What is P25?
P25 is a standard for the manufacturing of interoperable digital two-way wireless communications products. Sometimes also known as Project 25 or APCO P25, this is a user-driven standard, it is not industry – or Federal government – driven standard.
P25 allows for improved communications within and between agencies – especially emergency service providers. Such intra- and inter-operability is necessary for coordinating efficient and timely responses in our post-911 world.
What are some of the hallmarks of P25 technology?
More choices and affordability
■With a standard in place, government agencies can now choose from multiple vendors and products when selecting their communications equipment, ultimately saving money and gaining the freedom to select from the widest range of features.
■Minimal training is required for P25 operation.
Digital and analog
■P25 radios can communicate in analog mode with other legacy radios and they can communicate with other P25 radios in analog or digital mode.
■P25 may be used in "talk around" mode without any intervening equipment between two radios, in conventional mode where two radios communicate through a repeater or base station without trunking or in a trunked mode. (Trunking means signals are automatically assigned to a channel by a repeater or base station.) Icom's latest P25 radio models offer all three communication types in one package.
Improved radio spectrum efficiency
■P25 networks will have enough capacity to handle calls and allow room for growth, even in areas where the spectrum is crowded and it's difficult for agencies to obtain licenses for additional radio frequencies.
P25 is a North American standard
P25 is a digital standard developed by North America. P25 is also being used in Australia and several other countries. P25 is similar to, but different than, the TETRA protocol in development and use throughout most of Europe.
AES and DES encryption
While P25 was developed with Homeland Security in mind, non-first responders can and do use the standard. P25 is not limited to government users, it is open for use to the general public – properly licensed, of course. As an example, P25 is proving especially popular with the railroad industry.
Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 is a U.S. government computer security standard used to accredit cryptographic modules. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued the FIPS 140 Publication Series to coordinate the requirements and standards for cryptography modules that include both hardware and software components. Federal agencies and departments can validate that the module in use is covered by an existing FIPS 140-1 or FIPS 140-2 certificate that specifies the exact module name, hardware, software, firmware, and/or applet version numbers. The cryptographic modules are produced by the private sector or open source communities for use by the U.S. government and other regulated industries (such as financial and health-care institutions) that collect, store, transfer, share and disseminate sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information.
What is the future of P25?
There are two phases of P25 development. Phase 1 is complete. It specifies the use of a 12.5 kHz bandwidth in analog, digital or mixed mode. Thus, backward compatibility with older legacy radio systems is built-in.
Two-slot TDMA has now been approved and 6.25 kHz FDMA is under consideration as a second option.
Icom already has radio and repeater models that operate using true 6.25 kHz digital channel spacing. However, these digital models use different protocols (IDAS, via NXDN™ D-STAR) and are not P25 compliant. So, Icom is already well-versed in true 6.25 kHz digital technology.
Icom's commitment to P25 technology
Finally, there is a choice in the public safety radio market. Icom is proud to offer MIL-SPEC rugged P25 radios that meet or exceed grant requirements governing agency purchases. We're developing an entire family of P25 products that allow government leaders and purchasing agents the opportunity to make the most of their budgets, with the potential to put more units in the field for the same price. Digital technology is here to stay, and so is Icom. We have nearly 45 years experience in building reliable, cutting-edge radio equipment that's coveted the world over. Count on us!
All P25 radios come with a 3 year standard warranty.