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S&T Engine: Communications and Networking

S&T Engine: Communications and Networking

The Communications and Networking Engine (CN-E) ensures first responders and other operators served by S&T programs can exchange information (i.e., voice, video, or data) through any medium.  S&T develops many tools for end users, such as first responders, that all rely on the foundational ability to transmit information via networks. CN-E provides programs with the most efficient and effective network solutions for reliable connections in any situation.

Description and Approach

CN-E provides S&T programs with integrated networking solutions to ensure interoperable communication across all network platforms (e.g., Wi-Fi, commercial 4G LTE, FirstNet or satellite). This Engine focuses on:

  • information exchange between DHS components, responders, and other end users, and
  • the network solutions for first responder communications with citizens in the alerts, warnings, and notifications area.

CN-E works towards the goal of keeping the S&T program user community connected through the use of flexible network architecture. To achieve this vision, CN-E will accelerate targeted interoperability solutions, leaving the end users better equipped to protect lives, property and the nation.

Key Activities

  • Work with programs to identify requirements and apply existing capabilities to meet immediate needs.
  • Coordinate with Engines and other S&T organizations to address program needs
  • Work with S&T program leadership to identify common use cases to create interoperable communications and network models that are seamless for the end user.

The Engine will promote the ability to move between networks without interruption or interference while reducing identified points of failure.  The best communications solution varies between different incident and network areas (e.g., communicating over long ranges or through buildings), so each case must be assessed independently. CN-E will review the needs of S&T programs and recommend dynamic solutions for each use case. Examples of these solutions include small cell deployable networks, unmanned aerial vehicles, cellular on wheels, or even wearable communications hubs integrated into a first responder’s personal protective equipment.

Customer Input and Priorities

CN-E is driven by S&T program requirements, which in turn are stakeholder-driven. For example, many of the efforts identified in the Next-Generation First Responder Apex program were drawn from the S&T Project Responder 4 report.

This report was drafted in collaboration with the first responder community to identify capability gaps and priorities for catastrophic incident response.  S&T also regularly receives input through public safety groups such as the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, the SAFECOM Emergency Response Council, and federal partners.

CN-E leverages feedback from the community as well as the latest advancements from academia and industry to serve S&T programs.

To learn more about the Communications and Networking Engine, contact technologyengines@hq.dhs.gov.

View the Communications and Networking Engine Fact Sheet!

 

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