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Jan 07. General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics has reached a major milestone in achieving voice and data communications interoperability by being the first company to demonstrate the new standard that will allow radio users, such as first responders and federal agents, to communicate between different manufacturer’s radio systems operating on different networks.

The communication between separate networks using radios and radio systems made by different companies was successfully demonstrated in early December at the General Dynamics Homeland Security System Development Laboratory in Scottsdale, Ariz. Radio system manufacturers M/A-COM and EADS Secure Networks worked with General Dynamics to achieve the milestone.

The demonstration used the Association of Public Safety Communications Project 25 (P25) inter-RF sub-system interface (ISSI) standard to enable the two systems to connect “behind the scene” within the network infrastructure rather than over-the-air between the radios. The standard was developed to achieve better communication among public safety users. In this first known demonstration of its kind, General Dynamics, EADS Secure Networks and M/A-COM collaborated for several months to meet the interoperability standard.

“For nationwide law enforcement and homeland security applications such as the U.S. Government’s Integrated Wireless Network (IWN), meeting the standards for interoperability is a priority,” said Lee Wright, director of National Communications and Homeland Security for General Dynamics C4 Systems. “Recognizing the growing importance and potential of enabling agency responders to communicate securely anywhere, General Dynamics made a significant investment in the laboratory to advance standards-compliant radio interoperability.”

In order to meet user operational requirements, an increasing number of federal, state and local public safety agencies use radios that meet the P25 suite of standards for interoperable digital radio communication. The over-the-air standards permit analog and digital radios to communicate with each other, but present-day disaster experiences have highlighted the need for P25-compliant radio users to interoperate across disparate systems at the network level as well.

Interoperability testing will continue at the General Dynamics Scottsdale lab as more features become standardized and more radio manufacturers become ISSI-compliant.

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