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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 06:08

Cisco adopts Aussie LTE technology, eyes $US7b US network contract


Cisco is to incorporate technology from Australian company Etherstack that will enable LTE smartphones to be integrated into public safety trunked mobile radio networks operating on the P25 standard.

According to Etherstack, the move will make Cisco a possible vendor to the rollout of FirstNet, a US$7b LTE public safety network in the United States that will be funded by the US Department of Homeland Security.

"The Cisco and Etherstack solution will allow secure push-to-talk style operation between 3G and 4G (LTE) handset devices and government radio systems such as those used by police, fire, ambulance and other government agencies," Etherstack said.

"The offering also provides a similar capability to the utility, transportation and mining sectors. Cisco has stated that shipments of product incorporating the Etherstack technology will commence in its Q2 2013."

Cisco said that the native P25 over LTE open standards mobile clients for Android devices and tablets, developed with Etherstack, would 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."

According to Etherstack CEO, David Deacon: "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."

Etherstack said it had been co-operating with Cisco since 2008, and this had resulted in initial deployments of Cisco's new IPICS (IP Interoperability and Collaboration System) product incorporating Etherstack's wireless interfacing technology to various government agencies in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Etherstack went public last September with the issue of 32,000 Chess Depository Interests CDIs) at $1.60 each. Since then the price has fallen to as low as $1.20 but stood at $1.50 at close of trade on 12 March.

The company was founded in Sydney in 2002 but now employs twice as many people overseas as in Australia. Its largest R&D group is in Sydney but it also operates R&D offices in London, Yokohama, New York, Singapore and Barcelona. It claims to have exported over $50m worth of defence and government communications technology in the past seven years.

The company describes its primary business as being "licensing mission-critical radio technology to the likes of Raytheon, Cisco, Thales and Rockwell Collins across the globe." It says it has licensed its wireless technology to over twenty defence and radio equipment manufacturers and has also made direct sales to foreign military including the Swedish Armed Forces and US Department of Defense.

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