Harris this week introduced an IP-based Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Tier 2 and Tier 3 simulcast solution from strategic partner Tait Communications that is designed to provide non-public-safety enterprises with options to scale networks, even with limited spectrum resources.

Yoram Benit, Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications’ vice president of product management, said he believes the simulcast capability will be very attractive to potential customers—particularly those with limited spectral rights. Key customers for the solution are expected to come from the utility, transportation, education, mining, public works and enterprise sectors, he said.

“Simulcast is basically having all sites transmitting and receiving on the same frequency using GPS for synchronization,” Benit said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “What it means is that customers don’t have to have a lot of channels … to cover an area. Even if you have only two channels, you can install a few sites—using the same frequencies—and provide coverage for ‘X’ number of users.

“So, it’s very efficient—customers won’t need a lot of channel or frequencies, which are very expensive. Also, it basically doubles the capacity, if you go from analog to digital and you use simulcast TDMA.”

In addition, each of the DMR sites are connected via IP, so enterprises that already have IP connectivity can leverage an existing asset—and lower-cost, commercially available equipment—to provide backhaul, Benit said.

“It’s an IP-based network, which means that all of the sites are connected to each other through an IP backhaul to the core,” he said. “This is more efficient, and you can use commercial off-the-shelf servers and routers, which is very appealing to the customer, from a cost perspective—you can use any IP network to connect the sites, which reduces the cost of the backhaul system.”

Benit said the DMR simulcast solution is available for both Tier 2 and Tier 3 systems, whether they are conventional or trunking networks. The DMR Tier 3 trunking simulcast offering is believed to be the only one on the market right now, and the combination of spectral efficiency gained from both simulcast and trunking should be attractive to many customers, he said.

“A customer who is looking at frequency efficiency will be looking at trunking,” Benit said. “As you know, trunking is dynamic channel allocation, so you don’t have specific channels assigned to talk groups as you do with conventional. That means, from a capacity perspective, you get more capacity, and you’re not in queue when the system is in a busy mode.

“We’ve got a big advantage here over our competitors with our trunking simulcast DMR communications.”

Benit said that Tait Communications is responsible for the manufacturing of all equipment and the software to support the simulcast offering. Harris and Tait Communications signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2016.

“It’s coming from [Tait Communications] 100%,” he said. “All we do is test it and market it in the U.S., as we are their reseller.”