existing LMR system—wireless radio systems that are either handheld or mounted in vehicles—with broadband devices using the Bridging Systems Interface (BSI). The BSI specification was developed earlier this year with collaboration among several vendors. The interface will allow a single user to reach multiple users through talk groups on a city-operated 700 MHz broadband network.

The National Capital Region (NCR) awarded a contract in early 2007 to Alcatel Lucent for an EV-DO Revision A network at 700 MHz. The network is licensed through a special temporary authority (STA) license that must be renewed through the FCC every six months. Federal grants initially were used to roll out the network. Alcatel Lucent has agreed to waive its maintenance fees for a year.

By allowing users to create talk groups in real-time, this technology saves critical response time. ROW-B also will use geographic information system (GIS) technology to identify the location of other vehicles, equipment and responders. GIS databases display these locations on maps that include important information such as roads, buildings and fire hydrants—enabling emergency responders to access the locations of critical resources, and to form dynamic talk groups based on proximity.

For more information on the project, click here.

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