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IACP 2010: Raytheon demonstrates the capabilities of P25Net

P25Net is an innovative P25 digital radio system that enables agencies to seamlessly connect disparate P25 and non-P25 radio networks

In the world of police and other first responder communications technology, Raytheon is seeking to create a new way of developing a network on which any device can run, regardless of manufacturer, enabling world-class voice and data-communications for police officers.

“For ten years we’ve been making the interoperability product, where you can take legacy systems and tie them together through channel converters and all sorts of other systems,” said aid Mike Bostic, who brings 34 years of experience as an LAPD officer to his current role at Raytheon. Bostic spoke with PoliceOne from within the company’s impressive technology display at IACP 2010, taking time from a very busy day of meetings with police leaders to bring us up to speed on the latest about P25Net.

“Unfortunately, as you know, in the real world the only thing that prevents someone from pushing a button on a radio and talking with someone else on a different radio is whoever makes it. Meanwhile, on a cell phone, you’re on an open network — purposely — so anybody can make any device and make any application and make it happen. What we’ve done with P25Net is that we now have a system that’s capable of having a base station that can go over any radio frequency — 700 MHz, 800 MHZ, VHF, UHF, it will be able to do LTE, cell phones, any data system or video system will work.”

Simply, P25Net is an innovative P25 digital radio system that enables agencies to seamlessly connect disparate P25 and non-P25 radio networks. This is no small feat, and credit must be given to the visionaries at Raytheon to turned what seems like a simple idea — trust me, it is anything but simple — into reality.

“With this system, the agency that uses this and makes this shift, they now control the destiny of what they’re able to buy and use on the system,” Bostic said.

This is a critical difference, because that gives the agency the flexibility it may need 10, 15, 20, 25 years down the line from that initial infrastructure investment. As new technologies and products emerge, as long as they are built on open architecture, is in play for adding to the system as needs arise and budgets allow.

“We believe the customer comes first, and if you buy something from us, we don’t own you. We’re building a system for you that you own, and you own your own path. If you want us to keep helping you with new technology and advise you about what works on the system the best, we’re willing to do that, but we’re not here to own you for the next 25 years,” Bostic concluded.

What does this all mean? Well, simply put, over time, the line officer is going to end up with a device in his hand that does every thing his smart phone can do, but do it over a dedicated first responder network.

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