Communication amongst and between groups of people is a critical part of the day-to-day operations of any organization. For some organizations, mission critical communications are inherent to the organization’s mission. This is true of organizations ranging from the military to workers on an oil rig where efficient communication can be the difference between success and failure – and between life and death. Unfortunately, effective seamless communication is not easily solved when different people with different communications devices on different networks, in different roles, need to be connected.
The WAVE Work Group Communications solution is a software platform and suite of applications that remove the technical barriers to secure instant communication across any IP network. WAVE’s resiliency has been tested in some of the world’s most difficult environments including battlefields, mines and the aftermath of natural disasters.
USING IP FOR MEDIA AND DATA
VoIP is a set of rules and instructions for transferring data packets – audio in this case – over any IP network. Data packets themselves are small bursts of ones and zeros arranged in a specific order by the sending machine that are routed by electronic devices to a specific destination(s).
Before IP became ubiquitous, analog forms of communication were the standard. Audio was transmitted using analog signals which are sound waves travelling across an electromagnetic spectrum and picked up by a speaker on the other end of the transmission. There was no audio ‘processing.’ The audio simply vibrated a magnet in a speaker at the same speed and amplitude as the received audio. This analog method of audio transfer is inefficient when compared to digital. A digital signal can hold thousands of times more information in the same amount of space as an analog signal. Unfortunately, these two methods are not compatible. An analog system cannot understand digital signals and digital audio received by analog system sounds like static.
The digital age brought forth microprocessors to convert analog information into digital information and send it between computer systems. In the beginning this was limited to information such as text. It is relatively easy to convert a word or number into a digital packet of information and send it from one end to the other where it is converted back to its original text form. This was the basis of early digital networks. Transferring audio, on the other hand, was not quite so simple. Audio naturally exists as a sound wave. To convert audio into a digital format that can be transferred in packets, computer applications had to be built that could map the amplitude and frequency of audio waves into a digital equivalent.
This image shows an analog signal being converted to digital. An analog wave (which is essentially continuous as far as humans are concerned) is measured as height over time. For example, every millisecond of sound, a computer can take an amplitude reading and turn it into a digital representation using binary encoding. The sending machine then encapsulates the data with instructions (also binary) at both ends, and sends that information as a packet. The encapsulation of data at either end of the packet provides routing instructions to other machines along the way. When the packet arrives at its destination it is opened by the receiving system and decoded.
A digital system does not send the actual audio but rather a digital representation of it. Instead of a stream of audio it is a long string of individual sounds represented by each packet. Fortunately, the human brain can fill in the audio gaps producing an equivalent listening experience.
WAVE – A SYSTEM FOR MANAGING REAL-TIME, SECURE MEDIA OVER IP
WAVE is a multi-component solution for enabling the integration of existing and future communication technologies. The goal is simple – enable anyone on any device to securely communicate across any IP network with any other device, in real time. The implementation required to meet this goal, however, requires a system with tremendous technical sophistication while maintaining its ease of use and implementation flexibility.
At its core, WAVE enables media and data streams within an IP network. Throughout this document, these streams are referred to as WAVE Channels. Connecting users and their devices to WAVE Channels is the job of the WAVE Engine. Applications that run on client machines, servers and gateways are all built on top of the WAVE Engine. The diagram illustrates, at a high level, most common components of a WAVE system.
WAVE Channels securely transport real-time media and data across IP networks.
WAVE Engines are the key media processing elements of a WAVE system and connect WAVE applications and other endpoints to WAVE Channels.
WAVE Media Servers act as a proxy for endpoints that do not have a WAVE Engine. They are also responsible for aggregating and routing traffic across WAVE Channels.
WAVE Proxy Servers provide a remote endpoint access to a WAVE Engine when it is not practical or desirable to run the Engine on the end-user device such as a smartphone.
WAVE applications provide users with a means to interact with other users on one or many WAVE Channels. These applications use a WAVE Engine to take media from the WAVE Channel and present it to the user as well as capture media and put it on a channel.
WAVE Management Servers are used to configure and administer a WAVE system. The Management Server is not part of run time operations and does not require a WAVE Engine.
The WAVE Work Group Communications solution is powerful, versatile communications software that creates communications channels and realtime access to those channels through a variety of end-user applications running on a variety of devices. Using WAVE, organizations have access to real-time, secure communications across any IP-based network
- BENEFIT FROM ENTERPRISE-WIDE COMMUNICATIONS LIKE NEVER BEFORE A secure broadband PTT application like WAVE™ Work Group Communications enables instant, real-time communication and everywhere connectivity. It streamlines collaboration with Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems and new technologies, such as 4G LTE broadband, plus a complete array of disparate devices – including two-way radios, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and landline phones. WAVE delivers communication capabilities for agencies, organizations and enterprises like never before. This intuitive suite of software applications helps them create and manage a seamlessly-connected environment by utilizing the technology investments they already have.
- MAKE LMR INTEROPERABILITY AN EVERYDAY REALITY Communication among people is a critical component of the daily operations of any organization. For many, it can be the difference between success and failure; in dangerous jobs and hazardous environments, between life and death. Yet often those who need to be connected can’t because they are on different systems, devices and networks. WAVE lifts the barriers of communication incompatibility by assuring large-scale interoperability. Adjacent agencies, responders and teams that bring their own LMR systems to an incident can converse easily and seamlessly using WAVE. By leveraging the technologies already in place, WAVE makes incumbent equipment work harder and smarter.
- EXPERIENCE THE IMMEDIACY OF BROADBAND PTT Broadband-only PTT is perfect for organizations that value the immediacy and spontaneity of group communications but do not need the performance, capacity and reliability of a private LMR network. Because broadband networks are so ubiquitous and so many workers bring their own mobile devices to work, they can benefit from real-time communications through broadband PTT. WAVE facilitates this because it works over any data network, freeing workers to use their own network devices. Plus WAVE enables richer data capabilities such as presence and mapping.
- EXTEND THE CAPABILITIES OF LMR TO BROADBAND For those who can’t or don’t carry a two-way radio but want to connect to them, WAVE extends the all-important capabilities of LMR networks to mobile devices. So when a city official needs to be updated on an incident, he can use his smartphone to connect to police in the precinct. Or if a utility director must handle an outage on the road, he can use his tablet to be updated by personnel at the power plant. WAVE makes extensibility from two-way radios to other devices seamless.
- SECURE COMMUNICATIONS You can be confident in the confidentiality of your communications. The WAVE Mobile Communicator secures control and voice traffic using AES 256 bit encryption.
- DESIGNED FOR PUBLIC SAFETY WAVE 7000 was designed specifically with public safety use cases in mind. Features such as emergency calls, ambient listening, call scanning and more replicate the experience public safety users are familiar with while leveraging broadband capabilities to bring more richness and context to the end users.