General question on encryption

soberbyker

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
466
Location
Delaware County, PA
I have a general question on encryption. Does it cost more to encrypt? I'm just wondering why, other than secrecy, some do and and some don't. I live in Delaware County, PA (Delco) and they currently are in the clear and still on 500 band. They supposedly have a plan to move now, although they've been talking about it for a long time.
They've never encrypted anything. Back in the low band days they would "go to red" which was some kind of temporary scrambling, But since they went to 500 band I never heard that again, so when they move why would they want to? Delco is all about cost so if it costs a lot more to do so, maybe they won't, which is my hope.


 

n3obl

Ø
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,860
Location
PA
With todays technology its very easy to implement encryption. Basically its to prevent the listening and streaming of their radio traffic.
 

DeoVindice

P25 Underground
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Messages
468
Location
Gadsden Purchase
The answer is: it depends. ARC4 is usually a free option in subscriber radios and ARC4 keys can be loaded without the use of an external keyloader. With that said, certain grants require AES (or no encryption whatsoever, or AES plus other algorithms - long story involving Motorola sales tactics from some time ago) for the radio to be eligible for grant funding, and this may require purchase of an external keyloader. Exact cost structure depends on the manufacturer and equipment in question. The most recent Harris price sheets I've seen list single-key AES as a $0.01 option, whereas it's about $170 from EFJ.
 

stevecast2024

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
36
Delaware County will remain in the clear when the move to the P25 system is complete for normal Fire/EMS talkgroups as well as standard police talkgroups (Sector channels in today's world). Mutual or "M" channels will be secure (encrypted) in the new system. This will keep normal patrol traffic in the clear but still give law enforcement a secure option if needed. Tactical/Swat talkgroups will of course be secure.

Any encryption on the system will be AES256 and it was purchased for all subscriber radios on the system. In our case the cost is not system related. It is radio related. You pay to enable the encryption algorithm in the subscriber radios. Again... your normal everyday communications will remain in the clear but each Law sector will have a secure/encrypted talkgroup for use if needed.
 

soberbyker

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
466
Location
Delaware County, PA
Delaware County will remain in the clear when the move to the P25 system is complete for normal Fire/EMS talkgroups as well as standard police talkgroups (Sector channels in today's world). Mutual or "M" channels will be secure (encrypted) in the new system. This will keep normal patrol traffic in the clear but still give law enforcement a secure option if needed. Tactical/Swat talkgroups will of course be secure.

Any encryption on the system will be AES256 and it was purchased for all subscriber radios on the system. In our case the cost is not system related. It is radio related. You pay to enable the encryption algorithm in the subscriber radios. Again... your normal everyday communications will remain in the clear but each Law sector will have a secure/encrypted talkgroup for use if needed.
Thanks for the info, will the M channels be full time encryption? For instance when they give the air to a particular call and tell everyone else to operate on the M channel for dispatched calls will it be encrypted.
 

stevecast2024

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
36
Thanks for the info, will the M channels be full time encryption? For instance when they give the air to a particular call and tell everyone else to operate on the M channel for dispatched calls will it be encrypted.
At this point yes that is the plan. Selectable encryption is nice but it becomes cumbersome and you wind up having half your units encrypted and the other half in the clear. Running strapped encryption on specific talkgroups just makes it cleaner.

There is the potential that we run both the sector and the M talkgroups in the clear and just simply build a separate secure talkgroup for special ops in each sector.
 

RaleighGuy

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 15, 2014
Messages
13,605
Location
Raleigh, NC
I have a general question on encryption. Does it cost more to encrypt?

Yes, back in 2018 one of the cities in my county purchased ten radios and the contract (which is online) shows it was about $735 per radio to add encryption, that was six years ago so it is probably more in 2024.

Capture3.JPG

Full contract is available HERE
 

rgchristy

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
629
Location
Delco, PA
Thank you Steve for your honest and logical approach to encryption.

Even though the Baofeng's won't be able to receive the new system, it must suck for LEOs to get a call for Act 64 sales at X and X location, only to show up with no one around because the participants heard the call. Not to mention the lovely musical playlist that we get to hear on Sector 3.

On the flip side, coming from a background of FF/EMT, I know that our responses relied upon the police being first on location with an initial report, such as, "there's no entrapment" or "house fully involved, subject hanging out a 2nd story window" or even "not a cardiac arrest". Not the response itself, but the criticality of the response. Also, the preparation enroute; are you laying in, packing up or which boxes/packs are you grabbing first. The difference between hearing it on your scanner on the way to the station or scene and getting the info relayed from PD to PD dispatcher to Fire/EMS dispatcher to MDT/radio can be five minutes. For those in PSP territory, it can take longer.

Just my $ .02.
 

stevecast2024

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
36
Thank you Steve for your honest and logical approach to encryption.

Even though the Baofeng's won't be able to receive the new system, it must suck for LEOs to get a call for Act 64 sales at X and X location, only to show up with no one around because the participants heard the call. Not to mention the lovely musical playlist that we get to hear on Sector 3.

On the flip side, coming from a background of FF/EMT, I know that our responses relied upon the police being first on location with an initial report, such as, "there's no entrapment" or "house fully involved, subject hanging out a 2nd story window" or even "not a cardiac arrest". Not the response itself, but the criticality of the response. Also, the preparation enroute; are you laying in, packing up or which boxes/packs are you grabbing first. The difference between hearing it on your scanner on the way to the station or scene and getting the info relayed from PD to PD dispatcher to Fire/EMS dispatcher to MDT/radio can be five minutes. For those in PSP territory, it can take longer.

Just my $ .02.
Understood. Keeping the standard sector talkgroups in the clear will allow the normal day to day operation to go on and allow fire/ems to still monitor in real time if they choose to do so. Having an encrypted option for times where a secure talkgroup is needed gives the best of both worlds. Nowadays, you have probably heard several departments have started to switch to PD A, B or C during certain events to try to limit the scanners. Nothing is encrypted there but most of the Baofengs on the street are not running DMR. The baofeng days are coming to an end.
 

policefreak

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 5, 2007
Messages
2,094
Location
Berlin, NJ
How far along are you in the process of transitioning to the new system? I see a slew of licenses for 700 mhz frequencies and tower sites. I am hearing reports that the new towers are being built out. Then I guess the radios need to be purchased. Is it possible for system testing to start by the end of the year?
 

stevecast2024

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
36
How far along are you in the process of transitioning to the new system? I see a slew of licenses for 700 mhz frequencies and tower sites. I am hearing reports that the new towers are being built out. Then I guess the radios need to be purchased. Is it possible for system testing to start by the end of the year?
Kenwood Viking VP8000 portable radios are all purchased. All but 3 of the tower leases have been completed and signed. Work is ongoing just about every day now. Antennas are hung at Upper Darby, Marple, Lima, and Prison sites. They are adding a new waveguide ladder to Lima this week. Bartram Ave has the concrete pad completed for a new shelter that will be dropped shortly. Factory acceptance testing at the EFJ warehouse in Irving TX will be completed in July and the racks and base stations will ship after that. We anticipate the majority of the sites will be on the air by December. Coverage testing will begin next spring once the leaves are on the trees. I have been updating this thread as the project moves forward Delaware County Pa New System
Plenty of pictures.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
6,932
If an large County or State agency desires extensive encryption, and considerable interoperability is required , there must be a Key Management Facility to perform OTAR and there is a substantial cost to add that.
 
Top