European briefs

June 1, 2007

QinetiQ to improve emergency-services communications

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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 services 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 that can be transmitted. Some emergency-services providers have implemented solutions using other networks but by doing so lost the benefit of security and availability, which could have particular impact at times of national crisis when demands on other networks will be high. QinetiQ has developed multibearer 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. For more information contact QinetiQ online at, or Thorcom at

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