California-based PC3 Solutions, an emergency-communications and disaster-response integrator and developer, next year plans to trial a cognitive-radio system from xG Technology that features voice and data capability in hopes of providing standalone and integrated solutions to its first-responder customers.

PC3 Solutions has agreed to pay xG Technology $55,000 for its xMax networking equipment that includes wireless access points, xMod mobile-data user devices and a mobile switching center, according to a press announcement released today by xG Technology. This gear will be part of the xMax 3.0 system that is being developed to include voice and data capability and is expected to be delivered in 2012, according to xG Technology spokesman Rick Rotondo.

Although the xMax system operates on unlicensed spectrum — version 3.0 will leverage the 900 MHz and 5.8 GHz bands, Rotondo said — the cognitive ability of the network allow it to find and operate on available spectrum, making the xMax system more robust and reliable than other unlicensed technologies. This capability could prove to be especially important in emergency-response situations, when communications capacity and interference issues tend to become much more significant, said John Wray, chief technology officer for PC3 Solutions.

“One thing we hear quite a bit is that, when people go on scene, there is a fair amount of interference,” Wray said. “The ability of xG Technology, with their xMax product, to have a cognitive-radio function that would allow the communicators to communicate in that type of a heavily contentious environment is very attractive to us. It provides us with a pretty elegant solution set for both voice and data.”

For xG Technology, the PC3 Solutions deal represents the company’s first agreement in the public-safety sector, a market the company has expressed interest in during the past few years.

Earlier this year, xG Technology announced successful completion of tests with the U.S. military.

“We were referred to xG by some people whose input we value and respect, and some of the work that they had done with the military brought them to our attention,” Wray said.

PC3 plans to build an xMax system and demonstrate its potential value to first-responder customers for possible inclusion in their integrated communications systems, Wray said. For traditional public-safety entities, the IP-based xMax solution could be used for backup communications if primary networks were not available, or it could be used to provide additional capacity in a congested area with a lot of first responders using bandwidth in a given cell sector, he said.

In addition to potential uses for traditional government-based first-responder entities, the xMax system could be ideal for others that have important responsibilities at the scenes of disasters and other emergencies, Wray said.

“I think that this would be a natural solution for a non-government solution for an organization like the Red Cross,” he said. “If I take my urban search-and-rescue component and fly them to some foreign country, how do I arrange for [spectrum coordination] there?

“Having the ability to come in with a low-observable, low-impact, unlicensed solution may be attractive to those types of organizations that have to react on quick notice, have to go to environments where they never were before and have to stand up a communications capability, so the responders are effective as soon as their feet hit the ground.”