DHS OIC Makes Key Updates to P25 Approved Equipment Web Page

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC) have made key updates for the Approved Equipment web page found on the P25 CAP web site. Changes include an updated equipment approval process and the addition of a search and filter function for STRs and SDOCs. This feature makes finding P25 CAP compliant equipment as easy as searching by Supplier or Equipment Type to get data quickly.

P25 CAP Web Site Updates:

Updated Equipment Approval Process: The Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP) and its Advisory Panel (AP) have for months been working through the issue of the inclusion of non-standard encryption in the P25 environment, and are proud to share that a clear path forward has been reached. Now, the end user will have enhanced clarity on what they’re buying into when it comes to subscriber unit features. The P25 CAP’s website has long featured an Approved (Grant-Eligible) Equipment list. OIC recently approved Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program Encryption Requirements Compliance Assessment Bulletin (CAB) and with that comes a change in the way the Approved Equipment list looks and operates. Site visitors will now come across the following two categories and descriptions:

1)      Fully Compliant with all P25 CAP requirements list document

The above list includes subscriber equipment that’s fully compliant with all P25 CAP requirements. This equipment can be supplied without any installed encryption algorithms or with optional Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 encryption capability, AES 256 encryption is the approved published encryption standard with the broadest support across all levels of law enforcement.

2) Non-compliant with the P25 CAP Encryption CAB requirements list document

The above lists includes subscriber equipment that has been tested to the P25 CAP requirements but have been found to be non-compliant with the P25 CAP Encryption CAB.

The P25 stakeholder community had frequently raised the issue of manufacturers continually providing non-P25 standard encryption algorithms that ultimately would cause interoperability issues with neighboring agencies who were using P25 standard AES 256 encryption. The key concern was the potential impact non-standard encryption has on interoperability. To sum it up, when first responders from different jurisdictions are using subscribers from different vendors but are not using the standards-based and P25 CAP approved AES 256 encryption, it is very possible successful and secure communications will not occur thereby inhibiting interoperability. However, if a subscriber unit would provide the standards-based encryption (AES 256) at a minimum in addition to non-standards based encryption, users can then always use standards-based encryption during a mutual aid scenario or situations where users have different subscriber vendors/models and have a need to operate in an encrypted mode.P25 CAP sought to reach the point where the end user, who is seeking encryption, could be assured that the subscriber unit includes user access to that AES 256 encryption algorithm.

Again, ultimately, the updated equipment requirements are in service of the end user’s clarity of P25 CAP compliant vs. non-compliant equipment options and P25 CAP’s ongoing mission to help ensure interoperability among public safety officials responding to various mutual aid scenarios.

Search and Filter Function

In addition to the web site updates made as a result of the publishing of the Encryption CAB, DHS OIC would also like to announce the creation of a search and filter function on its web site for STRs and SDOCs. This feature makes finding P25 CAP compliant equipment as easy as searching by Supplier or Equipment Type to get the data you need quickly.