Hit-Gate consortium has been researching and developing a novel technological solution for communications interoperability between first responder networks. Such a challenge has been achieved without First Responder (FR) handset terminal modifications and by using dedicated COTS devices to ensure interoperability and security.
The developed solution enhances First Responder operations even in cross border situations where FR from different countries require interoperability with other working together in the same incident area. The following picture shows a possible scenario where TETRAPOL FRs from Spain will be able to interoperate with Portuguese PMR FRs and Spanish TETRA FRs. Moreover, FRs will be able to ask for experts’ information located in a French Command and Control Center and any commandant will be able to participate in communications by using his/her own GSM device.
In most common situations, First Responders require a set of communication services that is also supported by Hit-Gate Generic Interoperability Framework (GenIF). These communications are used in a seamless way using their own FR devices. GenIF comprises functions to allow the Cross Network Services (CNSrv) available for First Responders as shown in the figure below.
Security is also mandatory when First Responder operations and communication is being shared. The Hit-Gate consortium has been performed workshops with real users to retrieve their knowledge and suggestions in order to define a feasible set of security policies (improved even more thanks to consortium partners’ experience). A security solution has been implemented to fulfill the security policies providing private and trustful FR interoperable communications.
Hit-Gate is transportable, rapidly deployable and autonomous. The hardware of the ICASs (IMS Core & Application Servers) and IP-Adaptor has been designed using small-light-COTS products with enough battery energy to operate during hours without using external power supply. The software can be ready to operate in just a few minutes and it is designed and tested to comply with mission critical requirements. Moreover, additional hardware devices can be used to run ICASs or IP-Adaptor node because the software only requires a few setups to be adapted to hardware and to meet the requirements.
Nowadays, this short-term solution is able to interoperate PMR, TETRA, TETRAPOL, channel-switching telephony and broadband networks. The selected interconnection backbone network to connect and interoperate FR networks (FRN) is the commonly known IP-based network (e.g. Internet). One of the most interesting achievements is the development of a Generic Interoperability Framework (GenIF) that allows any FR terminal manufacturer to easy develop a Hit-Gate Translator supporting its proprietary protocol and the Hit-Gate GenIF interfaces. Each FRN will have an associated Hit-Gate Translator then the incorporation of future technologies – existing or new; radio or cable - will be supported.