At PMRExpo, Cassidian is to unveil a new secure TETRA paging device to meet the needs of rescue organisations operating on a voluntary basis. The device combines antenna performance, battery autonomy and robustness in a compact format, the vendor claims.
In contrast to existing analogue paging devices, the TETRA pager enables secure two-way communication between the control centre and the operational units. It offers TETRA features, such as group calls, thereby enhancing functionalities dedicated to alerting.
Particularly relevant to volunteer organisations is the availability status message feature by which users can indicate their readiness to participate in assignments, thereby allowing the control centre to be aware at all times of who is available.
In the event of an incident, the control centre can then alert the necessary personnel by using either an individually or a group addressed call-out. Information about the severity of the incident can be delivered together with alert information to inform the receiver instantly of the urgency and nature of the call-out.
After receiving an alert from the operation control system, the user can provide a direct response stating whether he or she is currently available for deployment. This new type of alert allows for significantly improved resource management in cases of emergency.
In addition to the terminal device and accessories, Cassidian also provides its Taqto intelligent terminal management solution.
Taqto acts as a terminal asset management system and will enable the user organisations involved to keep a record of all devices in the field, including their parameter configurations.
In addition, Taqto supports remote firmware updates for the pager via the internet through secure connections, thereby facilitating administration of the pager fleet in the field.
Satellite-TETRA becomes a viable reality
At PMR Expo, Cassidian will also continue to push forward the message that satellite links can be used to support TETRA users with TETRA features such as group and individual calling and short data services.
The company says that two breakthroughs have occurred that now make satellite connections viable. One is that the cost is coming down and the other is that the latency involved in satellite communications has decreased to the extent that they are suitable to support highly sensitive communications – even those of emergency services.
The company has found that satellite latencies range between half a second to a maximum of 0.7 seconds. At last year’s Expo, the company demonstrated a live satellite-TETRA connection with ‘satellite operator Astrium that illustrated that this level of latency is acceptable.
Cassidian emphasises that a TETRA network with satellite link in many cases is the only remaining and functioning means of communication. If, for example, communication via cellular networks or landlines breaks down in the event of natural catastrophe, wide-scale power cuts or major events, the only alternative is satellite connectivity.
Mobile satellite systems can be transported in any medium-sized vehicle or in a special trailer and are therefore flexible to deploy.
After arriving at a suitable location, the antenna homes in on the required satellite independently and fully automatically, at the push of a button, thus establishing the radio link and making connection to the PMR network immediately possible.