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O N L I N E  E X C L U S I V E

Users Detail Biggest Communications Challenges

September 02, 2009

 

 

 

  

Fredrick Smith
Telecommunications Engineer
Chevron

The biggest communications issue in my work environment continues to be finding clean RF spectrum to meet the explosive demand for applications requiring broadband connectivity. Automation systems that enable an automated business evolve over a period of years and are expected to perform flawlessly for many years. The communications links that these systems are built around must remain interference free and rock solid.

 

Jason Barbour
E9-1-1 Director
Johnston County, N.C.

Most citizens have more technology than we have in our 9-1-1 center. Citizens are used to communicating via voice and data; all our 9-1-1 center has the capability for now is voice. The biggest obstacle isn’t that more technologies are available, but that most citizens don’t realize that our 9-1-1 center doesn’t have all of the capabilities that they have.

 

Steve Baroch
Partner
The NetMark Group

At this time, the economy is the biggest driving force. Dealers simply have to wait until funds loosen before they can anticipate seeing an improvement in their bottom lines. Margins, because the market place has become so competitive, will definitely drop and may not recover immediately. Revenue, on the other hand, should improve in the second half of 2009.

 

 

Andrew Schwartz
Director 
Radio Communications and Electronic Security Systems
New Jersey Transit

The biggest challenges we are facing and will face into the near future include maintaining the state of good repair of our existing 800 MHz SmartNet Type IIi trunked and Metrocom III transit CAD systems, completing the mandated rebanding of our National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) channels, funding a replacement radio system to include a new digital microwave backbone and narrowbanding systems below 512 MHz.

Our existing 800 MHz systems and microwave backbone were built in the late 1980s and have been maintained in a working state ever since. Unfortunately, this agency hasn’t benefited from significant investment in wireless technology, and our existing systems are starting to exhibit signs of aging. If it weren’t for the availability of parts through nontraditional sources — third-party suppliers, eBay and other agencies’ retired equipment — and the skill of our in-house maintenance forces, our system wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has, and we would have, no doubt, suffered from periodic outages/failures that would have impacted our ability to operate. Only now does it seem that a replacement system is a reality, and we are in the midst of preparing technical specifications for the replacement system.

As mentioned in other answers, 800 MHz rebanding and narrowbanding are other challenging issues.

 

Charles Dowd
 Deputy Chief
 New York Police Department (NYPD) Communications Division
 NYC 9-1-1

The two biggest issues are 700 MHz, which is discussed in other answers, and next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1). NG 9-1-1 technology is great, but we have some concerns about opening our network to cyber attacks. Our system does accept photos and text messages. There’s a code a 9-1-1 operator puts into the CAD system, and that routes the photo to the real-time crime center, but it’s not automatic. There’s a detective in the crime center who can evaluate the value of video or a photo for investigative purposes and immediate analysis. Detectives now find that information indispensable. But we have a concern that people could try to push things into the network to shut it down.

 

Scott Adams
 President
 Adams Electronics

The highest hurdle dealers have to overcome is the economy. We will have to spend an appreciable amount of money on this new infrastructure, just at a time when this money is difficult to come by. Once the infrastructure is constructed, getting the word out to users is the next task, but far less of an issue. Simply contacting former users for a test is likely to yield the greatest gain. Because most of these new technologies allow existing users to migrate to new technologies gradually, they will be the best form of advertising because they will experience the tremendous difference between the new and the old. Word of mouth has always been a strong suit in the LMR community.

 

John Johnson
 Radio System Analyst
 Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

The biggest problems are a shortage of good radio communications technicians, consistent sustainment funding, the high cost of Project 25 (P25) radio equipment, radio spectrum issues and being overwhelmed with too many projects.

 

Ron Beck
 Network Engineer
 Central Lincoln (Ore.) People’s Utility District

Spectrum and the narrowbanding of our voice system. Beyond that, the transition from Time Division Multiplex (TDM) Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) architectures to Ethernet architectures while maintaining the self-healing/maximum availability characteristics of our existing systems.

 

For more on the Harris acquisition of Tyco, click here.

For insights on the Project CAP program, click here.

The most important FCC policies are discussed here.

For more on the future of LTE technology, click here.

Predictions for the coming year are made here.

The biggest communications issues facing users are discussed here.

Your comments are welcome, click here.


 

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