U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Understanding Wireless Communications in Public Safety: A Guidebook to Technology, Issues, Planning, and Management

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2003
174 pages
This guide is designed to assist middle and upper managers responsible for funding and/or managing communications in their agencies to better understand the confusing issues, terms, and options in wireless communications, particularly commercially available communications services; the guide assumes that this target audience has little or no technical background in wireless technology.
Part 1 of the guide, "Planning and Managing a Communications Project," discusses the overall scope of a wireless communication project, including planning, funding, procurement, and management. Part 2, which addresses wireless communications technology, discusses voice versus data; the characteristics of radio systems, including terminology; and current types of public safety radio systems. In discussing wireless communications issues, part 3 focuses on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing, rules, regulations, and related issues; tower placement and radio-frequency radiation exposure; various Federal and other group initiatives; and interoperability. Wireless communications options are discussed in part 4, including voice system options, data system options, and some of the latest developments in communications technology. The guide notes that at no time in the history of public safety communications have so many options been available, such that the volume of technological advances and regulatory changes have made selecting a communications systems increasingly complex. Extensive tables and figures, a glossary of common wireless terms, acronyms that may be encountered, and appended State agencies that are administering Byrne Program grants and contact information for 20 technical assistance resources

Date Published: January 1, 2003