Catalyst Selected for LMR / LTE Interworking Project by US Department of Homeland Security

The following post is a PRESS RELEASE describing an award from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to develop an LMT / LTE Interworking solution, announced at the APCO 2018 Conference in August 2018.

Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) between LMR and LTE Networks seen as a vital component of FirstNet™ deployment  

APCO 2018, Las Vegas NV – August 6, 2018

Catalyst Communications Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of Radio Control over IP Dispatch, Interoperability, and Incident Command solutions for the mission critical / first responder community, has been awarded a contract by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate for Interworking that will enable mission critical communications between First Responders using Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems and cellular devices over Long Term Evolution (LTE) Networks with push to talk applications. This contract is the result of an SBIR solicitation won by Catalyst in competition with other businesses. Catalyst’s experience and expertise with Project 25 (P25) technology, Broadband PTT, and interoperability using Internet Protocol makes the company uniquely qualified for the project.

As FirstNetTM continues to advance the schedule for deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the need for a feasible Interworking solution between LMR and LTE radio systems is critical. Especially as users discover applications where push-to-talk on a mobile phone or other broadband device may be more practical and less expensive than LMR portable radios, this migration will need interoperability and dispatch systems that can ensure unified and reliable communications between First Responders who are using these different systems. DHS S&T is interested in technology and solutions that take advantage of existing standards in P25 LMR and 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) LTE technologies to create seamless communications between users on these systems.

The objective of this three-phase project is to investigate and develop a reliable, secure, and standards-based LMR/P25 – LTE Mission Critical Network (e.g. MCPTT) interworking service for both:

1) The different LMR systems in use today

2) The current LMR systems and new LTE systems being deployed, including FirstNet™

In Phase II of the project, Catalyst would develop an interface service/server, anticipated to be a software product running on a standard networked computer or computers.  Catalyst is following the recommendations of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and its supporting organizations including the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).  By analyzing documents such as the 2018 NPSTC Public Safety LMR Interoperability with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk report, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) P25 Standards, and the 3GPP MCPTT standards, Catalyst is creating a comprehensive set of requirements and features for Interworking.

Mike Schools, Vice President of Engineering at Catalyst and the technical lead for this project, said, “Catalyst is very well positioned to provide insight and technology for Interworking, as we’ve been deploying interoperability solutions for the first responder community for more than 15 years. We understand the application requirements of Mission Critical Push to Talk and the complexity of internetwork communications. Solving interoperability challenges for the first responder community is a core competency of Catalyst.”

Catalyst’s contract with DHS Science and Technology Directorate is for Phase I of a three-phased effort as defined by the SBIR Guidelines. Catalyst looks forward to our continuing efforts, working with Public Safety agencies, DHS S&T, and other partners to provide commercially available solutions.

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