General Dynamics Broadband to Enter Public-Safety Market (7/16/12)
By Sandra Wendelken
General Dynamics is gearing up to be a big player in the public-safety broadband market once FirstNet is established and moves forward with network buildouts, said executives from the company. In May, General Dynamics purchased IPWireless, supplier of two public-safety broadband communications systems, and formed General Dynamics Broadband.
“We own our technology so we can tailor our technology to public-safety applications,” said Bill Jones, general manager of General Dynamics Broadband and founder of IPWireless. “Others are reselling commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) equipment and that’s OK at first, but public-safety LTE is going to require some very specific, tailored equipment, both in the devices and infrastructure.”
Company executives plan to work closely with National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and FirstNet officials on public-safety LTE standards. “New features need to be developed through the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) body,” said Jones. “It’s a global body, and public safety will be part of a very large beast. I think that’s where we can help. We’ve been very successful at pushing through features that are quite specific in nature and specific applications. We understand the process very well.”
General Dynamics will complement the IPWireless public-safety LTE device and infrastructure technology with its general contracting, design and engineering, services and other key assets, said Manny Mora, senior vice president of General Dynamics C4 Systems, parent firm of General Dynamics Broadband.
The company has two new public-safety products on the market, including the Pathmaker software-programmable radio with mesh networking technology. The UHF radio can network with any IP-based system for tactical voice and small amounts of data.
Last year, General Dynamics bought Fortress Technologies, a provider of secure wireless networking technology. The Fortress technology will be integrated into the firm’s public-safety LTE products and can help expand coverage, said Jones.
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