IWCE 2016 Review of Choosing the Right Technology

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I was in another session which was great if you work in public safety. It was session N259 – Pick Me, Pick Me! Choosing the Right Technology for Your System which was moderated by Steve Macke, of Advent C3, a great moderator. He knew about all of these technologies, mostly because he consulted for people who needed help with almost all of them. Just a really smart guy in all things wireless.

I have to say, I was surrounded by greatness in this session. All of the speakers knew more about the evolution of communications that almost anyone I talked to. These guys certainly have seen it all. They knew about the progression of DMX, TETRA, P25, and all things 2 way all the way up to hardened communication systems to LTE.  When you talk about LTE you understand that is has a long way to go make it reliable enough for public safety. I understand that  but let’s face it, that is the end goal. It may be  5 to 10 years from now, but it is the future as I see it. While 5G is new and exciting, it will be built on and around LTE.

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So with all of that said, we need the PTT, (push to talk) systems as they are now. They are needed in public safety. T hey are normally in hardened sites. We really need to get LTE to that point. One thing that came up is that LTE is nowhere near the hardened requirements that public safety will need. In fact, the way FirstNet is building it out, it doesn’t look like it will be there for years to come, my opinion of course, but if they have a carrier build it, they will get a carrier class system, which is awesome. But, will it work after a hurricane or a tornado or a bombing? Ask yourself that. Now, let’s move on.

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Doug Chapman of Etherstack, representing PTIG in this session, talked about how P25 systems fit the current mission critical voice communications. Here is a smart guy that really understood what mission critical means and what they need to keep working.

Bill Frederickson of LMR Systems, Selex, representing DMRa, spoke of DMR systems being used as a cost-effective solution for voice communications.

Rodney Grim, National Technical Sales Manager of ICOM America, spoke about the use of NXDN and the service for real-time voice in critical communication. It is a very cost-effective voice solution for mission critical systems that has been around for year and is very reliable. It is commonly used in the USA.

John Monto, Director of Radio Technology Systems for Rockwell Collins/ARINC, spoke about  TETRA systems being used not only worldwide, but here in the states today.

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Dan O’Malley is a Sr Product Manager of Cisco, for the Internet of Things, gave a really interesting talk of a Cisco system that could work in mission critical systems that rely on the IP Network and the PTT system. He had examples of how the system could switch over from one call center to another in a mission critical situation.

Scott Peabody is a senior consultant for ADCOMM Engineering Company, gave a very technical and interesting talk of how 5G will be the critical infrastructure for the future. He demonstrated how the use of Wi-Fi in today’s world can solve some connectivity issues seen in our industry. He had an example of how he could connect a hip using Wi-Fi to provide them with over 100Mbps of data. Pretty cool stuff!

I spoke about using LTE in mission critical systems, well, really I laid out the pros and cons, because LTE isn’t there yet.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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