Tuning into the Promise of P25 Digital Radio

By November 3, 2015Uncategorized

When it comes to responding to an incident, first responders rely heavily on communications from the dispatch center. For years, these communications have been delivered strictly as voice and data over analog radio. But the Project 25 (P25) standard changed that, making it possible to send data and voice over digital channels.

P25 outlines standards for digital radio communications used by public safety agencies in North America. The idea is that any agencies and response teams – whether federal, state/province, or local – using radio equipment compatible with P25 standards can easily communicate with one another. And because one requirement for Phase 1 P25 digital radio equipment is backward compatibility with analog radios, even counties and departments still relying on standard analog radios can take advantage of P25.

Though communications over analog radio are reliable, sound quality can suffer without a strong radio signal. Voice quality of P25 is superior, even at low or noisy radio frequency carrier levels. That’s because background noise is typically removed as voice is converted for digital transmission. And to top it off, P25 supports encryption for the safe transmission of information, giving users the option to select either clear (unencrypted) or secure (encrypted) communications.

PURVIS support for P25 radio in action

Those using the PURVIS Fire Station Alerting System (FSAS) can choose to deliver both audio and data over a P25 radio network because PURVIS supports P25 IV&D (Integrated Voice and Data). This means counties can ensure interoperable radio communications within a jurisdiction, as well as within departments and agencies in the same community.

To date, departments in Washington DC, Boston, Charleston County among others have taken advantage of PURVIS’ support for P25.

PURVIS worked closely with Motorola to develop an integrated solution for transmitting FSAS data over the P25 IV&D radio network in Washington DC. Through this process PURVIS software was validated to allow data communications with the Motorola P25 radio core. PURVIS FSAS sends incident data to each station on the DC P25 IV&D radio network through this Motorola radio core. The district was able to free up a previously used analog channel when the move to P25 was complete.

In Plano, TX, data dispatches are sent over digital radio and the fiber optic network, while voice is sent over the analog radio dispatch channel. Because Plano uses the PURVIS FSAS to send IP data packets over the air to fire stations – essentially like sending a wireless message – there’s no need to worry about lost communications due to a cut fiber optic network line.

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