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Rifleman Radio is indispensable

When the army are on the battlefield, the equipment that they carry and the weight of it is paramount. Most two way radios are one of two things, light and easily breakable, with limited power, meaning limited range or heavy and the opposite to the above, Robust and able to transmit at a lengthy distance. The current development for a 2 channel that’s able to receive and transmit voice and data is an interesting concept. This article, that can originally be found here, give you more of the story.  

Nearly two years after the award of the Rifleman Radio contract, I made an appeal for new thinking by both the defense acquisition corps and the defense industry that now bears repeating.

Twenty-two months ago, the need for the Rifleman Radio was obvious as it is today. It provides infantry units with a relatively small and lower cost software-defined radio capable of transmitting voice and data, such as maps, images and texts. The technology that defines this “workhorse” tactical radio was continuing to mature, resulting in today’s Rifleman Radio being far more reliable and capable than the LRIP-ordered radios from even three years ago.

This maturation process was being driven by ongoing investments in radio technology made by the defense industry, including Thales and Harris Corporation, the two companies selected by the Army to build the Rifleman Radio.

At that time, I noted that success in the Defense Department’s new “Non-Developmental Items” or NDI strategy for the Army’s HMS program would require three things:

  • People. Bringing the right people together from three key groups for meaningful engagement: those defining the capabilities; those acquiring the capability for the government and industry; and those who have to deliver the capability to the Warfighter.
  • Dialogue. Creating ethical opportunities for face-to-face discussions with industry (not RFI dialogues) about the state of technology innovation and what is feasible to provide in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price.
  • Strategy. Building a shared understanding that this new NDI marketplace for tactical radios that requires industry to invest their own money to develop products will be one that delivers greater and greater capabilities over time, in other words, iteratively.

Where are we now? 

The Army is currently working to develop requirements for a 2-channel variant of the Rifleman Radio, a significant step in the Rifleman’s continuing evolution. The fundamental 2-channel communications capability — whether handheld or manpack variants — represents the future of tactical communications.

Two-channel capabilities for the small-unit leader radio like the Rifleman will meet the Army’s evolving tactical communications needs, with its ability to receive and transmit voice and data simultaneously, passing data to and from command to the unit.

The 2-channel Rifleman Radio will provide new capabilities without adding weight from extra radios and batteries. In short, it will provide the capability of two radios without burdening troops with lugging around two radios.

Viewed from a technical perspective, however, a 2-channel handheld radio represents an exponential leap in terms of complexity — it bears no relationship to the notion of “fusing two 1-channel radios together.”

Even the 2-channel HMS Manpack represents a tremendous technological leap forward, though it came with fewer space, size, power and weight limitations than the much smaller handheld Rifleman undoubtedly will. In short, the 2-channel Rifleman Radio will be a tall mountain to climb.

The future Rifleman 2-channel

The 2-channel Rifleman is an achievable reality, however, and speaking for Harris, we’re already well on the way to delivering this capability. The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOF) Tactical Communications (STC) 2-channel handheld radio being developed by Harris for special operations forces is leading the way to this future.

The STC radios are able to operate in the harshest environments and are specially designed to meet rigorous requirements. The STCs are small, lightweight, multiband and multifunction, with multi-mission capability to enable SOF teams to communicate over multiple channels simultaneously.

The Harris STC will provide the ability to receive ISR full-motion video and signals-based threat information. These handheld radios also will have built-in backward interoperability to communicate over legacy networks, and will be upgradable to integrate new capabilities as requirements evolve.

Although the Army’s requirements are still coming together, the 2-channel Rifleman most likely will trade fewer features for less cost. That said, there are many technical attributes related to the 2-channel capability that are likely to be applied from the Harris STC to the next iteration of the Rifleman.

The important takeaway here is that the Army’s continued commitment to evolving tactical communications has led industry to sustain its investment in advancing capabilities — and that formula has brought the 2-channel handheld much closer to reality.

Whether it is the STC or 2-channel Rifleman, the coming wave of new communication capabilities are the result of persistent innovations in myriad radio components: chip design, software, battery life, power consumption and antennas, to name a few.

As I pointed out in January 2015, the development of the Rifleman Radio would represent just the first iteration in the Army’s modernization of tactical radios ― a commitment that would deliver even more revolutionary capabilities over the next decade. But this will only happen if the Army maintains its end of the bargain by assuring industry that ongoing investments would be rewarded with purchases of the end products.

If BBP 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 continue to be nurtured and “take root,” these radio technology capabilities will continue to evolve with each measured investment making possible continuing progress. Such an active NDI marketplace will ensure industry remains committed to R&D — and the beneficiary of this healthy dynamic is the warfighter.

Here you find out what RF Communication is

Radio frequency (often abbreviated as, RF), can be described as any frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum with radio wave propagation that lie in the range extending from about 3 kHz to 300 GHz; this includes the frequencies that are used for communications or the radar signals. That said, you should know that RF generally refers to electrical rather than the mechanical oscillations.

RF communication utilizes radio waves rather than wires to exchange signals, and this is where the term “wireless communication,” comes from. RF modules generally use frequencies to distinguish the different radio signals, therefore, in order for the RF modules to communicate, they have to be operating on the same exact frequency. That said, you should know that radio frequency is normally measured in units known as hertz (abbreviated as Hz), which represent number of cycles/second when the radio wave(s) is transmitted. 1 hertz (Hz) equals 1 cycle/second, and 1 megahertz (abbreviated as, MHz) equals 1 million cycles/second.

A radio frequency (RF) signal basically refers to the wireless electromagnetic signal that’s utilized as a form of communication, when talking about wireless electronics. As mentioned earlier, radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation which have identified radio frequencies which usually range from about 3Hz to 300 GHz. Not every radio wave is the same; they can be small or big, or they can be far apart or close together. On the radio stations we normally listen to, every station uses waves which are on a slightly different frequency from the other stations. Whenever you happen to switch from one radio station to another, your radio picks up and then plays waves of that particular frequency.

Frequency normally refers to the oscillation rate of the radio waves. It can also refer to how close together or far apart the waves are. When the radio waves are too far apart, that is known as low frequency, and when the radio waves are close together, that is known as high frequency. That said, you should know that radio frequency propagation happens at speed of light, and doesn’t need any medium (such as air) in order for it to travel. Radio frequency waves occur naturally from lightning, the sun flares, and even from stars which radiate radio frequency waves as the get older. However, people usually communicate with man made radio waves which oscillate at various select frequencies.

The man made radio frequency waves are produced by oscillating current for a certain number of times, and radiating it off the conductor (which is referred to as the antenna), into an empty space (this is the space that’s occupied by air and not the outer space), as electromagnetic radio waves. The RF signals are received and sent using conductors via the phenomenon that’s called the skin effect, where radio frequency current latches itself and then flows through the conductors’ surface; this effect is actually the basis and the core of radio technology.

The best thing about RF communication, is that it’s omnipresent (that is to mean it’s all around us). It plays a crucial role in many of the communications systems which we depend on a daily basis, such as fire and police radio systems, TV and radio broadcasts, and satellite communications. Cordless phones, cellphones, Wireless internet (Wi Fi), and Bluetooth also operate in the radio frequency spectrum. In addition to that, there are other appliances outside of the communications field that use RF. They include; microwave ovens, garage door openers, among others. Some wireless devices such as TV remote controls, cordless computer mice, computer keyboards, and even 2 way radios also operate using RF frequency.

Two way radios are based on the RF frequency and they perform group communication using minimum radio frequency channel resources. This is to mean that if all the users are in the same location or area (most of the time), you will only need a single channel resource in order to talk to them. By using RF, 2 way radios have the capability of facilitating “one to many” group communication (which is also known as a group call), very efficiently. By efficient, I mean that 1 user can communicate/talk to 1, 5, 10, 100 or even 1000’s of users at a go. The two way radio user doesn’t need to keep on repeating the same message if he/she needs to convey to many users.

£4 billion emergency radio system ‘not yet proven’

We have been very vocal against the new ESN network, Tetra is proven and works very well, the benefits to moving over to a 4G network are attractive, but will it stand-up to a major incident? Will the network be robust enough when there are thousands of communications in a located area? These concerns have now been picked up by a commons committee, read more below….

An inquiry has revealed deep concerns about the coverage and contracting of a new £4 billion national emergency radio system.

A Commons’ Public Accounts Committee report released this month criticised the Home Office for its handling of the proposed the Emergency Services Network, or ESN.

Plans to deploy the “not yet proven” emergency radio system by December 2019 “would not be met”, the committee said. The committee also criticised the Home Office for mishandling contracts talks for ESN and failing to plan for delays, that could cost nearly £500 million alone.

“Good communications can make the difference between life and death for both emergency services personnel and the public but the technology ESN will rely on is not yet proven.”

Across the UK, 105 ambulance, fire and police services are expected to switch from their existing Airwave Solutions radio system to ESN by December 2019.

Unlike the ageing Airwave network, ESN will operate on an existing retail 4G network rather than a dedicated emergency radio network.

However, the committee said forcing emergency services to share a network with the public had not been attempted at scale.

The approach relied on much improved network coverage across the UK, including on the London Underground, and new technology to prioritise emergency services over other network users.

“Bringing together all the different elements to form an end-to-end system and scaling up these solutions and testing them adequately will be very challenging.”

The government is expected to spend £1.2 billion developing ESN, £1.4 billion running down Airwave, and further £2.6 billion operating ESN until 2032.

The contract with Airwaves, which was bought by Motorola last year, expires in December 2019. The committee said extending this contract, which will almost certainly be necessary given expected delays, will cost an additional £475 million a year.

In 2015, Motorola and EE won the user services and networks contracts respectively for ESN.

The committee also criticised the Home Office for not maintaining “competitive pressure” while awarding the contracts and leaving the winning bidders in a “very strong position” when the contract comes up for renewal in 2023.

The committee recommended the Home Officer test the new network coverage rigorously, improve its tendering, budget and plan for an Airwave contract extension and reassess its timeline for switching to the new system.

“It must take responsibility for convincing services to switch to ESN but also be clear at what point it will mandate the switchover.”

The Home Office was told to report back to the committee by September this year.

Motorola Solutions’ digital two-way radio technology enhances mission-critical communications at Munich airport

Motorola solutions are a company well known for their robust two way radios and for building world class communication structures. Improving on the current TETRA system with an IP dispatch console and piloting the WAVE system, that allows a phone app to connect to the radio system, for communicating of site. You can read more about what Motorola are doing for Munich below and you can find the original article here.

Motorola Solutions has received an order to implement a comprehensive update and extension of its existing TETRA digital two-way radio system at Munich Airport.

The newly modernized communications infrastructure ensures greater connectivity, interoperability and collaboration between various business and operational functions at Germany’s second largest airport. Motorola Solutions will also provide services for ensuring smooth operations.

Within the framework of the TETRA radio network refresh, Motorola Solutions is equipping the airport with a new MCC 7500 IP Dispatch Console. The comprehensive, scalable solution enhances the IP architecture to ensure optimum call set up and availability. It will also allow Munich Airport to expand its communications infrastructure in the future without interrupting existing services. As well as this, Motorola Solutions will implement two TETRA base stations for improved TETRA radio coverage in the terminal buildings.

Alongside the improvements to the TETRA system, the airport has started a pilot project for the potential introduction of Motorola Solutions’ broadband push-to-talk (PTT) platform WAVE. The goal of the installation is to ensure that airport staff can communicate, no matter which device or infrastructure is being used. The powerful PTT solution WAVE™ Work Group Communications provides airport authorities with secure and reliable communications beyond TETRA radio – including broadband devices and networks – to enable greater workforce connectivity, interoperability and collaboration. WAVE connects the TETRA system used by administrative staff with service management employees who join the broadband platform via smartphones, computers, other radios or telephones, meaning that staff across the airport can communicate with one another from virtually any location.

“We have been working with Motorola Solutions’ TETRA two-way digital radio system since 2007,” said Michael Zaddach, head of the IT service division at Flughafen München GmbH. “The update of our TETRA infrastructure enables us to further improve our communications in airport operations and make our processes even more efficient.”

“We are collaborating closely with Munich Airport to provide a future-proof TETRA digital two-way radio network,” said Klaus-Dieter Drossel, sales director for key accounts, Motorola Solutions Germany GmbH. “We are also pleased that Munich Airport is testing our broadband push-to-talk platform WAVE, and we are certain that it will enable airport staff to work together more closely, no matter which device or network they use.”

Software Defined Radio (SDR) Market Forecast By End-use Industry 2014-2020

We are seeing a monumental movement in the radio communication industry, as this very technical article shows the transition from hardware to software within the radio communication industry is just around the corner. With 3G and 4G providing Data and Voice Comms covering large distances, RF communication will find it hard to compete, the simple answer seems to be Tetra, but is that long term? There will always be a need for point to point communications, but larger comms infrastructures could possibly be managed in a different way.

With the evolution of digital electronics the radio market and communication technologies have evolved a lot. Though the concept of software defined radio (SDR) is not new, in the recent years, this market has undergone many changes in terms of technology and uses. SDR is a type of radio communication system where communication is carried out by the use of software on embedded system or personal computer instead of implementing hardware such as filters, amplifiers, mixers, detectors, demodulators and modulators, among others. SDR are capable of transmitting and receiving a wide spectrum of frequency. When the data from a source is converted into digital format, the remaining activities involved in radio communications are carried out with the help of software driven automated functions.

SDR optimizes the tactical information system as embedded software used in SDR helps in the dynamic selection of the communication channel. The number of digital service users is increasing resulting into the improved adoption rate of software defined radio. Public safety, military and commercial use are the three major end-use applications of SDR systems. The demand for SDRs in expected to increase in coming years owing to efficiency and cost effectiveness offered by them. The industry has undergone transformation from analog to digital. Thus, the advance capabilities of digital radio are expected to drive the growth of SDR market. Multiple regulations govern the SDR market and this affects the market growth and trends. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) legally created a newer class for equipment of SDRs that had streamlined equipment authorization procedure.

Military modernization programs being carried out by several countries such as South Korea, India, Germany, Japan and the U.S and the interoperability provided by SDR are major driving forces for SDR market. The issues faced in the integration of the various sub systems pose a challenge to the SDR market. Further, the development of software platforms, technologies and tools, which allow flexible specification, design and implementation of radio systems, is another significant challenge. Players in software defined radio market have potential opportunity in technical advancements of SDR technology such as resolving the problem of frequency congestion, wide frequency range (spectrum) and improved broadcasting services in future.

Software defined radio market is segmented on the basis of type, end-user application and geography. On the basis of type of SDR, the market is segmented into ideal software defined radio, baseband software defined radio (BBSDR) and high frequency software defined radio (HFSDR). On the basis of end-user industry, SDR market is segmented into defense industry, telecom industry, manufacturing plants, public safety vendors and personal use. U.S. Canada, Japan, France, Brazil, South Korea, India, Germany and Italy have emerged as the leading countries for software defined radio market.

Some of the key vendors in software defined radio market are BAE Systems PLC, Elbit Systems Ltd., IndraSistemas, L3 Communications Corporation, Raytheon Co., Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co KG, Thales Group, Viasat Incorporated, SAAB AB, Rockwell Collins, Northrop Grumman Corp., ITT Corporation, Harris Corporation and Datasoft Corporation, among others.

This research report presents a comprehensive assessment of the market and contains thoughtful insights, facts, historical data and statistically-supported and industry-validated market data and projections with a suitable set of assumptions and methodology. It provides analysis and information by categories such as market segments, regions, product type and distribution channels.

What Is The Best Walkie Talkie Headset For A Motorcycle

Motorcycle helmet intercoms have recently gained lots of popularity for the safety and convenience they offer. They have lots of enhanced features which help riders focus on driving. That being so, you should know that being able to choose and use the right type of motorcycle helmet intercom is extremely important as it makes it easy for riders to perform all kinds of actions and do all kinds of things without any fear of losing control of their motorcycle. In this article, we’re going to be talking about the best features to look for in a motorcycle helmet intercom, and the different types of motorcycle intercoms available in the market;

Here are the features to look for when looking for a walkie talkie headset for your motorcycle helmet:

Well, riding in a motorcycle usually makes the rider quite vulnerable to various kinds of road and environmental factors. This includes dirt, dust, rain, humidity, and all types of things which one can possibly encounter. Because of this, you should consider getting a completely weatherproof motorcycle helmet intercom. Fortunately, most of the motorcycle intercoms in the market today are weatherproof, water resistant or waterproof. For the best protection from the elements, consider choosing a weatherproof or waterproof intercom, instead of the water resistant ones; this ensures that despite any hazards and rain, your system will be safe, and still work efficiently.

You should also consider getting a system that has a headset speaker for both ears or one ear. This particular factor depends on personal preference as some may find it more convenient to use a one ear headset, while others may prefer both years as some riders like hearing sound in both of their ears. That being so, you should know that installation and moving of the intercom to a different helmet is much easier for the systems which have only one ear.

Another important factor to consider is voice activation. Many systems have the voice activation feature which keeps the headset(s) quiet when no one is talking. The voice activation feature also has the ability to get disabled and a push to talk switch feature can be used instead. Apart from that, sound quality and noise cancellation is something you need to put into consideration. Many motorcycle intercoms have the noise reduction feature with digital signal processing which helps reduce the noises/sounds they pick up from your microphone; this feature is especially important if you are a fast rider.

For those who like riding with some music playing, you should consider going for the motorcycle intercoms which come with either a built in FM stereo, or an auxiliary stereo input for iPod, a Walkman, MP3, or a satellite radio unit. This type of input can also be used to receive driving directions from voice prompted GPS unit.

There are some motorcycle intercoms which can be mounted in your helmet, on your belt clip, on your bike or even put directly to your ears; this usually depends on just how big or bulky the intercom is. Choosing this feature depends on personal preference. You should choose the one that you’d be most comfortable using.

Last but not least, connectivity for cell phones is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a motorcycle intercom. This feature allows you to access the phone’s features while you’re on the road. The feature is best paired with hands free operation.

Without a motorcycle intercom, riding can be a very solitary experience. Using an intercom is a great way of clearing your head and putting your thoughts together when you’re riding alone. However, if you’ve a passenger, or you are biking with another rider, sooner or later you’ll want to converse with them. A motorcycle helmet intercom will let you do this, and so much more.

That being said, the problem is that there are very many motorcycle intercoms to choose from. And given the fact that motorcycle helmet intercoms need to work in extremely difficult environments, choosing the best one can mean all the difference between enjoying your ride and hating it. Below, we are going to give you the different types of motorcycle helmet intercoms available, to help you make the best choice for your particular needs;

Acoustic Motorcycle Intercom

This is the most basic form of the motorcycle helmet intercoms. With this type of intercom, there are no electronics involved since it uses hollow tubes which have rubber tips that are normally inserted into the rider’s ear. A different tube is used as a mouthpiece for talking into, and they both connect through a junction box. This system simply uses the hollow tubes which the voices travel through.

One of the main benefits of a walkie talkie headset is the fact that you’ll find no batteries to mess with; this makes them highly reliable. However, there is no amplification which means that there is no way of regulating or adjusting the volume or filtering the wind noise. therefore at high speeds, it’ll likely be much harder to listen to. Another issue with this system is the fact that many riders tend to realize that the ear plugs are uncomfortable in their ears for an extended period of time. These acoustic motorcycle intercoms only work with driver to passenger and not bike-to-bike.

Wireless Intercom Technology

This is a most complex and technologically advanced system as it utilizes different forms of radio technologies namely FM, GMRS, FRS and Bluetooth.

FM (abbreviation for Frequency Modulation) is widely used because it’s very efficient when it comes to transmitting clear sound, however, if it’s used by driver to driver, its’ performance isn’t good if they’re too far apart. It is quite similar to the FM radio you normally listen to, however for the motorcycle intercom, a much narrower frequency is usually used. The FM intercoms work best when there aren’t any kind of obstructions (like hills) between the receiver and the transmitter.

If long range is the most important feature, then the GMRS Walkie talkie headsets will offer a much better performance. The FRS (abbreviation for Family Radio Service) and GMRS (abbreviation for General Mobile Radio Service) are the modern equivalents to old walkie talkies you might have used during your childhood days. The FRS intercoms typically have a maximum range of 2 miles provided there are minimal obstructions in between, while the GRMS intercoms can effectively communicate up to several miles. Just Like the FM, these two are public frequencies which means other people can get to hear your conversations, and vice versa. In some heavily populated areas these FRS/GRMS radios are heavily used, while out on the open road you should enjoy fairly private conversations.

One great thing about using the FRS or GMRS walkie talkie headset is that you can visit Headsetonline and purchase a walkie talkie headset and handheld radio which you can use to contact these units. In case someone is following you in a car, or they have a wired intercom system which allows them connect to an FRS or GMRS handheld radio, they will be able to communicate with you. The only downside is that you’ll find countless of these radios in the heavily populated areas and you’ll end up picking up lots of other transmissions.

What does earpiece mean

Almost all adults have used an earpiece at some point in their lives. An earpiece is actually a gadget placed on the ear and is usually used for listening to something. Millions of people normally use an earpiece for different reasons. In this article, we are going to explain in details different uses of an earpiece .

The first very common use of an ear piece is connection to a wireless radio. Wireless radios usually consist of earpiece cable that usually connects the radio to the user. This is very common especially in sports such as cricket where people usually follow the game from the radio. The earpiece is usually plugged either on a single ear or both ears.

Stethoscope is a type of earpiece that is mostly used by medical practitioners. This earpiece is a bit different from the normal ones and it needs to be carefully inserted into the ears so as to provide an excellent acoustic seal as well as make the user comfortable. This type of earpiece usually snaps firmly to the ends of the ear tube and requires special skills in order to safely remove them after use.

An Earpiece is also used as a hearing aid. This type of earpiece is either made from plastic that has been well molded to fit the exact shape of your ear or with a thin plastic dome known as open fitting that is usually fitted inside the ear. This type of earpiece is available in different categories and its suitability usually depends on the user degree of hearing loss. It has a microphone that fits behind the ear as well as an earpiece that perfectly fits on the ear. Custom made earpiece usually differs slightly from the normal earpiece in that it is usually made from a clear plastic known as NHS behind the ear hearing aids.

Did you know that an earpiece is usually used on two way radio? The radio earpiece is available in variety of styles. Some of the styles include D-ring, clear tube and over the ear. Earpieces for two way radios are usually used on many different radio brands including Kenwood, Motorola, Icom and Binatone. In addition to that, it is also used by bar staff, door supervisors and security staff.

Most people usually wonder how TV presenters communicate with the producers. Typically Presenters use an earpiece to receive instructions or information from the director. They can also receive messages from a device that plays a recorded script. A Presenter earpiece is available in two categories: wireless ear bug or tube earpiece. These types are usually very small and cannot be seen unless you look keenly for them. They are used by all type of presenters either in studio or out in the field as well as those in live broadcast and entertainment field.

Thousands of people use earpieces to listen to music on their phone IPod and mp3 players, They are also used to communicate on the phone. Typically, an earpiece usually fits both ears and the style that is commonly used is white. They are also used by sound engineers, musicians, audiophiles to listen to their own vocals, music, and stage instrumentation during live performance or when recording studio mixing. In most cases, the earpieces are usually customized to provide comfort and noise reduction from the surrounding to the user.

So the big question is, what is the difference between an earphone and an earpiece? The main differences between these two devices are; an earpiece a speaker is near or inside the ear while the earphone is a traducer that converts electric signals to sound and it is usually held near the ear. An earpiece has both its pros and cons. Some of the benefits of the earpiece include being lightweight and portable. It is also small in size and cannot be seen easily. Common disadvantages associated with earpieces include not being able to filter external noise properly and having problems receiving sound from them especially if there is a lot if background noise.

The arrival of 5G, cognitive radio and the future of connectivity

We are very excited about 5G, we have already reported on how the UK emergency services are moving over to a LTE network, and inevitably 5G is the next step for better, faster and more capable communications.  Not planned to be deployed until the next decade, we believe that 5G will allow us to communicate better with our Walkie talkies. The original article can be found here.

With faster and more reliable connections, we look at what the next generation of communications could mean for business

From smart cities to the internet of things (IoT), virtually every aspect of the modern world is becoming closely connected.

The extent to which we rely on our devices and the exchange of information means new systems are needed that not only handle far greater bandwidth, but that are capable of being deployed to cover areas that were previously unreachable.

The potential benefits for business are huge, with faster and more reliable connectivity not only enhancing how firms interact with customers and each other, but also lending itself to greater flexible working among staff.

The arrival of 5G

One development that many industry observers believe could be revolutionary is 5G. Following on from 4G, the fifth-generation mobile network is in its early stages of development and is expected to be rolled out between 2020–25.

Any tech that contributes towards the next phase of mobile connectivity is covered by the term 5G. And although there are still no set standards or specifications, the GSMA – a trade body that represents global mobile operators – has outlined eight key criteria, stipulating minimum requirements for speed, capacity and energy in order for something to be considered 5G.

According to Ofcom, once operational 5G could provide between 10–50 Gbps (gigabit per seconds) in download speeds (as compared to the 5–12 Gbps of 4G), and although most experts expect it to be at the lower end of the range, that would still mean you could download an HD movie in seconds.

But rather than simply being faster than the current 4G, it will also allow more devices to access the web – an essential requirement if the IoT is to take off – meaning it could be transformative for business.

Raj Sivalingam, executive director of telecoms for techUK, the trade association for the tech sector, says: “The potential of the IoT, particularly in the enterprise environment, has been hugely debated but its impact is almost certainly still undervalued.

“Mass deployment across sectors will boost efficiency and safety with pre-emptive fault correction; enable automatic reporting of accidents and allow real-time asset tracking, reducing crime and increasing productivity, to name just a few benefits.”

One potential bottleneck for 5G is spectrum availability – or lack of it. Radio frequencies for both 3G and 4G are already overcrowded. The provision of a new bandwidth will require widespread cooperation between operators, manufacturers and governments.

Infrastructure is also an issue, says Sivalingam. “Making the leap to 5G mobile services and getting more fibre into the fixed telecommunications networks will require substantial amounts of investment.

“We need the government and industry stakeholders to work to shift the UK from good levels of connectivity to great levels so that we continue to attract investors and startups, and to foster innovation from within the UK.”

Cognitive radio

One possible solution is cognitive radio. An adaptive radio and network technology, it can sense and respond to its operating environment and automatically tune itself to the best available frequencies, this makes it more reliable in extreme locations where signals are weak, potentially providing dependable, robust connections that are not hampered by interference or geography.

Finland-based KNL Networks has developed a system using the technology that uses short wave radio to transmit internet access to sites in remote locations ranging from oil rigs to polar research stations. KNL Networks CEO Toni Linden says: “We can provide similar connectivity to those from satellites but with a terrestrial radio system. Our radios receive the whole spectrum all the time, so rather than scanning, real-time broadband receiving is going on. Thus we can see and measure everything that’s going on in the spectrum and we can maintain the network connectivity that way.”

The tech opens up the possibility of providing seamless connectivity anywhere, giving business reliable online access to markets in parts of the world that have otherwise been unreachable. It could also enable media and other companies to broadcast without the need for expensive satellites.

Quantum key distribution

It’s not just data transmission, speeds and connectivity that pose challenges in the future, but the safety of that data too. Cybercrime is ranked alongside terrorism as among the most serious threats to the UK [pdf], and with data now the lifeblood of modern business, securing that data is of paramount concern. One technology that could provide the answer is quantum communications.

Conventional encryption relies on sending a decryption key alongside your secret data. The receiver then uses that key to decode your secret information. But problems arise because hackers can also copy this key and steal your data.

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is different because it encodes this key on light particles called photons, and an underlying principle of quantum mechanics means that a hacker trying to read or copy such a key would automatically alter its state, effectively leaving a hacker fingerprint so the sender and receiver know their information security had been breached.

China recently launched a quantum satellite to further research into this technology, with the hope of developing an uncrackable communications network.

In the UK, the Quantum Communications Hub is part of a national network of four hubs led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York. Director Tim Spiller says: “We are developing quantum communications technologies along a number of different directions, notably short-range free space QKD, where the transmitter could be in future mobile phones, and chip-to-chip QKD through optical fibre, where the chips could be in future computers and other devices.”

With two thirds of British business falling victim to cybercrime in the past year the need for better encryption is clear.

Several companies currently offer commercial quantum key distribution systems include ID Quantique, MagiQ Technologies, QuintessenceLabs, SeQureNet and Toshiba, although its high cost and limited range means mainly banks and governments are its main users, with mainstream adoption still some way off.

Spiller added: “Certainly it would be desirable to improve the size, weight, power and cost points of current technologies and our work in the hub and elsewhere is addressing all these factors.”

Paul Lee, head of technology, media, and telecommunications research at Deloitte, highlighted a number of improvements which he expected to see coming down the line, including improved mobile antennae and base stations, as well as improvements to fixed networks such as G.fast that would enable copper cable to operate at much higher speeds.

“As they get steadily faster, new services emerge to exploit these greater speeds, which then requires the deployment of even faster networks. This tail chasing has been going on for decades and won’t stop in 2017.”

7 Different Types Of Headsets You Can Use At Your Venue

There are many instances where people get confused when talking about types of headsets and the associated equipment. In this article, we are going to help you get a clear understanding of the different types of headsets and the associated equipment. With that said, it is important to note that the names that have been given below, are the actual names that need to be used. Without any further ado, lets get started;

In Ear Monitors

Also known as in-ear (or canal) headphones, these devices sit inside the user’s ear canal, and they deliver great sound quality; they ensure a controlled and precise sound. They also fill the ear’s entrance, thus are very effective at sealing out any unwanted external noise. These devices include a transmitter which is controlled by an audio engineer which then transmits to the belt-pack on the user. The in ear monitors allow freedom of movement and are commonly used by modern pop artists. They’re very small and allow them to comfortably hear the rest of the band, and also themselves (this is what’s known as monitoring or foldback). Apart from artists, these devices are commonly used by audio engineers to hear the mix of the vocals and the stage instrumentation for recording studio mixing and/or live performance.

Two Way Radio Headsets

Two way radio headset is a communication device which can transmit and also receive signals. A two way radio headset allows the user to communicate with other people with similar 2 way radio headsets (and are operating on the same channel or radio frequency). 2 way radio headsets are readily available in mobile and also hand held portable configurations. The handheld 2 way radio headsets are also known as walkie talkie headsets or handie talkies. One thing to note about two way radio headsets, is that the user can either transmit or receive signals and not both at the same time.

2 Way Radio Covert Pieces

These are quite similar to the 2 way radios, however, they are much more discreet. 2 way radio covert earpieces are usually used by security personnel as they prefer staying discreet. This type of walkie talkie headset is also ideal for the Door supervisors and security staff.

Wired Show Comms

Unlike Two way radios, these type of communication systems allow for both talking and listening even at the same time. These devices have a closed cup design, meaning they fully cover the ear which helps reduce the ambient noise. Wired show comms come in single muff and double muff versions. They get attached to the belt pack controller which is then physically wired to the system. Because of the cabling that’s involved in wired show comms, there’s less mobility thus are best suited for managers and the static technicians. These specialist communication devices are also commonly used for calling shows.

Wireless Show Comms

These are very similar to the wired Show Comms, only difference is that their belt packs are wireless. The device and the belt pack are compatible which means that the users can freely and comfortably move around, thus are ideal for stage managers, front of house managers, among others. Just like the wired show comms, these devices also allow both talking and listening at the same. With that said, you should know that the wireless show comms are relatively more expensive than the wired show comms. Some of the other applications for these devices include, but not limited to; security personnel, broadcast, marines, theater, and colleges. They can also serve as convenient walkie talkie headset for events.

Radio Performer Headset

This is the device that’s used by presenters and performers. This device allows for the user’s voice to get fed into the sound system where the audience can get to hear them. This device is usually used in conjunction with the radio belt pack system. Most of the devices used today are generally very thin and skin colored which helps reduce visibility when the performer is on stage.

Presenter Talkback

These are the small ear pieces which you see the lead presenters on TV talk shows wearing. This device allows the producer (of that particular TV talkshow or program), to communicate to the lead presenter and update them on the show’s progress. This may be done using a system known as in ear monitoring. Alternatively, wireless show comms systems can also be used.

Ham radio: A last resort when phone lines fail

We at this blog believe in radio communications and will never let it die, understanding the importance that it still plays, and during the worst catastrophes, will be the best form of communication. This story about 9-11 adds proof to this statement.

If disaster strikes, there is a form of communication that can still get through: a ham radio.

When 9/11 hit New York City in 2001, for instance, ham radio operators provided a connection to the outside world.

One of those people was amateur radio enthusiast Bob Kyvig, formerly of White Bear Lake, who now lives in Centerville.

“The only communication out there on 9/11 was amateur radio,” Kyvig recalled. “The telephone lines were jammed and no one was going in or out.”

On the days following that horrific attack, Kyvig assumed the role of messenger, relaying messages from Manhattan to loved ones in the area by calling or knocking on their door. His house calls would go like this: “I am Bob; I am a ham operator. I just communicated with your loved one; they are fine and doing well and they will talk to you soon.”

When White Bear Lake sailor Gerry Spiess landed in Samoa on his historic solo voyage across the Pacific Ocean in 1981, he contacted Kyvig, who connected Spiess with his wife Sally.

When Hugo’s tornado struck in 2008, he and wife Jill remained on the radio as long as they could but had to abandon the “ham shack” as the storm approached. The tornado did $30,000 damage to their home, including Kyvig’s outside antennas.

A ham since 1968, long before Facetime, email or Skype, Kyvig was 20 when he took up the hobby while serving in the Navy. He was stationed in Hawaii and had childhood buddies serving in Germany and aboard the USS Milwaukee. The three met on the radio at least once a week without fail for more than 40 years, until the death of one of the men in 2015.

That connection to people is what Kyvig most enjoys. He chats on the radio to people he’s never met around the world.

“It’s a worldwide network of people enjoying fellowship with other hams,” Kyvig said.

The radio operator answers calls for help in areas of “health and welfare,” and was on Centerville’s first CERT (citizen emergency response team), which is now inactive. He serves as a severe weather spotter too, and gains “insights” as to what is happening around the world by chatting to foreigners.

“We talk about everything from fishing, to weather and local problems,” he said. “It’s very interesting because you find out so much about people across the world. And it’s not just the personal part but handling messages for help in disasters.”

He’s listened to astronauts aboard the space station and scientists at the South Pole. He has talked to people in Russia, New Zealand and most of Europe. For a long time, he kept a conversation going with a man in Norway who lived close to some of his relatives. Wife Jill also has her ham license and enjoys talking to other women, known as YLs or young ladies, across the world. “Lord knows what they’re talking about,” Bob said. “I leave the room.”

Ham buffs do have opportunity to meet at events called “eyeball picnics.” The Kyvigs traveled to a picnic in Branson, Missouri earlier this summer to socialize with other hams and match voices with faces.

Without getting too technical, Kyvig explained that radio signals are bounced up through the ionosphere. The signal goes up and down several times before it hits the final destination and you don’t control where it hits. People who want to contact Kyvig can tune into his call number: WA0ROH, assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications. The agency requires operators to keep a log of who they talk to on an electronic spreadsheet.

“We could be talking to people the FCC thinks is a bad guy,” he said. “Because we can transmit all over the world without a phone line, some use it to their own means.”

Other countries have comparable agencies.

Each country has its own beginning call letters. The United States uses W, K and N.

“The concept is simple,” he added. “We use what Mother Nature has provided: airwaves. We plug a number in for a country and anyone can answer.”

A true party line, Kyvig said 30,000 people could be listening in on a conversation.

Jill proudly pointed out that Bob earned a master’s degree from The 3905 Century Club. It’s not the typical academic degree, but a difficult achievement nonetheless. “The degree was a challenge,” he said, which explains why only 68 radio operators have received the degree since 1967.

Bob inspired her to get her license, Jill said, and together they do public service events using ham radio.

Invented in the early ’20s, ham equipment is evolving, but affordable. Newbies can do it for about $300, he said. There are antennas on his roof, but mostly they are horizontal wires stretched between a tree and the house. Generator backup is used if there’s a power outage. He also keeps a mobile 12 volt transmitter that he can use in his truck to chat while he’s driving.

At one time, working knowledge of Morse code was a requirement to get an FCC ham license, but that was dropped, so more people are getting into it, he said.

When he’s not on the radio, Kyvig enjoys making furniture and fixing TVs. He retired from a career in computer operations about five years ago.

Source – http://www.presspubs.com/citizen/news/article_c147ab30-7c25-11e6-9028-679823bb75af.html