Public Safety Canada

Effective communication is critical to public safety, national security and emergency preparedness agencies. Saving lives can depend on the ability of emergency responders to communicate.

CRC works with Public Safety Canada through the Interoperable Development Office to develop and test improved communications capabilities for Canada's first responder community. This work has resulted in:

  • a first responder test bed for wireless applications;
  • technologies to bridge communications gaps in existing equipment; and
  • significant research toward a complete rethinking of radio design, so future equipment is not affected by interoperability problems.

Interoperability issues arise when multiple forces respond to a crisis or disaster. Consider large-scale emergencies drawing on resources from across regions. As various fire, ambulance and police forces converge with their respective radios, they may not be able to communicate via distinct technologies.

At the network level, common standards and protocols are the most practical solutions. At the device level, a solution is software defined radio (SDR) technology. SDR transfers modulation and frequency functions from radio hardware to software, allowing radios to modify their mode of operation as required, without hardware changes. This revolutionary approach is likely to significantly alter how radios have been used since their inception over 100 years ago.

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