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GCN : May 2013
26 GCN MAY 2013 • GCN.COM TECH ANALYSIS INTER-NETWORKS networking programs have been halted. Virginia is building out COM- LINC --- the Commonwealth's Link to Interoperable Communications --- to link radio systems from multiple agencies using voice over IP. "Soon, any laptop, tablet or smart phone in the hands of a public safety profes- sional will become a radio capable of communication with any public safety answering point in the state, or any responder on a radio connect- ed to it," Christopher I. McIntosh, the state's Interoperable Communica- tions Coordinator, recently told the House Energy and Commerce sub- committee. Across the Potomac, Maryland has completed the first phase of its $48 million First Responders Interoper- able Radio System Team (Maryland FIRST), a 700 MHz voice system be- ing built on the Project25 standard for interoperable digital radio. It eventually will serve the state law enforcement agencies---including the State Police and Transportation Authority Police---as well as local agencies that opt to join. "It will be a big step forward" when it is complete, said interoper- ability director Lehr. The current state police system is 20 years old and its radios work only within the county where a trooper is assigned. If a trooper moves out of the county or needs to work with local police, he often has to borrow a radio from local police. Communicating with other agencies requires patching through the local dispatcher. "It's something that has to be replaced," Lehr said. The contractor for Maryland FIRST is Motorola Solutions, but because it is based on an open standard the sys- tem should work with any vendor's P25 radios. The state has conducted interoperability tests with a system built for St. Mary's County by Harris Corp., and the two work together. A NETWORK OF NETWORKS FirstNet is envisioned as a distributed network that will provide nationwide access to both a packet-switched core network and service delivery platform. Evolved Packet Core Network The EPC will allow LTE radio access to the packet switched network, providing network switching, routing, and scheduling. Distributed Core Network The multiple terrestrial mobile, satellite and deployable cell systems will add redundant layers of access to the Distributed Core Network. Service Delivery Platform The SDP will enable voice, push-to-talk, messaging, and other services across technology and network boundaries. Terrestrial Mobile Systems Mobile Satellite Systems Deployable Systems The workhorse of the network, providing users voice and data via LTE radio and IP devices. Some users could rely on satellite comm where terrestrial links were down or damaged. Transportable cells could also be used to restore critical links to first-responders.