EF Johnson announces P25 Phase 2 solution, industry’s smallest base station

EF Johnson Technologies recently announced its move into the P25 Phase 2 arena during the recent IWCE 2015 show, featuring a fully software-defined base station that company officials say is the industry’s smallest platform.

Arindam Roy, director of product management for EF Johnson, said other manufacturers have offered P25 Phase 2 base stations earlier, but the EF Johnson solution can help network operators use valuable rack space efficiently.

“We are coming in a little late, but we are coming in at a much better product in the marketplace,” Roy said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “First of all, this is smallest Phase 2 base station you can see in the marketplace—it is 40% of the size of other repeaters. Pretty much every other repeater is around five rack units [in size]; we are two rack units. And it takes a lot to do the same functionality in 40% of the size of a comparable repeater.”

This characteristic not only can help a network operator save space, but money, Roy said.

“Rack space is expensive, because you are taking real estate in a crowded building,” he said.

But the smaller size of the base station does not mean that EF Johnson took shortcuts that negatively impact performance, Roy said.

“The specification of this repeater far exceeds any other specification in the marketplace, in terms of its performance,” Roy said. “For example, in terms of receiver sensitivity, the industry standard is 117 dB, and we are at 122 dB—that’s a huge performance improvement.”

In addition, setup of the system is relatively straightforward, Roy said.

“This has an ultralinear power amplifier, which takes out all of the guesswork,” Roy said. “Typically, most repeaters out there have to be hand-tuned to a particular frequency, but this one has the full bandwidth. So, you just set the frequency and you are done—it is fully digitally configured and digitally tuned. There is no manual tuning of a repeater to a particular sub-band or a particularly frequency, etc.”

The new EF Johnson P25 base station—able to support operations on both P25 Phase 1 FDMA 12.5 kHz channels and P25 Phase 2 TDMA 6.25 kHz channels—comes with all of low-latency and total-cost-of-ownership benefits associated with EF Johnson’s distributed ATLAS architecture, Roy said.

This flexibility gives network operators much-wanted choices as they make strategic decisions involving P25 deployments, according to Karthik Rangarajan, EF Johnson’s vice president of marketing.

“Our clients now have the freedom to control their migration path to Phase 2 which offers enhanced spectral efficiency and greater channel capacity. Importantly, new clients have the power to future‐proof their P25 investment and comply with any future regulatory changes based on the most advanced hardware and software platform in the industry today,” Rangarajan said in a prepared statement. “ATLAS P25 Phase 1 and 2 systems are available in all system types, including trunked, conventional, simulcast and hybrid operation in VHF, UHF and 700/800 MHz frequency bands. “