JVCKENWOOD USA has received favorable early reviews for its new NEXEDGE Gen2 offering that delivers significant scalability benefits, particularly from utility companies and specialized-mobile-radio (SMR) operators, according to an official for the company.

Leveraging NXDN technology that can operate on 6.25 kHz channels, NEXEDGE Gen2 represents an expansion of the original NEXEDGE system, according to John North, vice president of sales for JVCKENWOOD USA’s enterprise systems division.

“Generation2 [NEXEDGE Gen2] is an expanded platform of our first generation of NEXEDGE systems—it’s basically a system of systems,” North said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

While the original NEXEDGE architecture was limited in the number of sites that could be managed by a single control channel, the NEXEDGE Gen2 platform can support more than 1,000 sites without increasing the maintenance burden significantly, North said.

“As systems expand, utilities and SMR operators don’t always have the budget to construct all of the sites they need,” he said. “In the utility market, for example, they have a number of co-ops that they add each year, which increases their need for additional coverage.

“What NEXEDGE Generation2 allows you to do is put up new sites and not have to touch all of the radios to program the new frequencies into those radios—it’s dynamic frequency assignment, or DFA. DFA allows you to construct a site, put out a control channel, and also set the system up so that it broadcasts its neighboring sites’ channel to the radios. That populates the information into the radios without the users having to bring all of the radios in for reprogramming.”

In addition, the NEXEDGE Gen2 platform optimizes data delivery in a manner that allows AVL information to be updated about three times as often, which has proven to be an attractive feature to utility customers, according to North.

“In the past, the intelligence used to be in the radios themselves. Now, it’s set up through the system,” North said. “Instead of having 60 radios and each AVL update takes 2-3 minutes, depending on overhead. What Generation2 allows you to do is, by registering those radios at the site rather than assigning the time slots to every radio in the fleet, we’re able to squeeze more updates into the system … Basically, I think we’ve tripled the number of updates that we can do from the original Generation1 platform.”

NEXEDGE customers can migrate from the Gen1 platform to the Gen2 with minimal hardware investment, as the transition primarily involves software upgrades, North said.

“When you’re migrating from Gen1 to Gen2, it takes some careful planning, because we have to upgrade the existing system to the Generation2 platform,” he said. “You can do that without having to change the hardware; it’s basically a software upgrade. You add a couple of servers to the system, and you get all of the enhanced features that Gen2 has to offer, just by upgrading the system rather than doing a forklift.”

While the software upgrade on the infrastructure side can be executed via the network, the upgrade to Gen2 requires users to bring their subscriber devices into a radio shop, North said. One a subscriber device has been upgraded to Gen2, additional channels can be added over the air, making it relatively easy to enable interoperability with new systems, he said.