By John McHale
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Motorola engineers are building a $51.4 million advanced wireless voice and data-communications system called WyoLink capable of connecting more than 150 public-safety and public-service agencies throughout Wyoming. Motorola won the contract for the ASTRO 25-based system last December.
WyoLink was conceived in response to a need identified over the past decade for a shared, statewide radio system that provides interoperability among state, county, municipal, and federal communications systems. Wyoming’s strategic plan for Public Safety Mobile Communications specified a VHF trunked system, using the Project-25 open standards for digital voice and data communication, to replace four state-managed 25-year-old systems and an array of local government systems throughout the state.
The WyoLink system will integrate Wyoming public safety agencies into a unified communications system with features such as mobile data, voice, data encryption, unit identification, and automatic vehicle location throughout the state’s 97,813 square miles.
“There can be no doubt that allowing law enforcement and other first responders to speak to each other during an emergency will be a significant contribution to peace and safety in Wyoming,” says Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal. “Benefits will be seen on the local level, as different agencies within and among neighboring communities are able to communicate, as well as on the statewide level in a more wide-reaching emergency.”
The system, to be installed in four phases, is on a fast track for completion by the end of 2007. The cost of more expensive and powerful radio technology will be significantly offset by decreasing the 420 radio sites currently in use across Wyoming by public safety agencies, to potentially as few as 57 WyoLink sites.
WyoLink will interface to existing 800-MHz system in Casper and mutual aid functionality for those not on WyoLink with an anticipated 12,000 radios once all the agencies are online with 297 channels.
Project 25 standards-compliant radio system’s has multiple encryption keys for voice and data enable user agencies to restrict their communications for receipt only by intended audience. Agencies are able to communicate freely with one another while maintaining security of communications.
Each WyoLink radio also communicates an individual unit ID number during transmission, displayed on receiving radios or dispatch consoles. Location of a user’s vehicle can be determined by use of a global positioning system (GPS) receiver mounted in vehicle.
A vehicle-mounted laptop computer allows law enforcement officials to access distant databases to look up, for example, warrant, driver’s license, and vehicle registration information of suspects. The system also provides Limited Text Messaging, which enables a dispatcher to deliver a message to a unit even if the operator is not at his radio, can be transmitted in a fraction of a second and automatically logged on to the computer.
The WyoLink pilot phase in Laramie and Albany counties should be complete by July 2005, with the entire system online by the end of 2007, Motorola officials say. For more information visit www.motorola.com.