(Opinion Piece from the Private Wireless Forum) P25: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Technology

Here are two of my favorite quotations:

“Spectrum management is an exercise in balancing disparate stakeholder interests through effective user education and the enforcement of regulatory policies that reflect practical reality, political responsibility, economic common sense, and a basic understanding of the laws of physics.” – Unknown

“Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.” – Putt’s Law

One of the greatest challenges faced by many of today’s Public Safety officials and decision-makers – particularly when it comes to the implementation of both cost and operationally effective, responsible, and realistic radio and/or wireless communications systems and interoperability solutions – is their often blind or at least unquestioned adoption or embracing of ‘solutions’ offered by politicians and government agency politics. Add the often dubious ‘solutions’ and self-serving business politics and sales ethics of certain equipment manufacturers, and, the ‘recommendations’ of many so-called ‘consultants’ and/or ‘experts’ found at all levels of the food chain (there are some exceptions to the above!) who have no real clue as to what they are speaking of much less recommending, and we have the essence of the fundamental problem.

Analog? Digital? (What digital flavor?) Trunked? Conventional? PTT over public cellular networks? IP? LTE? FirstNet? The difficulties in choosing any communications solution has been very evident in the Public Safety radio community for years and years – just ask the lowly radio system support professional how much technical and operational input they’ve attempted to offer that has either not been listened to or even seriously considered. And we wonder why Public Safety communications systems and equipment is so costly (among other things we wonder about).

One type of technology – whether it be one of any of the above choices or something else – will NOT fit all. But, for whatever it may be worth, the use of good, old-fashioned, mature analog PTT communications technology by Public Safety is still the overall winner and will remain so for quite some time. Just my two cent opinion.