Damm Cellular Solutions, the Danish TETRA infrastructure manufacturer, demonstrated some new applications at PMR Expo 2012. First up was its TetraFlex Group Bridge – a new software solution that allows customers to communicate between analogue and TETRA networks.
The application is designed to help customers make the migration from analogue to digital radio systems. It can be used for group calls and SDS messages between different TETRA networks and between TETRA and analogue networks.
Damm sees the application as being particularly used for cross-organisational communications connecting group calls between military, police and other emergency units; or between local, regional and national networks during disasters or other mission critical operations. It could also be used on construction sites, for example, where several contractors need to connect to the main network.
One TetraFlex Group Bridge can support up to 32 groups made up from as many as five different TETRA or analogue networks in any combination. It comes with an intuitive graphical user interface, delivered as a software application, which can be installed on a Windows-run computer.
Damm believes the Group Bridge provides a very cost-effective and versatile solution. It can connect directly to a DAMM TetraFlex network through an internal terminal gateway in the TetraFlex Node.
Each Node is capable of connecting up to 200 TetraFlex Group Bridge applications. The bridge uses a TETRA device (hub radio) to connect to any other TETRA network, or to an analogue network via an analogue device (hub radio).
Damm has also developed an application to allow TETRA users to connect to Android devices and harness broadband technology. It provides fully encrypted voice, photos or data and can use Wi-Fi or a 3G/4G network for the broadband. The application allows customers to transfer large data files, for example, direct video streaming to the dispatcher in real time.
Encryption is provided by the deployment of a Cisco IPSecurity-based VPN (virtual private network) client on the Android platform. This creates an encrypted VPN tunnel to the TETRA infrastructure.
Authentication of Android devices is provided by the network controller who can generate a device authentication key inside the infrastructure and make the terminal aware of the key. When the Android terminal attempts to log on to the network the device presents the authentication key to the controller, who recognises it and lets it connect to the TETRA system.