Re: crypto comm

Bernie Burawski

Look at the state of the country right now; I don’t see a solution. Like everything involving change, just adapt to it and move on already. 


On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM William Barrett, KW1B <wbarrett@...> wrote:
In recent years, "interoperability" has become a vital buzz-word in emergency
communication circles at all levels.
One argument against encryption is that since the systems are complex and
very largely computer-dependent, or even (God forbid) internet-dependent,
many additional Critical Fault Points come into being.  It usually takes expert
technical people to restore normal operation.  Long delays when one of these
systems blows a gut happen.  Complete loss of integrated call-center dispatch
points, and integrated computer-aided dispatch and trunked systems have
happened more often than the poropnents of these systems will happily admit.
These things can be delicate.  Great and efficient when they're working, and all
is normal; nightmarish in the extreme when something pops.
Software failures, hardware failures, programming failures, "sour" uodates,'
and other weaknesses not present in simpler repeater or simplex systems.,
have all happened more often than any of us would like.
I lived for many years in a small Connecticut town.  The F.D. was on low-band
simplex.  100 watt base, 100 watt mobiles, a small tower on top of the firehouse,
and in this hilly little town, it all worked fine. There were a very few dead-spots,
but these were well known, and a Fire Police car was placed "just outside of the
crater" to relay in the very few times it became a problem -- maybe three times
in over thirty years.  It was simple, robust, and many firemen knew enough from
their CB activites to troubleshoot and fix simple faults.
Yes, the Contracted Radio Man would also come when called, and work his
magic, but that was always a several hour delay -- and in more than a few
hurricanes, ice storms and other widespread "problems," those delays were
very long because the bigger cities with much bigger populations deserved
priority service.  In a few cases, travel was extremely difficult for the techs.
One police chief in my state once jokingly said he would put the Contracted
Radio Maintenence guy under protective arrest, and keep him in town till
any emergency passed.  (He WAS joking -- he insisted.)
Then, my little hilly town was sold the Great Idea of a modern, digital, trunked
and encrypted system  for all Public Safety Agencies.  Well, the road guys,
and the building inspector guys and even  the dog guy all wanted a piece of
the new system, too -- because it would be so much better than their old-fashioned
mix of low-band and high band simplex and repeaters. 
A couple of years later, they finished ironing out all the many cramps and problems
and lawsuits (folks didn't like the numerous ugly  necessary towers, the enviros didn't
like the destruction of habitat, and others feared the system would give them cancer,
and they ALL had lawyers).
Millions of bux and years later, it was all humming just fine -- and then it had a
couple of Serious Problems in coincidental quick succession, and the catterwaulling
and accusations, and recriminations were amazing and expensive.
My point:  to me (an old-fashioned guy raised on vacuum tubes) the systems are
delicate, and failures are more universal (the entire thing fails) and hard to quickly
work around and fix. 
Cops wanna be totally encrypted?  Fine.  Lots of good arguments for it.
Too many "curious-seekers" show up at F.D. events -- so, F.D. wants to
data-deny the general public?  Fine.  Macht nichts to me.  Keep the idiots
away.  No problem.
But accept this:  the systems are delicate and take specialized folks to fix,
and often take longer to fix, and they don't "fail gracefully."  They never
work poorly -- they work perfectly, or not at all.  Suddenly at times.
I speak for no one other than myself.
 -----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of richardson_ed
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2019 21:01
Subject: Re: [Uniden] crypto comm

Glad everyone is entitled to their opinion. Situations may also vary depending on location, rural versus metropolitan.


As a public safety communication engineer, I am sick of the erroneous claims that encryption causes delays and barriers to interoperability. Total hogwash in these days. Poor training and improper implementation are the culprits.


Every officer, firefighter or paramedic needs to be thoroughly trained on the use of their communication equipment. Especially when it comes to interoperability. Not only should they be trained, they should drill and practise the procedures frequently.


The system planners will designate either common channels or talkgroups. These can either be encrypted or clear. If the interoperability plan calls for accessing the encrypted talkgroup of another agency, then the key for that radio better be in your radio.  The radio user should not care whether it is encrypted or clear, they simply switch to the designated channel/talkgroup and communicate as trained.


(snip for bandwidth)

Bernie Burawski

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