Author: April O’Reilly, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Joint SAFECOM-NCSWIC P25 UNWG Federal Lead
For almost a century, radios have been the primary means of communication within the public safety community, linking personnel to their dispatchers and each other. Since the advent of Project 25 (P25) more than 30 years ago, land mobile radio (LMR) systems have become interoperable and acquired a long list of enhanced features and capabilities. While designed primarily for group and individual voice services, LMR systems today offer end-to-end encryption and low-speed, non-broadband data applications for location services, over-the-air rekeying (OTAR), and limited data exchange. The Joint SAFECOM/National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) P25 User Needs Working Group (UNWG) developed the Land Mobile Radio (LMR)/Long Term Evolution (LTE) Integration: Best Practices whitepaper to share a snapshot of best practices and integration use cases identified by a variety of public safety members across the country during interviews conducted by P25 UNWG members and supported by CISA.
This document shares early LMR/LTE integration efforts at the state and local levels. Gathered through interviews with public safety practitioners who are pioneering LMR/LTE integration, the information in this document aims to demonstrate the potential of these efforts and presents some of the lessons these agencies have learned along the way. The LMR/LTE Integration: Best Practices whitepaper found it is unlikely that LTE will replace LMR in the foreseeable future; rather, LMR and LTE technologies will likely merge. Service providers and vendors are already offering gateways and software that can integrate the two, and public safety agencies across the United States are implementing these solutions to enhance their operational efficiency. Stakeholders are encouraged to share these documents with their respective networks.