QinetiQ to improve emergency services communications

FARNBOROUGH, England, 7 May 2007. Officials of QinetiQ in Farnborough, England, and Thorcom Systems in Worcester, England, are teaming to improve the communications of emergency services personnel.

Wireless data specialist Thorcom has licensed technology to QinetiQ that addresses bandwidth limitations on the existing TETRA communications network by using other networks without compromising security.

TETRA is the primary bearer for secure and resilient communications for the emergency and has the advantage of being dedicated to the emergency services community and a select group of additional users, such as the Highways Agency. In times of crisis, when other networks face increases in private sector traffic, emergency services users can rely on the availability of the dedicated network.

However, because of the bandwidth of the TETRA network, even with high levels of compression, there are limitations on the volume of data traffic which can be transmitted. Some emergency services providers have implemented solutions using other networks but by doing so lose the benefit of security and availability. This could have particular impact at times of national crisis when demands on other networks will be high.

QinetiQ has developed multi-bearer routing technology which allows data from emergency services applications to be securely and selectively routed across different bearers. Based on patents developed for naval applications, the technology allows highly confidential data to always be routed over the TETRA bearer, while simultaneously routing less sensitive high bandwidth data, such as still photographs, video or CCTV images, over other high capacity bearers. If one of these bearers is lost, the application routes seamlessly over an alternative bearer, with no need for user intervention and no interruption to the service.

One major concern in linking bearers in this way is possible compromise of the secure TETRA bearer via the alternative or 'untrusted' bearers. QinetiQ, with its in-depth understanding of accreditation and secure communications, has created a software engine which is designed in an inherently secure manner. QinetiQ will provide additional accreditation consultancy as the software is migrated onto the Thorcom VR2000 product platform. This will ensure that Thorcom incorporates the QinetiQ routing software in such a way that the security of the TETRA bearer will not be compromised, and will create the emergency service industry's first accreditable multi-bearer routing product.

For more information contact QinetiQ online at www.qinetiq.com, or Thorcom at www.thorcom.co.uk.

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