ORLANDO--Wireless network vendor M/A-COM today announced at the Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials (APCO) 2006 conference the availability of ISSI and data capability solutions for Project 25 systems.

M/A-COM’s ISSI solution—compliant with the expected P25 draft standard—uses IP-based protocols to enable a higher level of interoperability, said Ron Bender, M/A-COM’s director of system products.

“The big deal here is being able to tie different vendors’ P25 systems together in a digital way—so you can get digital encrypted voice, caller ID and things you can’t get today with other interoperability solutions,” Bender said. “This is big for the industry.”

Another P25 offering from M/A-COM is Critical Data Communications, which delivers wide-area data coverage at the P25 standard of 9600 bits per second, Bender said.

“For people in metro areas, the benefit of this would be having it cover across their entire network,” he said. “But for federal and rural customers, this may be their primary data solution.”

One important feature of the data capability is over-the-air rekeying (OTAR) functionality, which is critical to ensuring that security on radios in a network is updated.

“It allows system administrators to dynamically change the encryption keys without having to physically touch all the radios,” Bender said. “Prior to OTAR, the way to change encryption keys in radios was to physically hook a device up to each radio and put the new keys in the radio. This provides a secure means of doing it over the air.”

M/A-COM also is announcing Radio TextLink, which supports text messaging to M/A-COM P25 units, and the expansion of its Project 25 to the Power of IP product offering to work in both the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands.

Other M/A-COM news at APCO included NetworkFirst Interop Assist (NIA), which is a drag-and-drop graphical user interface that makes it easier for dispatchers or system administrators to establish interoperability talk groups, Bender said. In addition, M/A-COM is conducting an interoperability demonstration with Airspan using both companies’ 4.9 GHz WiMAX solutions.