Friday, December 30, 2011

Verizon blames “growing pains” for LTE 4G outages | VentureBeat: Verizon Wireless may be paying the price for being the first carrier in the world to widely roll out LTE 4G technology.

The carrier has pointed to the relative immaturity of LTE as the reason for its 4G service outages throughout 2011, reports GigaOm, who chatted with Verizon VP of network engineering Mike Haberman yesterday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homeland Security gets more cyber funding, less for science research -- Federal Computer Week: Southwestern border technology, scientific research programs and grants for state and local first responders are losing support in the Homeland Security Department’s final budget for fiscal 2012 approved by Congress. Meanwhile, cybersecurity and biosurveillance systems are among the programs gaining expanded funding.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Once upon a time in a land far, far away... | Daryl Jones' Weblog: Once upon a time in the land of Far-Far-Away in the State of Insolvent there were some chiefs from Bewildered County. They had an old-fashioned stupid plain vanilla analog radio system that worked perfectly two thirds of the time, but the other third of the time their radios had a little static.

Even though it almost never-ever failed completely it just wasn’t rosy and perfect. They could still talk to all their neighbors (who had old-fashioned stupid plain vanilla analog radio systems too), but not directly to the Big Department in Crooked County hundreds of miles away, or to the Inspectors from the State of Insolvent or the Men from Far-Far-Away. And most importantly, it just wasn’t shiny and NEW. .....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Communications upgrade for first responders - Washington Times: Congress must decide between a fiscally irresponsible 20th-century model of dedicated, expensive public-safety networks that become rapidly obsolete or a 21st-century model of cost-effective public-private, shared infrastructure. Our country can afford neither billions of dollars to build and operate a new dedicated public-safety network nor the reallocation of commercial spectrum to dedicated public-safety use when a far more cost-effective path forward is available.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consumers Energy: interoperability, in-house and out | Intelligent Utility: In-house, Gillmore [director of enterprise architecture and standards and chief architect] explained, "guiding principle number one is loosely coupled, layered architectures. You should be able to change layers out without breaking the upper stack. We've taken those principles into our architectural smart grid approach for interoperability. Loosely coupled and layered architecture allows electric meters to be agnostic of the underlying communications technology. Our selected technology allows us to use any of the nation's major wireless carriers. This approach also allows us to use any electric meter technology, as appropriate."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In the 'It Should Be So Easy Department', Biden Breathlessly Claims Broadband Wireless is a Replacement for LMR : "Instead of the old radios they use now, first responders will communicate with devices that will also let them transmit video, images and data. Firefighters will be able to download building schematics onto their devices to find the best routes to safety. A police officer will be able to quickly determine if the car in the traffic stop is stolen or if the driver has an outstanding warrant. EMTs will be able to transmit pictures from an accident scene ahead to doctors in the emergency room. Lives will, quite simply, be saved."
Big Money for Public Safety Broadband?: "WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama will today detail his plan to win the future by catalyzing the buildout of high-speed wireless services that will enable businesses to grow faster, students to learn more, and public safety officials to access state-of-the-art, secure, nationwide, and interoperable mobile communications."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mesmerized by Technology Department: "Hoping to solve problems fingered by a 9/11 commission, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Third Report and Order (Order) and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) drafted to advance communications interoperability for U.S. first responders."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Critical Stewardship

A friend recently wondered why so many large radio projects for public safety are on the skids. The answer is many-faceted, but the common characteristic of successful projects is simple: Critical stewardship.

Fiscal discipline is the heart of critical stewardship. Stewards include not only the users of such systems, but elected representatives and, ultimately, the public that pays for them. Costs - all costs - are examined from the beginning. Sources of funding are closely examined, with conservative assumptions taken with fiscal questions. Funding is assumed to come directly from the affected jurisdictions rather than taxpayers in others who are already paying for their own needs. Cautious practicality serves best, avoiding emotional appeals and purveyors of glittering generalities.

The simple question can be asked, "Is this sustainable?" Sustainability includes operation, maintenance, and life cycle replacement of systems. If those costs, alone, are prohibitive, some other "solution" is in order. The features and promised benefits may be attractive, but "Field of Dreams" projects are generally irresponsible - unless they are funded by individuals, companies, or directly-accountable officials who will bear the costs if failure befalls.
Emergency Support Function #2 - The United States' National Response Framework (NRF) defines a series of emergency support functions or ESFs. The second of these is communications. According to the NRF, "[c]ommunications supports the restoration of the communications infrastructure, facilitates the recovery of systems and applications from cyber attacks, and coordinates Federal communications support to response efforts during incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response." The National Communications System, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), coordinates doctrine and implementation of ESF #2. It also has the primary Federal responsibility for support of restoration of common carrier capabilities following disasters, while the DHS Federal Emergency Management Agency has primary Federal responsibility for assisting restoration of public safety communications capabilities.

While ESF #2 activations outside of major emergencies or disasters are rare, the concept of ESFs is useful in discussing the functional centers of necessary capabilities and support during emergencies.
All-Hazards ICS COML Website - The website linked here provides official information on the all-hazards Communications Leader (COML) position under the Incident Command System (ICS) of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) developed the training and conducted a series of classes nationwide that had over 2,000 participants. There is an unofficial Yahoo Group where many ongoing questions are asked and answered by practitioners.
All-Hazards ICS Communications Unit Leader (COML) - The State of Tennessee has been a leader in using the Incident Command System (ICS) to improve communications during emergencies. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has adopted standardized training for all-hazards ICS Communications Unit Leaders (COMLs) and procedures for credentialing at three levels, starting at the local level. There's even a Yahoo group for Tennessee COMLs.

Combined with ongoing support of state officials, these steps make Tennessee one of the best prepared states in the nation to assure response-level emergency communications needs are met.
Communications Technician (COMT) Training Courses: "Communications Technician (COMT) Training Courses" - All-hazards ICS Communications Technician training is ramping up. This week-long course, developed by the DHS Office of Emergency Communications, is designed to provide individuals who will serve in the role of a COMT during incident response with skills and resources. This is the official, all-hazards training for the ICS position.