Radio Network Operating System also known as Project 25 (P25) was developed in 1989 in a coordinated effort by six national communications associations and federal agencies to address a lack of system interoperability between vendor equipment. The P25 standard is under constant review and will continue to be the national standard for public safety communications. P25 has two separate components: digital voice, and networking.
South Dakota’s state radio system was started in 1999 and the new P25 networking standards for the very high frequency (VHF) spectrum had not been developed. Due to this issue, a hybrid system of P25 voice and a Motorola proprietary networking was installed. The state’s system has been continually updated and the most recent changes will keep the current system in operation until the end of 2025. The current issue is support for protocol adapters allowing mix-mode operation will end by 2023. After this time frame, failure beyond current spare parts inventory would result in sites being down.
The State of South Dakota and the emergency preparedness partners have approximately 20,000 radios on the system, 60% local, 21% state and 18% tribal/federal.