Interoperable Communications: Focus on the City of Westminster, CO

Inter-RF Sub-System Interface (ISSI), part of the APCO Project 25 (P25) suite of standards, enables interoperable voice communications for first responders on different vendor networks. Russ Bowers, City of Westminster CO, talks about how the new capabilities are benefiting first responders and citizens. “It’s a capability we didn’t have before,” says Russ.

Part of the APCO Project 25 (P25) suite of standards is ISSI, Inter-RF (radio frequency) Sub-System Interface (ISSI), an interface based on IP technology that enables RF subsystems built by different manufacturers to be connected together into wide area networks. The result is enhanced communication capabilities for public safety first responders working to keep their communities safe.

In 2013, the City of Westminster, CO, nestled between Denver and Boulder, an Airbus DS Communications 9-1-1 customer since 2000, replaced its radio network with a three-site, 10-channel 800 MHz VESTA™ Radio system from Airbus DS Communications.

Russ Bowers, Public Safety Communications Administrator for the city of Westminster says that the paramount reason for upgrading the city’s radio system was because first responders couldn't talk to anyone else and had to carry around multiple radios. “We do lots of mutual aid with the wildfires we have throughout the summer and with our new VESTA™ Radio solution we were able to get rid of the multiple radios and can now talk directly to our neighbors - digitally with no latency. We use ISSI daily to connect our VESTA Radio network to the Motorola ASTRO P25 network in Adams County, Colorado. This is a capability we never had before.”

Russ says ISSI has a lot of capability in terms of bringing as many people as you need into your network. “Our intent is to tie into everyone around us that we do mutual aid or automatic aid with and tie in with the state as well. Having a digital connection to the state allows us to access the channel that formally we had to access through a gateway in an analog fashion. With the system we were using there was no way to patch channels. Now we can send anything we want.”

Russ says the bottom line is that now first responders have the most valuable communications tools to respond effectively to wide scale incidents. “Since we've had our new system, our coverage and capacity has increased significantly. I am surprised and pleased with the simplicity of ISSI. It just works.”

For more information on Westminster’s ISSI implementation, Click Here