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London riots: Police forced to use own mobile phones after radio system collapsed

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902

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Something to think about if the "D" block gets shared with the public. There is no reason why any P.S. agency should use a public network for first line comms. I hope the U.S. takes notice.
They won't.

There are too many high-level people pushing for it (some who've never worn a uniform and some who are probably heavily-leveraged investors of LTE technologies and of prospective service providers, or compensated by the "industry" in some way... there are lots of people making lots of money with their "educated opinions" [read: talking head] pushing on for similar-minded people), and too many legislators/regulators believing that, by taking away the messy LMR environment and auctioning the spectrum for more revenue-producing data services, that the numerous radio problems agencies have will be miraculously solved. What they don't realize is that infrastructure-dependent systems may have neat features and have a very high nifty score, but when they fail, they fail big.

"D Block" is but one tool in a toolbox that should have the right tool for the right job. It would be absurd to take away a cop's gun and hand him a shotgun and say, "Here ya go, that's all you're ever going to need." It seems that's exactly what the current advocates are pushing for. Imagine the pushback you'd get doing that because cops are good at their jobs and many take the time to know their weapons inside and out - but radio is a magic box they hand off to someone else to understand or is too insignificant or complex to pay attention to. It could be a good tool, but no one thing should be looked at as the end-all.
 

citylink_uk

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LONDON -- Police were forced to use their own mobile phones during the August riots after a multi-billion pound radio system collapsed, according to a leaked internal report on how UK forces responded to the disorder.
Airwave (the company that runs the network) have issued a statement to say that the radio system worked fine and that they have records to prove it!

I imagine there was a bit of confusion with regards to who should be on what talk group etc. and probably a bit of channel queueing.
 

902

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Airwave (the company that runs the network) have issued a statement to say that the radio system worked fine and that they have records to prove it!

I imagine there was a bit of confusion with regards to who should be on what talk group etc. and probably a bit of channel queueing.
In a closed network, who can say? It's the literally the word of the cops on the street versus the executives in the office and whatever documentation they present (remember, if they make the documentation, so they can select what they show and what they don't). I'm leary of this sort of situation from the UK, as the boardroom Brits tend to state their case in (to my view) a bombastic and callous way.

I'm not sure who to believe, actually, because I see some of the spectacle of tabloid "journalism" (read: stirring the pot to incite people into buying the Mirror) in the article, too.

We'll be like this in 10 years if we continue to cruise down the road where a network maintained by a third party can provide 100% of the telecommunications and data services. Without an ombudsman and strong preferential bias toward field personnel - and their direct involvement in strong stakeholder and shareholder groups, I expect we'll be seeing media spin and backpedaling in response to newly identified network deficiencies rather than investments in capacity, network integrity, and survivability. If you are a cop, firefighter, EMT, or other public employee reading this, insist that you stay engaged in and informed about your communications systems - most especially if "D Block" takes off and is operated by some monolithic company hundreds of miles away from you.
 

2wayfreq

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What were talking about here is Tetra, which is more suited for Utility Companies i.e. Water, Oil,Electric,Nuclear Plants, not public safety. Its kinda the European version of Open Sky which is a dismal failure for public safety here.
 

nd5y

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What were talking about here is Tetra, which is more suited for Utility Companies i.e. Water, Oil,Electric,Nuclear Plants, not public safety. Its kinda the European version of Open Sky which is a dismal failure for public safety here.
By far the largest market is that of public safety, where the trend is for the deployment of nationwide networks shared by all public safety organisations for reasons of economics (sharing), autonomy of operation for routine communications and the ability to fully interoperate with other services during emergency situations and disasters.

TETRA + Critical Communications Association
 

W2PMX

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Airwave (the company that runs the network) have issued a statement to say that the radio system worked fine and that they have records to prove it!
Records to prove that every unit that got through the system got through. You can't list things you're not aeware of. Units not getting through wouldn't show up in their figures, so the figures look good. (It's like the US car insurance commercials - "The average driver who switched from company Z to us saved $200 a year." Even if only 2 drivers in the entire country made that switch, because the 5 million others who inquired would have paid more.)

It's called misleading advertising where I live. "The units that got through all got through." Duh!
 

902

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What were talking about here is Tetra, which is more suited for Utility Companies i.e. Water, Oil,Electric,Nuclear Plants, not public safety. Its kinda the European version of Open Sky which is a dismal failure for public safety here.
Well... I've seen TETRA used throughout the EU and in the Middle East in public safety applications. I'm not sure I would call any of those users less qualified to judge a system's efficacy than you or I. When you look at it, TETRA is a TDMA technology. iDEN and DMR (MOTOTRBO) are the same technologies, except for protocol and framing variations. One can say OpenSky has failed here (minus the "dismal"), but NO ONE can or will say WHY. It's not because the radios or infrastructure doesn't work. I'd bet (if I had such disposable income) that any failure had to do more with cut corners, incompetent system engineering, or "low-ball" bidding than the technology. And, P25 phase II is TDMA.

I think any other opposition comes from this perceived (and manufactured) illusion that TETRA would compete with P25 phase I and erode the market share and the standard. Unfortunately, P25 has been like building the pyramids and the proponents seem to be jumping ship for LTE. Thar's gold in them thar hills (and probably a few more kids to send to college)!

Back to the article - what we don't know is stakeholder involvement. I'd also bet it's marginal since the article (as shallow as it is) points to a perception vs. performance issue.
 

Raccon

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Well... I've seen TETRA used throughout the EU and in the Middle East in public safety applications. I'm not sure I would call any of those users less qualified to judge a system's efficacy than you or I.
Add Asia to the list. Many public safety systems there that work just fine, including all the bells and whistles that TETRA offers.
 

zerg901

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If the police were 30 minutes behind the rioters - was this caused by radio messages being delayed for 30 minutes? Time warp problems? (Just wondering about the logic here)
 
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