Lte | 2020-11-10

ESChat Upgrades All Public Safety Customers to Amazon AWS GovCloud

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The company is now providing unrestricted interagency Push-to-Talk (PTT) for broadband and LMR users via its Interworking Function (IWF) services

ESChat's migration to Amazon AWS GovCloud completes buildout of the company's Interworking Function (IWF) providing a secure and fully interoperable communication network for public safety users across the United States

ESChat today announced it has completed a migration of all its U.S. based public safety customers to the Amazon AWS GovCloud environment. The migration was the final step in a suite of enhancements required for the company to facilitate nationwide interagency Push-to-Talk (PTT) communications between ESChat customers and traditional Land Mobile Radio (LMR) users. The AWS GovCloud migration served to fulfil two objectives;

First, moving public safety users to a more secure cloud environment. "AWS GovCloud (US) are isolated AWS Regions designed to allow U.S. government agencies and customers to move sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements, including Federal Risk and Management Program (FedRAMP) High, Department of Defense Security Requirements Guide (DoD SRG) Impact Level 5, and Criminal Justice Services (CJIS). The AWS GovCloud (US) adheres to U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requirements."

Second, the consolidation of users onto a single platform supports the company's Interworking Functions (IWF), for both native ESChat users and external LMR users, providing interagency and intersystem interoperability. The Native IWF is currently used to connect neighboring local agencies with overlay county and state agencies, and also regional and national overlay agencies. The External IWF currently provides intersystem interoperability between ESChat on broadband devices (smartphones and tablets) and traditional LMR networks, using protocols that include ISSI for P25 networks and AIS for DMR networks.

ESChat's service infrastructure is doubly redundant. The Amazon AWS architecture provides redundancy zone capability within each data center. In addition, ESChat operates across multiple AWS data centers, providing the second level of geographic redundancy. In the eight years since ESChat began hosting its service via Amazon AWS, the company has provided service availability greater than 99.999%.

"We first migrated ESChat to Amazon AWS in 2012, and have been operating a bifurcated network with military customers on AWS GovCloud, and all other customers on AWS Commercial Cloud. This latest migration puts all our military and public safety customers in the same secure AWS environment, which was a requirement to facilitate complete intercarrier, interagency, and internetwork interoperability," said Brett Moser, CTO at ESChat. "We added the interagency portion of our IWF in 2014, and the advanced P25 (ISSI) and DMR (AIS) IWF features in 2018. Having all public safety customers on GovCloud removes prior restrictions that prevented our military and federal users from communicating with all ESChat state or local public safety users."

ESChat launched its PTT service in partnership with Verizon in 2008 with the first deployment at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Government and military markets have driven the company's feature set and roadmap. Advancements in broadband network and device technology have been a key enabler for ESChat.