On November 14, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, operated by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, conducted an operational field assessment (OFA) of the Conventional Fixed Station Interface (CFSI) for Legacy Base Station equipment prototype, developed by Christine Wireless Inc. The OFA was held at the Department of Interior (DOI) Radio Laboratory in Denver, Colorado. Federal, state, and local first responders and other stakeholders involved in radio communications systems participated in the OFA.
The CFSI is an aftermarket board that attaches to existing radio base station equipment to allow interconnectivity with new or different manufacturers’ dispatch equipment. It is a communications interoperability solution based on the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) standard, TIA-102.BAHA. At the OFA, the CFSI successfully connected legacy base station equipment with four different dispatch consoles for audio, data, control, and other functions, as well as with external equipment for testing additional features. Test requirements were derived from planning, design, and grant documents.
The CFSI was tested against two different Motorola base radios and four different consoles. Fifteen different functional capabilities were tested per console. The CFSI performed remarkably well considering the various levels of compliance it needed to achieve with these devices. A few non-compliance issues were found, however. According to the subject matter experts at DOI, some of these non-compliance issues were with the console or the portable radio used for testing. After testing was able to identify some of the issues, the vendor was able to further troubleshoot them and provide solutions.
In summary, the participating first responders reacted positively to the CFSI. The representative for the U.S. Marshals Service was particularly impressed with the autonomous mode recently added, which went beyond the scope of work for the project. This mode allows for firmware to be updated remotely; voice, data, and control information to be sent and controlled over different Internet Protocol addresses; and Over-the-Air Rekeying and capabilities.