NIST Unveils Prototype Tech for Integrating Broadband Into Public Safety Communications Systems

NIST Unveils Prototype Tech for Integrating Broadband Into Public Safety Communications Systems
Public Safety Communications Systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a prototype system designed to integrate broadband communications technology with aging emergency response radios.

NIST said Monday that the prototype is intended to help older Land Mobile Radio towers and handsets benefit from wireless Long-Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities including voice, video, text, instant messaging and other data-related features.

The agency noted that the effort is meant to take advantage of LTE-based, mission-critical “push to talk” capabilities while addressing challenges in transition costs. The LTE element s also meant to support key aspects in public safety communications including speaker identification, clear audio, emergency calling and high reliability and availability, according to NIST.

Specifically, the NIST prototype will include elements such as software-defined radio, open-source software and a user interface designed to support LTE handsets for seamless inter-network communications.

“The goal here is to create a prototype and accelerate technology development in industry that will fill a significant gap,” said Jordan O’Dell, an engineer at NIST.

NIST's researchers are continuing efforts to develop the prototype and introduce links to more radio types.

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