News Release

Cisco Introduces Enhanced IPICS Capabilities for More Economical and Simplified Mobile Communications

New solutions with Etherstack and IP Trade deliver customizable interfaces and device support with reduced complexity for reliable Public Safety Communications
Mar 11, 2013

SAN JOSE, CA — March 11, 2012 — Cisco today unveiled a new set of multivendor, interoperable communications capabilities for operations and dispatch centers across government and enterprise industries such as transportation, utilities, manufacturing, healthcare, public safety and education. The new Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) solution include support for the broadest set of radio interfaces for interoperability, better encryption key management, and customizable interfaces for field dispatchers. Cisco is working with IP Trade and Etherstack to produce an IP Command Touch Screen Console for greater ease of use and the Native P25 on Android Clients to bring wider field flexibility to support more devices and endpoints.

Public safety organizations are still challenged to achieve public safety communications interoperability across state, local, federal and private organizations. For example, many public safety organizations have vendor specific proprietary systems and still use donor radios as the only way to interface to other systems.  P25 open standards, developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), allow the public safety agencies to achieve true multi-vendor interoperability using a variety of protocol standards. Many other organizations also face communications challenges across existing radio systems and require flexibility to incorporate other mobile devices such as smart phones.

Key Facts

Cisco IPICS 4.6

  • The Cisco IPICS 4.6 communication solution supports Inter RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI), Console Sub-System Interface (CSSI) and TIA P25 Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI) standards.  Cisco provides full support and implementation of TIA102-BACA and TIA102-BAHA standards and allows for arbitration of CSSI, DFSI and encryption, so customers can operate multiple communications consoles on one talk group. This relieves customers of struggles when provided with partial implementation from existing vendors.
  • Cisco Video Surveillance (VSM) Manager 7, available for IPICS 4.6, allows users to integrate video surveillance into live incidents. Dispatchers can drag and drop video surveillance cameras directly into incident communications channel providing voice, video, and data collaboration directly to the field personnel.
  • Encrypted keysets can securely be sent to the endpoints for end-to-end P25 encrypted calls and allow customers to change over their keys.   
  • Dispatchers can now tear away parts of their graphical user interface moving their dispatching environment to multiple screens and folders for improved usability.
  • The full IPICS 4.6 solution is extended as a virtualized application the award-winning Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) platform, the UCS E-Series. Organizations are able to save as much as 40% in network and infrastructure costs when applications become consolidated and virtualized.

Native P25 Over LTE Mobile Client for Workforce Enablement

  • In collaboration with Etherstack, Cisco is demonstrating native P25 over LTE open standards mobile clients for Android devices and tablets.
  • The P25 mobile radio client application will work on most Android devices for personnel who need P25-compatible radio capabilities to easily talk with other P25 systems.
  • The P25-over-LTE mobile client provides native P25 encoding/decoding, supplemental services, short messaging, location (GPS) services, end-to-end encryption, support for P25 over IP and key management using P25 standards.
  • As Public Safety LTE standards evolve, users with dual mode phones will be able to roam between carrier based LTE networks and D-Block public safety LTE networks.

IP Command Touch Screen Dispatch Consoles

  • IP Trade, a Cisco SolutionsPlus partner, is helping Cisco transform incident response by integrating into Cisco IPICS 4.6 a new capability called IP Command Touch Screen Dispatch Console.
  • This new touch screen console supports advanced incident management and telephony features such as call queuing, call priority queuing, multiple line appearances, and hold and transfer capabilities all integrated with Cisco Unified Communications. This console combined with UC features allows dispatchers to prioritize their work and achieve higher productivity.
  • This console is a purpose built complete dispatch unit with integrated audio and customizable layouts to meet any dispatch environment. Dispatch teams have access to integrated, collaborative features for radio communications, unified communications and telephony.

Dan O'Malley, senior product manager, Cisco – Video Script

The Cisco IPICS 4.6 communication solution delivers the ability to reduce costs and complexity with the industry's best interoperability via comprehensive support for Inter RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI), Console Sub-System Interface (CSSI) and TIA P25 Digital Fixed Station Interface (DFSI) standards. 

The ISSI allows one agency to affiliate with neighboring agencies. When one agency roams away from its radio coverage area, it can affiliate with or roam onto a neighboring agency or network. Therefore ISSI allows for neighboring agencies to interoperate with separate systems and supports enhanced roaming and coverage.

CSSI standard allows for dispatchers from different vendors to communicate to one or many P25 radio systems. The arbitration CSSI and DFSI enables multiple endpoints to connect to the same channel or talk group for a multivendor approach.

The DFSI standard provides the ability to connect directly to conventional base-stations which are typically on the top of mountaintops. This allows customers to replace expensive circuit switched interfaces with IP backhaul directly to the base-station. DFSI allows for analogue or digital mode where customers can migrate subscribers from analogue talk groups to P25 digital talk groups.

Shipments will be ready in Q2 of 2013.


Supporting Quotes:

Dan O'Malley, senior product manager, Cisco:  "With our new release we are giving our customers choice in dispatch clients and we are excited because these open standards will drive down system costs similar to what SIP standards did for VoIP telephony"

David Deacon, CEO, Etherstack: "With Cisco's IPICS solution now incorporating Etherstack's LTE25 components, government agencies will benefit from a solution that solves the most intractable communications problem they face today - how to transition from isolated legacy narrowband networks to LTE, while providing a unified user experience across network types. Regardless of currently deployed infrastructure, by technology or vendor, Cisco now provides a clear upgrade path."

Didier Mattivi, CEO, IP Trade: "Cisco and IP Trade have developed the industry's most comprehensive VoIP-RoIP communications solution, integrating voice and radio capabilities in an ergonomically advanced touch screen turret. The IP Command application is completely integrated with Cisco CUCM and IPICS and offers large operator groups instant communications capability via high-capacity line visualization, line sharing, unlimited speed dials, sophisticated call queuing and priority options as well enabling key features that operators count on like remote call pickup, ad hoc and meet-me conferencing and an integrated handset/headset that allows them to answer and switch between voice and radio calls."

Ellery Hurn, partner product manager, Tait Communications: "Cisco, in partnership with Tait Communications, is integrating its ISSI Gateway to be compatible with Tait's standards-based P25 trunked TN9400 network, enabling a direct IP connection to the network using standard TCP/IP. The gateway is also compatible with Tait's TB9100 P25 conventional DFSI base station."Our collaboration with Cisco means that organizations have the flexibility to connect digital smart devices with other subscribers on a mission-critical TaitNet P25 network — providing communications interoperability, regardless of technology."

Oscie Brown, general manager, SCANA Services, Inc: "SCANA has a number of two-way radio systems that range from low to high band, digital to analog and trunked to individual channels.  For years interoperability was just not practical for SCANA. IPICS has allowed us to obtain interoperability across regions and systems, including links to our IP telephone networks. IPICS has opened our future to a wide spectrum of options." 

Thomas Burkett, senior product line manager, Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications: "Harris Corporation has successfully tested the P25 ISSI interface in a Virtual Lab environment.  We are now moving to live customer deployments using the ISSI interface. Harris is excited to work with Cisco on the open IP standards for public safety and look forward to delivering multivendor interoperable solutions to our customers."

Supporting Resources:


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About Etherstack

Etherstack (ASX:ESK)  is a radio communications technology company specialising in TETRA, APCO P25, DMR and dPMR protocol stacks, wide area IP soft-switched core networks and cryptographic products. Etherstack software is used on fielded PMR radio equipment around the world. Etherstack works closely with clients to achieve technical excellence and reduce risk, cost and time to market. 

About IP Trade

IP Trade is a pioneer in the design of advanced session management communications software and has established itself as a leading provider of ultra-reliable, high-capacity unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions designed for environments where real-time communications capabilities are mission-critical.

For more information please go to