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Update 09/29/2010

Reuven Carlyle posted a sequel to his first article on 09/13/2010 where he expounds on his original thesis described below.  Mr. Carlyle’s original work has been quoted out of context by certain “established way of doing business” types and the sequel clarifies his position on the issue.

Click here to read My Carlyle’s subsequent article, “Carlyle-Schrier publc safety debate continues: $5,000 for a single radio is just wrong.”


Reuven Carlyle is an elected official who represents the Seattle area in the State of Washington’s legislature. Yesterday he published an article about public safety communications strategy that I believe is worth your time to read. Here’s a link to his article.

Click here to read the article on Mr. Carlyle’s web site.

Click here to view Mr. Carlyle’s article in PDF format, combined with a New York Times article that he references.

Mr. Carlyle, as an elected official, has realized that closed-architecture, incredibly expensive, proprietary and prematurely obsolete technology is a hindrance to effective public safety communication.  I’m not sure he realizes that traditional cellular-like networks also aren’t the answer. Unlike Mr. Carlyle, I’ve never met a first responder who would opt for a cell phone over a properly functioning two-way radio.

Public safety needs the best of traditional push-to-talk radio, coupled with sophisticated software like what exists in modern wireless consumer smart phones.  Such a device doesn’t currently exist. The new device doesn’t need more user features than what we took for granted 20 years ago.  It needs to be extremely simple to operate, durable, highly reliable, and affordable.

The next generation public safety radio needs to be capable of forming an adhoc peer-to-multi-peer broadband network between mobile and portable units, and treat base stations as gateways to a routable backbone network.  The subscriber equipment must be capable of operating without the gateway.

The P25 digital trunked radio bubble is going to burst, but I don’t think Tetra or LTE will be the successor. Could Google’s open-source Android mobile device operating system be the foundation to support a new protocol designed specifically to support the public safety mission?