Radio Interference in the Public Safety World. There are many different types of interference that may have an impact on existing radio communications systems whether they are Land Mobile Radio (LMR), broadband, marine band, aviation and satellite or, of course, Wi-Fi systems. Deliberately causing interference might be considered as “hacking” wireless systems. Then there is the issue of the noise floor and its level being higher than it has ever been, which can also have a negative impact on all types of wireless communications. Radio transmitters either by themselves or in conjunction with other transmitters can cause major interference issues as well. While there are other types of interference, I will limit the discussion for this week’s Public Safety Advocate (PSA) to those mentioned above.
Malicious Interference. Malicious interference is often attributable to how easy it is to purchase cheap handheld radios on the land mobile radio channels and then program them to work on almost any radio channel in use. Most of these radios are made in China. Although these units have been causing interference for many years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) only recently began to crack down on their use. Once a device is programmed to, for example, a fire radio channel, the “radio hacker” can make calls, disrupt incidents, and otherwise cripple communications. In one series of events a teenager with a radio tuned to a fire dispatch channel in California caused mass confusion by re-routing engines to different locations as they were being dispatched.
Public safety radios are sometimes taken out of service and sold or given to others, but most departments wipe them clean of their programming information before handing them over, or the radios are simply destroyed. A stolen or lost radio can normally be silenced and taken off the network much like your cell phone if it is lost or stolen. With mobile units, when the microphone button is pushed it sometimes inadvertently sticks and stays on the air. Many departments require all these radios to have time-out-timers in them to limit the time of the transmission and release the channel. It is difficult to identify open transmissions or catch radio hackers since they only transmit for a few minutes at a time and may move around. Some departments have enlisted the assistance of the local ham radio community as many hams practice “transmitter hunts” and have become very good at tracking down radios that should not be on the air.
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Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence/
Two FirstNet board members step down, leaving seven open seats
StateScoop Aug 21 17:30
The agency’s sole vendor for the project, AT&T, received authorization to begin building out its dedicated public safety broadband wireless spectrum in …
Records Show FirstNet, AT&T Execs Pressured Colorado Officials After LTE Interoperability Filing
RadioResource Media Group Aug 21 16:30
First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T executives criticized a July 6 Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) …
Two longtime FirstNet board members retire
RCR Wireless News Aug 21 16:10
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve public safety over the past six years. Having accomplished what Chief Johnson and I set out to do back …
A Senator Says U.S. Broadband Maps ‘Stink.’ Here’s Why Nobody Wants To Fix Them.
Techdirt Corporate Intelligence Aug 21 15:02
Last week we noted how an FCC “oversight” hearing fell well short of anything actually resembling, well, actual oversight. Three FCC staffers had just been caught making up a DDOS attack and misleading Congress, the press and the FBI about it — yet the subject was was barely even broached by lawmakers on either side of the aisle. It was another embarrassing example of the absence of anything resembling genuine accountability at the agency. Fortunately…
Twenty-two states ask US appeals court to reinstate ‘net neutrality’ rules
CNBC Aug 21 09:13
The states argue the FCC action could harm public safety, citing electrical grids as an example.Â
Ajit Pai Opposes Effort To Update The Definition Of Broadband
Techdirt Corporate Intelligence Aug 17 15:02
The Telecom Act of 1996 mandates that the FCC routinely assess whether broadband is “being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and do something about it if that’s not the case. As part of that mission, the FCC also periodically takes a look at the way it defines broadband to ensure the current definition meets modern consumer expectations and technical advancements. That’s why, much to the telecom industry’s chagrin , the…
The next steps for FirstNet: Defining indoor coverage specifications (Reader Forum)
FireEngineering.com Aug 17 13:55
… FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority), a public safety network. FirstNet will be America’s first broadband network dedicated to emergency …
Samsung’s Exynos i S111 Delivers Efficiency and Reliability for NB-IoT Devices
Samsung Newsroom Aug 23 04:40
Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its new narrowband (NB) Internet of Things (IoT) …
CTIA Unveils Internet Of Things Cybersecurity Certification
Law360 Aug 22 15:00
The program, CTIA said, builds on security recommendations for IoT put forward by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration …
Brazil plans network in 700 MHz band for security forces
Telecompaper Aug 18 04:00
Brazil is planning to set up an integrated communication network for the public security forces. This mobile broadband network will occupy part of the …
FCC supports rural broadband deployments to enable telehealth
Health Data Management Aug 17 23:00
The delivery of high-quality care is no longer limited to the confines of …
The US May Yet Catch Its Global Peers in 4G Speeds
Light Reading Aug 17 16:10
Verizon and AT&T debuted their 4G services the 700 MHz band they’d won in 2008. Sprint took the 2.5 GHz route for LTE after several attempts to …
Verizon calls for greater interoperability with FirstNet, says public-sector business still growing
Urgent Communications Aug 17 13:55
No public-safety agency should have to choose a network based on where an application sits or what applications they’ll have access to..
FCC Faces Senate Commerce Committee Panel In Oversight Hearing
All Access Music Group Aug 17 09:10
… missteps in the Net Neutrality proceeding as well as rural broadband, the Lifeline program, telehealth services, robocalls, and other issues.
FCC supports rural broadband deployments to enable telehealth
Health Data Management Aug 17 08:13
Commission envisions care delivered directly to patients via telemedicine, regardless of their location, says Commissioner Brendan Carr.