The time is now
Today, there are more than a dozen manufacturers offering Project 25 equipment, and the estimated number of P25-capable subscriber units deployed in the U.S. exceeds 1 million. This clearly indicates the solid footing P25 has achieved as the platform serving the future of our public-safety networks. Having a personal appreciation for the long history of public-safety technology, I believe perhaps one of the greatest leaps in its advancement currently is taking shape with the industry’s focused pursuit of standardization and interoperability.
The P25 Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) was established in 2006 to provide public-safety end-users with documented proof of interoperability between P25 products from various manufacturers. Since then, the number of P25 product manufacturers has dramatically increased, as has the demand for interoperable solutions.
The formation of P25 CAP was applauded by the public-safety user community and widely supported among manufacturers. The program was constructed smartly, involving public-safety users, manufacturers and representatives from the P25 Steering Committee; the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA); the Compliance Assessment Process and Procedures Task Group (CAPPTG); the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (DHS-OIC); and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Office of Law Enforcement Standards (NIST/OLES).
To fulfill its intended purpose of verifying interoperability, the P25 CAP encompasses a variety of tests across P25 subscriber units, base stations and repeaters from multiple vendors using certified testing laboratories based on internationally accepted standards. The P25 CAP is a voluntary program, but it is viewed as important to promoting interoperability and giving public safety multiple sourcing options for P25 products. More alternatives translate to more competition and further technological innovation. Public-safety customers tell us that they urgently need documented proof of interoperability between P25 manufacturers’ products.
Motorola and other manufacturers share our public-safety customers’ urgency and have invested significant technical resources to fuel development of necessary P25 and TIA standards documents. From our standpoint, the entire community is best-served with a rigorous and standardized approach to interoperability testing — and we need it today.
Progress on the P25 CAP should continue to focus on the objectives for which the program was created to address — providing documented proof of interoperability between P25 manufacturers’ products.
Motorola is as committed as ever to the P25 standard, and we are confident that others in the public-safety communications community will work together to put the P25 CAP on the fast track.
Bob Schassler is corporate vice president of government and public-safety products for Motorola.