August 01, 2016 | Comments
Because of threats to public safety, we need to take encryption seriously and start securing our radio systems — not just for “special” communications channels, but also for day-to-day operations. Network security is a recognized best practice in all other forms of communications, and radio systems are woefully behind the times in this regard.

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July 26, 2016 | Comments
Public-safety wireless technology and communications are changing and developing before our eyes, and it’s exciting. Here are five technology trends gleaned from industry events such as the recent Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder meeting.

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July 12, 2016 | Comments
Where do your 9-1-1 fees go? If you live in New Jersey or at least seven other states, not to 9-1-1, according to the latest FCC’s report to Congress on state collection and distribution of 9-1-1 fees. Find out what New Jersey is doing to combat the problem.

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June 03, 2016 | Comments
There are significant differences between the voice systems that are the current lifeline of the public-safety community and the coming First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) broadband system. FirstNet was originally designed for data and video, but has been expanded to include dial-up, push to talk and more. some believe voice over FirstNet or voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) will soon provide all of the same services currently available over LMR systems. Is this a realistic expectation? My response is a solid “no” and here is why.

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May 17, 2016 | Comments
When first conceived, the nationwide broadband public-safety network was supposed to be a high-speed data network, but during the past four years, the purpose has evolved to include mission-critical voice. The industry needs to return FirstNet to the concept of a data-only network and focus on getting that part right.

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April 18, 2016 | Comments
Derek K. Poarch is the executive director and CEO of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International. APCO has 10 departments, each with a director who reports to Poarch. The association has 56 full-time employees in two offices — Daytona Beach, Florida, and Alexandria, Virginia.

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March 28, 2016 | Comments
Relocation of UHF T-band licensees is an issue that the industry needs to address shortly after the November elections. Many licensees are unsure of how or if to move forward with LMR networks in the band and the loss of the spectrum also presents interoperability challenges. The industry, both public safety and business and industry, needs to collectively roll out a plan to address the T-band spectrum.

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March 14, 2016 | Comments
In the course of one human generation, our society, economy and daily lives have been transformed beyond all recognition by mobile communications. There is a technological gulf stretching out in time from the single, tethered, family telephone of our youth to the all-dancing, all-singing smartphone and connected tablets that we are now tethered to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are still far from certain of the full range of future consequences of such a dramatic, sudden change in the tools we use at work and at home for our minds and the environment in which we move and interact — but they will be many, profound and far reaching.

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March 08, 2016 | Comments
Public-safety-grade (PSG) equipment, systems or networks provide capabilities required by operators of the equipment with availability and reliability exceeding that typically provided by commercial communications equipment, systems and networks. Project 25 (P25) in many ways establishes the foundation for implementing PSG systems and equipment, and therefore we can say yes to the question of whether P25 is PSG.

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January 14, 2016 | Comments
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has put together a complex request for proposals (RFP) that is not like any before it. The document, released Jan. 13, presents details on the process, but leaves the actual solution to the bidders.

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