Two way radios - Icom America Inc.

IDAS Frequently Asked Questions

About IDAS

  1. What is IDAS?
  2. Is IDAS compatible with other companies' products or systems?
  3. What are the target users for IDAS?
  4. Does using IDAS satisfy the FCC requirement for our system to change to narrowband technology by the end of the 2012?
  5. I've heard that future regulations will limit the channel spacing to 6.25 kHz and even 3.125 kHz – does IDAS satisfy those requirements, too?
  6. How do I get a license to use the digital signal capabilities of IDAS radios? Are shared channel licenses available for IDAS technology? What frequency bands are approved for IDAS technology?
  7. Can I use IDAS radios under an existing license?
  8. How does the coverage in a digital communication site compare with analog FM?
  9. How does the audio quality in digital mode compare with analog FM?
  10. Does IDAS support scrambling or encryption for data and voice?
  11. Can IDAS radios talk to my existing radios? Does my existing licenses allow me to use IDAS radios?
  12. Do I have to change my whole system to IDAS at the same time? Will IDAS radios work on my MDC 1200 system?
  13. Is the IDAS software (firmware) the same for mobiles and handheld radios?
  14. What are the future development plans for the IDAS system?
  15. What is the difference between IDAS and APCO P25?
  16. What sort of GPS receiver is available for the IC-F5060 series radios?
  17. When GPS microphone is used, what sort of information is displayed on the radio?
  18. Is it possible to send voice and GPS data simultaneously?
  19. Is it possible to use analog signaling functions like CTCSS in the IC-FR5000/FR6000?
  20. Is it possible to do remote programming or control of an IDAS repeater via IP?
  21. Is any special equipment required for the repair or maintenance of IDAS products?

About NXDN™

  1. What is NXDN?
  2. Is NXDN an "open standard"?

About IDAS Trunking

  1. Can current IDAS products be upgraded to be trunking capable?

About MultiTrunk

  1. What is MultiTrunk?
  2. How many sites can I connect together?
  3. Can I connect multiple sites together with other vehicles besides standard Internet?
  4. How much bandwidth is used by IDAS MultiTrunk?
  5. What hardware is required to turn my conventional IDAS system into a new MultiTrunk system?
  6. Does MultiTrunk utilize a Control Channel for data management on the system?
  7. Can I utilize voting receivers as part of this system?
  8. Can GPS/AVL be used in conjunction with MultiTrunk?
  9. What type of security measures are used to prevent hackers from programming up radios on my system without my knowledge like LTR?
  10. Is there a console interface for IDAS MultiTrunk?
  11. Do the subscriber units roam seamlessly through the MultiTrunk system without the need for the channels to be manually changed?
  12. Do I need to install a CF card for MultiTrunk into each repeater or can I use one card per site?
  13. Am I able to monitor air time usage on a MultiTrunk System?
  14. What tools are available for system management?
  15. If I add a new channel or site to the MultiTrunk system, do I have to reprogram all existing subscriber units to include the new channels?
  16. Are there any emergency call functions available on MultiTrunk?

What is IDAS?
IDAS stands for Icom Digital Advanced System. IDAS is Icom's version of the new NXDN™ radio technology, which stands for Next Generation Digital Narrowband. IDAS is the equipment and technology – the platform – Icom has created that operates using the NXDN system.

Icom was the first to bring NXDN–compliant radios to market, giving Icom more than three years of experience in the market with NXDN and ensuring that your product is thoroughly tested. Additionally, IDAS radios have excellent backward compatibility with a diverse assortment of the current analog technologies, making IDAS radios the most well-rounded choice when choosing your next generation radio system. Icom's IDAS radio equipment can be used with your existing analog FM equipment and systems.

Is IDAS compatible with other companies' products or systems?
Yes. The NXDN protocol used by IDAS is compatible with other companies that conform to the mandatory features and standard optional features specified by the NXDN Forum.

Who are the target users for IDAS?
IDAS is aimed mainly at the business and industry markets, which consist of many categories like security, transportation, railways, construction, shopping malls, factories, taxi companies and hotels. We've also found that many rural public safety agencies, utilities and radio service providers prefer IDAS.

Does using IDAS satisfy the FCC requirement for our system to change to narrowband technology by the end of the 2012?
Not only does IDAS satisfy the requirements for the 12.5 kHz channel spacing, but it goes one step further to 6.25 kHz spacing! This is one quarter of the bandwidth required by the obsolete 25 kHz channel spacing being phased out by the FCC. You won't have to "narrowband" twice.

I've heard that future regulations will limit the channel spacing to 6.25 kHz and even 3.125 kHz – does IDAS satisfy those requirements, too?
The FCC has made it very clear that at some point in the future there will be regulatory restrictions to require a voice channel to occupy only 6.25 kHz. As for the 3.125 kHz, there are no regulations currently proposed that would reduce channel spacing to this level, so this is not addressed by IDAS equipment.

How do I get a license to use the digital signal capabilities of IDAS radios? Are shared channel licenses available for IDAS technology? What frequency bands are approved for IDAS technology?
IDAS technology is currently approved and in use on both the VHF and UHF land mobile radio frequency bands. The best way to get your IDAS 6.25 kHz radios licensed is to work with your favorite frequency coordinator. Icom has worked with these coordinators over the past few years to assure that coordinating goes smoothly. Icom does not recommend specific coordinators.

Can I use IDAS radios under an existing license?
All it takes to use your existing license is to redesignate it as 6.25kHz. You can continue to use as both 25kHz or 12.5kHz analog and 6.25kHz digital once that is done.

How does the coverage in a digital communication site compare with analog FM?
In field tests carried out by Icom and other third parties, we have observed IDAS communication coverage in digital mode up to 20 percent more than the analog communication coverage. Some reports have indicated coverage of over 80km, but as with any wireless communications systems, antenna height, topography and other factors all affect total communication range. What we can say is that there is no losing coverage in comparison with analog mode.

How does the audio quality in digital mode compare with analog FM?
Regarding digital audio versus analog audio, the digital signal audio quality remains basically the same until the communication range is exceeded. The biggest difference you will notice is the lack of noise in the received audio of the digital signal. In most instances, it sounds the same until the signal cuts off at the end of the communications range.

Does IDAS support scrambling or encryption for data and voice?
IDAS provides for spectrum-inversion digital voice scrambling with a 15-bit key (more than 32,000 different codes). This encryption only applies to voice. Data encryption is the responsibility of the systems sending and receiving data.

Can IDAS radios talk to my existing radios? Does my existing licenses allow me to use IDAS radios?
Your current analog radios and repeater system can be used by IDAS radios in the analog mode just like any other analog repeater. IDAS system features will not be available on your current analog-only radios, however, because they do not use the NXDN protocol and signals.

Do I have to change my whole system to IDAS at the same time? Will IDAS radios work on my MDC 1200 system?
IDAS radios such as the F3161D portable and the F5061D mobile configured to use the 12.5 kHz channel analog mode are fully compatible with current analog (non-trunking) systems, such as MDC 1200. To use an IDAS radio with both IDAS and analog systems, program one channel as a digital (IDAS) channel and another as an analog channel. This dual-mode capability allows you to gradually integrate IDAS technology into your current analog system.

Is the IDAS software (firmware) the same for mobiles and handheld radios?
Yes. As a result there is also only one version of the programming software.

What are the future development plans for the IDAS system?
The IDAS system has a full range of capabilities – analog and digital modes for single site conventional and trunking as well as digital mode multi-site conventional and trunking. The immediate development plans are to continue to enhance the feature set within that range of capabilities to provide advanced capabilities and greater value to our customers.

What is the difference between IDAS and APCO P25?
IDAS digital technology and P25 digital technology are not compatible because they do not use the same over-the-air protocol.

IDAS and P25 technology were specified and designed to support very different markets. IDAS radios are intended first and foremost for business and industry and are priced accordingly. P25 systems are required to support the high-end requirements of public-safety systems, such as secure encryption. If you compare the prices of P25 equipment to IDAS equipment, you'll see a substantial difference.

For uses that are not "mission-critical" IDAS systems may be used by public safety agencies. In fact, IDAS is an excellent low-cost alternative to P25 for providing inter-agency interoperability where the requirements of P25 do not apply.

What sort of GPS receiver is available for the IC-F5060 series radios?
Icom offers a convenient DB-25 connector with an embedded GPS receiver board and antenna. This can be used for new installation or added easily to existing mobile radios already deployed in the field.

When GPS microphone is used, what sort of information is displayed on the radio?
Nothing is displayed on the radio screen, but it is possible to use third party mapping software to show where a particular radio/vehicle is when using the GPS functionality.

Is it possible to send voice and GPS data simultaneously?
No, simultaneous transmission of voice and GPS data is not possible. However, you can set up the timing of sending GPS data in multiple way i.e. automatically sending right after pushing PTT or after releasing the PTT, or automatically sending the GPS data in specified time intervals. Polling to retrieve GPS data is also available.

Is it possible to use analog signaling functions like CTCSS in the IC-FR5000/FR6000?
Yes, it is possible. All analog signaling features available in IDAS terminal products (and other analog radio products) can be handled by an IDAS repeater.

Is it possible to do remote programming or control of an IDAS repeater via IP?
With the release of the UC-FR5000 network card, it is possible to:

  1. Set up a repeater for trunking functionality
  2. Program the trunking parameters
  3. Carry out some simple diagnostics of the repeater like PLL temperature and power connection (requires an application to do this which we are developing now).

The above can be done via IP connection. The future, more advanced IP control features will be added to the system.

Is any special equipment required for the repair or maintenance of IDAS products?
Icom has tried to keep the basic circuit design as similar to an existing analog FM circuit as possible, but some special equipment is required if you want to measure the sensitivity or similar specifications of the operating mode, if the analog operation is working properly, then you can assume that the digital operation will be okay.

What is NXDN?
NXDN is a new "Common Air Interface" (CAI), the name for over-the-air methods by which radios and repeaters communicate. NXDN defines next-generation digital radio.

Is NXDN an "open standard"?
No, NXDN is an "open proprietary protocol" co-developed by Kenwood and Icom. NXDN is supported by the NXDN Forum, which is comprised of many companies including a radio manufacturer and a tester manufacturer. www.nxdn-forum.com

Can current IDAS products be upgraded to be trunking capable?
Yes it is possible. Please contact your authorized Icom Distributor for details about the firmware upgrade as there are some restrictions on what older firmware revisions can be updated. Also, all IDAS radio and repeater products produced from October 2008 have the IDAS trunking ready firmware installed. The system can be enabled with the addition of the UC-FR5000 into the IC-FR5000/FR6000 series repeaters.

What is MultiTrunk?
MultiTrunk is the name given to our newly designed and deployed IDAS Trunking System's ability to perform in a multi-site environment, connected via IP. This system is diverse and able to operate in many different environments, making it one of the best choices for wide area, SMR operators or companies with multiple locations but still need efficient use of their radios and spectrum.

How many sites can I connect together?
The answer depends upon whether it is Multi-site Voting, Multi-site Conventional or MultiTrunk. MultiTrunk can grow to 48 sites. Multi-site Voting and Multi-site Conventional is less clear. The published size of a Multi-site Voting or Multi-site Conventional system is 16 sites. However, there are techniques available that can allow the number of voting receivers or conventional repeaters to share communications well beyond the published 16 sites, but you'll need to call us to help you through that configuration.

Can I connect multiple sites together with other vehicles besides standard Internet?
Yes. You can utilize DSL, microwave, satellite or broadband connections to accomplish multi-site connectivity.

How much bandwidth is used by IDAS MultiTrunk?
Each voice path uses approximately 17kbps, which is relatively small and enables the system to work on a variety of IP providers.

What hardware is required to turn my conventional IDAS system into a new MultiTrunk system?
In order to convert a conventional IDAS system to MultiTrunk, you need to install the latest UC-FR5000 board plus the new CF Card that is specifically for MultiTrunk on the UC board. All other equipment is the same. The portables and mobiles would need a simple firmware upgrade.

Does MultiTrunk utilize a Control Channel for data management on the system?
MultiTrunk does not utilize a Control Channel anywhere in the system design. MultiTrunk uses all channels as voice channels. Some channels operate in a dual mode, providing collect channel, master channel and voice functions.

Can I utilize voting receivers as part of this system?
No. Voting is not a part of the MultiTrunk system; however, you can deploy a single site, single channel trunked repeater to fill any dead spots that may be part of your particular system.

Can GPS/AVL be used in conjunction with MultiTrunk?
Yes. All IDAS digital functionality can also be used when operating the new IDAS MultiTrunk system.

What type of security measures are used to prevent hackers from programming up radios on my system without my knowledge like LTR?
We currently utilize ESN registration capabilities that can be enabled to prevent anyone from illegally loading radios onto the MultiTrunk system without your knowledge. Once ESN registration is used, it cannot be mixed with non-ESN registration.

Is there a console interface for IDAS MultiTrunk?
Currently Icom is talking with several console manufacturers and discussing the interface with MultiTrunk. At this time, we have not secured any final third party interfaces.

Do the subscriber units roam seamlessly throughout the MultiTrunk system without the need for the channels to be manually changed?
Yes. All subscriber units once registered on the system can move throughout the installed footprint and the system will re-register them automatically from site to site as they travel. The quality of the coverage is dependent upon the correct site programming at each location.

Do I need to install a CF card for MultiTrunk into each repeater or can I use one card per site?
Each repeater that is in the MultiTrunk system requires the installation of the new CF card. In addition, you must make certain that the UC board already in the field is updated to accept the new CF information necessary to perform MultiTrunk.

Am I able to monitor air time usage on a MultiTrunk System?
Yes. There is a built-in feature called "air time logging" that will allow you the ability to monitor your air time on the system.

What tools are available for system management?
Simple Network Management Protocol-SNMP capabilities are built into the system, which allow certain "traps" to generate alarm conditions. It is an industry standard, so it is usable with a wide range of third party software applications available on the market today.

If I add a new channel or site to the MultiTrunk system, do I have to reprogram all existing subscriber units to include the new channels?
No. Changes to subscriber units are accomplished by MultiTrunk's ability to add the new sites or channels "Over- the-Air". There is no need to manually reprogram existing radios on the system which saves a lot of time.

Are there any emergency call functions available on MultiTrunk?
Yes. Emergency call is available on MultiTrunk like conventional or Single Site Trunking. Also, with the MultiTrunk System there is a feature called "Priority Monitor Function." This allows a priority talkgroup to take over the conversation in an emergency situation and bring those emergency call members together.