A breakthrough in wireless communications technology may mean that public safety agencies will no longer wonder whether they will be able to talk to each other when they arrive at an emergency scene.
With Motorola's new Soft Switch Radio Network (SSRN), agencies at any government level will have the ability to talk with one another regardless of the type of systems or frequencies they normally use. Because of its advanced IP-based design, users also can access many of the additional features they regularly depend on such as Emergency Unit Identification.
“SSRN simply redefines the concept of the gateway switch,” said Chuck Jackson, vice president and director, system operations, for Motorola Communications and Electronics, Inc. “Until now, the issue was having to accept the limitations of a specific switch. SSRN erases most of those limitations. It responds to the two key concerns of public safety agencies everywhere—capability and cost.”
Historically, a gateway switch provided a simple, economical way to create a voice link between different communications systems so that personnel at an emergency or large event could talk with one another. The interoperability these gateways created was invaluable, but the limitations also were significant. Gateways typically do not provide advanced calling features such as emergency identification and have few if any system management features. Typical gateways also suffer from having a single control point that would terminate interoperability if a failure occurs at that point.
“Motorola’s SSRN is a feature-rich addition to our Mission Critical IP network portfolio,” Jackson said. “It delivers the flexibility and interoperability agencies need plus many of the capabilities they want that are usually found in far more sophisticated and more expensive approaches.”
Among its many technological and configuration advantages, the new SSRN:
● Can be implemented by agencies of any size and can be expanded as needs change. The system has the capacity for more than 10,000 talk paths;
● Uses standard IP protocol;
● Can operate over Mission Critical, independent user IP and commercial IP networks, eliminating additional IP overhead and support;
● Offers distributed control points, helping to ensure that there is no single point of potential system failure;
● Provides instant recall, making it possible to immediately replay a conversation without additional system components.
The flexibility and sophistication of the SSRN also means agencies have innovative communications options. For example, dispatch centers throughout a network or across different agencies and jurisdictions can be connected quickly, allowing full duplex conversations for better coordination among dispatchers or to enable a “group call” to all dispatchers in a large-scale emergency. Also, because the IP-based SSRN displays the identification of all units operating on the network, dispatchers know instantly which field units are requesting assistance. Agencies using deployable communication vehicles also can be linked to the network while on scene, using standard IP connectivity.
“SSRN helps agencies to dramatically increase their interoperable communications capabilities immediately, even as they consider more sophisticated solutions for the future,” said Jackson. “If an agency chooses to move to a system-specific roaming or standards-based shared solution for its routine communications in the future, the agency still can use its SSRN system to connect with other agencies responding to an emergency. That capability alone may make SSRN one of the most important communications tools available to any public safety agency.”
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