JPEO JTRS Teams with Calit2 UC San Diego Researchers on P25 Waveform Development

By Jason Galetti and Maureen C. Curran

Jeff Cuenco, Wenhua Zhao, Anthony Nwokafor
(from left) Wenhua Zhao, Jeff Cuenco and Anthony Nwokafor

San Diego, CA, August 17, 2009 — The Joint Program Executive Office, Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JPEO JTRS) is working on a Project 25 (P25) standards waveform development project in conjunction with the University of California San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

The effort is phase I of a three-phase approach by JPEO JTRS, designed to enable interoperable capability between military radios and emergency and first responder agencies.

"The development of a P25 waveform is a great opportunity for Calit2," said Bill Hodgkiss, principal investigator on the Calit2/JTRS SDR Project, "Because it combines both our interest in continuing development of software-defined radio waveforms with JTRS and our ongoing involvement with the first-responder community." Hodgkiss is also associate director of the UC San Diego division of Calit2.

During phase I, Calit2 engineers will use the Software Communications Architecture (SCA) and JTRS application program interfaces (APIs) to initially implement P25 in a software simulation.

Next, they will port the waveform to a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) development platform, which will then lead to a demonstration of radio frequency end-to-end functionality.

Finally, the team will demonstrate interoperability with commercial P25 radios, simulating military interoperability with COTS first-responder radios running the P25 waveform.

APCO Project 25 is a joint effort cochaired by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO International) and the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD), with partners in the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the active participation of other associations and numerous federal, state, city, and county agencies, as well as participants from other countries.

The standards developed by the project are known as Project 25 (or P25) standards. The project concerns the development of standards for digital telecommunications technology, including an objective to determine consensus standards for digital radio equipment embracing elements of interoperability, spectrum efficiency and cost.

Phase III of the project will be the incorporation of the P25 waveform into the JTRS program of record, which provides the management and funding mechanism required to deliver the radio to the military end users.

Interoperability for a first-responder participant requires public safety agencies (fire, police, medical) to have direct communications when they operate with one another across disciplines and jurisdictions. In order to facilitate this communication goal, agencies are looking at non-military waveform standards such as P25.

Using a standardized suite of waveform standards allows radio sets, manufactured by different vendors, to communicate. Ultimately, porting the P25 waveform to JTRS radios will allow military organizations to interoperate with state and local agencies in time of an emergency, such as a disaster relief scenario.

The Calit2/JTRS Software-defined Radio Project is a collaborative research effort supported by the U.S. JPEO JTRS, involving Software Communications Architecture (SCA) compliant software-defined radio (SDR) development platforms (porting the FM3TR waveform, development of a P25 waveform), a high performance amplifier (HPA) test-bed and hosting the JTRS Open Information Repository (IR).

The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), headquartered in San Diego, California, was initiated in early 1997 to improve and consolidate the Services´ pursuit of separate solutions to replace existing legacy radios in the Department of Defense inventory. The JTRS program has evolved from separate radio replacement programs to an integrated effort to network multiple weapon system platforms and forward combat units where it matters most - the last tactical mile. JTRS will link the power of the Global Information Grid to the warfighter in applying fire effects and achieving overall battlefield superiority.

JTRS is developing an open architecture of cutting edge radio waveform technology that allows multiple radio types (e.g., handheld, aircraft, maritime) to communicate with each other. The goal is to produce a family of interoperable, modular software-defined radios which operate as nodes in a network to ensure secure wireless communication and networking services for mobile and fixed forces. These goals extend to U.S. allies, coalition partners and, in time, disaster response personnel.

Related Links

Calit2/JTRS Software-defined Radio (SDR) Project

Related Articles
UC San Diego Researchers Succeed in Rapid Port of FM3TR Waveform to Spectrum's Multi-Purpose Radio