NIST Report Outlines Desired Features for National Public Safety Network (11/23/11)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Comments

The National Public Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) released a draft of its report that outlines features that appear to be relevant and potentially useful for the design of a national public-safety network.

The report outlines seven features deemed desirable:

1. A flexible system architecture that uses IPs, is backward compatible, offers mesh or mobile ad hoc networking, and offers robustness and recovery;

2. Security and authentication;

3. Standards application and/or development;

4. Ruggedization;

5. Sensor and location systems;

6. High-density radio operation; and

7. Next-generation 9-1-1 emergency services IP networks.

The report also addresses ideas on prototyping, collaboration and testing; multiple stakeholders; and programmatic considerations.

At the end of the report, conclusions and recommendations are made, including a detailed list of what the architecture should include.

The report also calls for a public-safety capability organization to “be selected or created to orchestrate the detailed design, development and coordinated operation of a new, national public-safety communication system” the report states. “It should include a Public Safety Interoperability Panel and resource management capability.”

The report, “Desirable Properties of a National Public Safety Network,” is based on the efforts of the VCAT Subcommittee on Public Safety Networks in response to the NIST director’s charge to identify the key architectural elements that are critical for a next-generation public-safety broadband network. Once finalized, the report will be used by NIST to help design a research and development (R&D) program in anticipation of the president’s wireless innovation (WIN) fund, and specifically the $300 million the president has requested for a Public Safety Innovation Fund (PSIF).

The VCAT is seeking comments on the draft report by December 19. Comments should be sent to Suzanne Lightman at

The draft report is online and can be viewed here.

Your comments are welcome, click here.

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