IWCE: Rugged encryption key management device
LAS VEGAS–Tait Radio Communications introduced during IWCE 2008 in Las Vegas this week its Key Fill Device that is designed to let a tactical squad or SWAT team quickly and efficiently load an encryption key onto radios in the field.
Previously, Tait had been using encryption keys manufactured by Motorola and EFJohnson with its radios, said Bill Fredrickson, president of Tait’s North America operations. “Our customers were saying, ‘We really don’t like this,’ or ‘I wish it did that,’ and we eventually recognized that to be successful in this market long term we needed our own device,” he said.
Fredrickson added that coming into the market with such a device at a later stage is an advantage. “You can look at where the other people innovated and take advantage of those innovations, and also look at where they fell short and cover up those shortages, and that’s what we’ve done here,” he said.
Specifically, the PDA is smaller, lighter and more rugged than competitive products, Fredrickson said, and is IP67 rated for dust and water immersion. It offers four software options: Standard, Fast (which enables automatic key loading for fast and accurate deployment across a large number of radios), Team Guard (which lets team leaders or technicians—in two easy steps, according to the company—generate the keys solely for their team and dispose of them after), and uKEK Manager, which was developed for situations where many radios are being commissioned for daily use on an OTAR-enabled system.