Advocacy Agenda - Communications Interoperability

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The Forum promotes standards, technologies, and regulatory policies to enhance interoperability and co-existence among essential and critical communication systems. We continually investigate a wide spectrum of interoperability techniques using SDR and CR technologies ranging from evolutionary improvements of traditional approaches to revolutionary new methods that utilize more advanced emerging technologies.

5.1 Openly Developed Industry Requirements and Standards
The Forum advocates the use of openly developed industry requirements and architectural standards that lead to interoperable products and systems. Openly developed standards foster fair and open competition, leverage commercial investment and stimulate technology insertion over the standards life cycle. They facilitate development and utilization of compliance testing to ensure products and systems meet established standards. Use of architectural standards is proven to facilitate significant software reuse driving down time-to-market for feature and capability deployment, in conjunction with lowering life cycle costs. This provides confidence for procurement authorities, radio system and product providers to rapidly developed solutions which have a high probability of meeting defined user needs.

5.2 SDR and CR Technologies Enable Interoperability
The Forum advocates interoperability innovations enabled by software defined and cognitive radio technologies native to end user radio equipment and systems. One innovation, multiband radios which enables interoperability across bands in a single radio providing lower SWAP-C (Size, Weight, Power and Cost). Interoperability can be expanded with wide spectral range RF front ends identified on the Forum’s “Top 10 Most Wanted Innovations” list28. The Forum also supports solutions to more recent interoperability needs that have arisen with the public safety broadband data initiative, such as ability of higher stack layers (such as data applications) to communicate, standards and technologies for communication/interoperation of voice over IP, and interoperability of direct mode communications. Other innovations include “smarter” gateway devices using cognitive radio techniques that reduce traditional problems with their setup and operation. Cognitive radio techniques can also enable “smarter” and more automated reconfiguration of networks, in essence creating a large “virtual network” of smaller interoperating networks. At the revolutionary end of the interoperability methods spectrum, the Forum promotes new techniques that extensively utilize SDR and CR, such as policy-based radios and networks.

5.3 Top Down Methodology
The Forum advocates a “top down” methodology, including the development of use cases, for identifying technology gaps for any wireless technology study. Using this methodology, the Forum developed public safety interoperability use cases for two scenarios; the London Subway Bombing and a Chemical plant explosion scenario.29 These reports identified a significant need for interoperability between first responders and non-public safety communications systems. For example, communications may be required between first responders and other organizations such as other civilian government authorities (e.g., public health, public works, transportation), organizations supporting critical infrastructure (e.g., utilities), tow truck and bus drivers, National Guard, and Department of Defense units. In some cases it may even be beneficial to allow more seamless communications capabilities between selected cell phones and the public safety network, with appropriate restrictions.


28 Top 10 Most Wanted Wireless Innovations – 2013; WINNF-11-P-0014-V2.0.0, Innovations # 4 and #6 pg 4-5;

29 Use Cases for Cognitive Applications in Public Safety Communications Systems ,Volume 1, SDRF-07-P-0019-V1.0.0;  

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WINNF Advocacy Agenda WINNF-RC-0007-V1.2.0

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