RA FAMILY OVERVIEW
The RA product family is specifically designed for governmental agencies, police, first responders and paramilitary forces requiring secure long-range voice, email, chat and position tracking
The continually expanding RapidM RA product range provides secure voice, position and messaging services. Leading-edge waveforms and design provide our robust products with the most reliable and integrated services on offer.
The RA family of products was developed to provide secure, reliable and interoperable communications to existing radio networks. It provides the end user with a cost-effective capability upgrade of their existing HF, VHF and UHF radio networks and allows for secure interoperability between different radio vendor equipment.
The diagram above shows various products available in the RA family range and conceptually illustrates how these products communicate through an existing radio network.
The RA product family offers solutions for all deployment types, from on-person worn and vehicles, to vessels and static infrastructure.
RM2 with RC50 vs RA2 with MessagePoint
“How do I choose between RM2 and RA2?”
The RM2 is a compact HF and VHF/UHF data modem for standards-based governmental and NGO communications. The maximum data rate is 9600 bps over a standard 3 kHz HF (SSB) or 96000 bps over a 24 kHz V/UHF radio link.
The RM2 is supported by the RC50 Email Software which provides the STANAG 5066 ARQ capability for sending emails, including emails with attachments, using well-known email clients such as Microsoft Outlook™ or similar.
RapidM’s RA2 is a high-performance secure digital voice modem. The RA2’s built-in AES-256 encryption ensures that all digital voice and data communications are secured by a trusted algorithm. RA products provide a convenient mechanism to use a radio link for both voice and data communications intermixed.
The RA suite of products is supported by the MessagePoint Messaging Software which provides a robust easy-to-use interface for email, chat and file transfer.
The diagram below highlights the key differences between the RM2 and RA2.
MARS CFARS and CAP solutions
“Do you have offerings supporting MARS, CFARS and CAP users?”
RapidM has created offerings to specifically support Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) operators. These include a dedicated modem unit, the RM2-MARS, and a radio specific embedded solution, the TC4-MARS, for Icom IC-F8101. Both these solutions fulfil the MARS requirement for a 2400 bps MIL-STD-188-110A data modem with the option to extend to 9600 bps (MIL-STD-188-110B).
The above products are also solutions of choice for Canadian Forces Affiliate Radio System (CFARS) and Civil Air Patrol (CAP) users.
“RapidM provides dedicated solutions for MARS, CFARS and CAP users.”
Many agencies are facing the difficult task of keeping their communications capabilities up to date. RapidM has designed the RA family of products to meet these challenges. We find the following requirements:
“We would like to digitise our radio communications”
“We would like all our radios to interoperate.”
The inventory of communication equipment often includes previous generation (analogue) radios. Typically, inventories have equipment from diverse manufacturers. These radios would be interoperable using SSB voice or FM voice only.
Some newer equipment may have data modes, but more often than not, these sets do not interoperate with anything else in the inventory.
The communications resources can present a frustrating mix of capabilities and limitations that do not meet the above requirements and makes the procurement of new equipment complicated.
“RapidM’s RA family provides secure digital services as an add-on.”
“RapidM’s RA products allow radios from diverse manufacturers to interoperate.”
“RapidM’s RA products can integrate with many types of radios via audio.”
The RA family has a complete range of products with secure digital capabilities. These products are suited to a range of deployment scenarios.
The RA products typically contain a Vocoder, thereby allowing voice communications to be digitised. In addition, there is a built-in modem that will transfer digital information (voice or data) across an analogue radio link. In this way, adding the RA products to existing radios will provide a digital communications capability, allowing equipment from diverse manufacturers to securely interoperate.
This means that digital communications are possible even with a mix of older and younger generation communication equipment of various types, including HF, VHF and UHF transceivers.
In many scenarios there is very often a requirement for BLOS communications:
“We need beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications”
“We need a communications solution in a satellite-denied environment.”
The reliance on mobile phone or satellite networks is also often undesirable for various reasons. This leaves communications relying almost solely on traditional VHF transceivers for short-range operations and HF transceivers for long-range use – beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) operations.
“RapidM’s RA products include a very robust modem for use with beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) HF radio transceivers.”
“RapidM’s RA products can be used with long-range HF transceivers as well as short-range V/UHF transceivers.”
Apart from interoperability, security is always a concern:
“We need to secure our radio communications.”
“Secure, reliable and interoperable communications are at the heart of our operations.”
Information security is very important, especially for strategic HF BLOS or long-haul communications. These high-power HF systems represent a sizeable investment.
Older analogue FM or SSB equipment is clearly open to interception or eavesdropping. Newer equipment may not be trusted for various reasons.
What is needed is a standardised robust encryption capability.
“RapidM’s RA encryptors use AES-256.”
“RapidM’s RA products contain a secure modem for data and voice.”
“RapidM’s RA system allows customers to easily generate and manage their cryptographic keys.”
The addition of an external modem to an existing transceiver allows communications to be encrypted. The RA family of products have a built-in modem and make use of the AES-256 to encrypt all communications, voice or data. This is a standardised, trusted algorithm of high integrity.
In addition to secure communications, there is a growing need for easy-to-use, well-integrated communication services that we have become accustomed to from smartphones:
“We need modern communication services like location, voice, text and file transfer.”
“We need user interfaces that are clear and easy-to-use.”
“We need situational awareness capability”
Mobile phones have created a digital-savvy generation that understands how to make the best use of voice and data. Yet military communication equipment seems to have been left behind. The equipment was most likely designed decades ago and with a long operational lifetime.
There is a strong desire for modern digital communication services to support operations that are becoming more complex over time.
“RapidM’s RA terminals host a suite of applications.”
“RapidM’s RA products contain a GPS/GLONASS positioning module.”
RapidM’s RA range of terminals are designed to provide an integrated suite of voice and data applications that behave in a mobile phone-like manner.
Achieving the integration of voice and data services often poses a challenge for systems integrators. The RA equipment and associated PC applications allow users to easily and seamlessly use both voice and data services in the same network and on the same channel.
Situational awareness provides officers with the information they need to make the right decisions and to take swift action.
DEPLOYMENT OF RA PRODUCTS IN THE GOVERNMENTAL SECTOR
The various deployment levels within a communications network impose varying size, weight, mounting and capability requirements on communications equipment. It is often also the case that radio transceivers from different vendors are used at different deployment levels within a network, thereby preventing interoperability when using the transceivers’ built-in digital capabilities.
“We need to track our assets reliably.”
“We are procuring new vehicle radios and need these radios to communicate securely with our existing base-station radio.”
The RA family offers a range of interoperable products that are optimised for different deployment scenarios.
|RA7||TrackPoint + RA3||RA5||RA3||RA2||RA1|
|Rack-mount||Base Station, Vehicle||Base Station, Vehicle, Man-Pack||Vehicle||Mobile||Wearable|
“RapidM’s RA products are designed for various deployment scenarios”
EASE OF CONFIGURATION OF THE RA FAMILY
“What are the processes to configure the nodes in our radio network?”
“How can we change the encryption keys?”
RA products are easily configurable, both for cryptographic keys (Key Management Software – KMS) and system and network configuration (System Configuration Software – SCS). The configuration is created in a trusted area, transported and loaded via a USB fill device.
The diagram above illustrates how the RA5 and RA7 can be configured by a USB fill device carrying the KMS and SCS-generated configuration. The RA1, RA2 and RA3 require the additional CLS software for configuration.
“RapidM’s RA equipment is easily configured and reconfigured.”
CONNECTION TO THE FIXED INFRASTRUCTURE
Customers often have the need for users in HF or V/UHF radio networks to communicate with users in networks using other infrastructures such as a LAN, the Internet or GSM.
“Will mobile users be able to send email to users on a LAN?”
“We need some way for radio users outside of GSM coverage to send messages to GSM cellular phones.”
The GatePoint software, together with RA modems and terminals, offers users the ability to route emails and GSM SMS messages efficiently and reliably over existing HF and V/UHF radio links. GatePoint is a Microsoft® Windows® application that interfaces between the radio network and the email and GSM networks (fixed infrastructure). GatePoint allows users in the radio network to exchange SMS messages and email messages with users in the GSM network and the local intranet or even the Internet.
“RapidM’s GatePoint Software allows the exchange of messages between radio networks and fixed infrastructures such as an Intranet, the Internet or GSM networks.”
RT VERSUS RA FAMILIES
“What are the differences between RT and the RA product families?”
The RT and RA families consist of similar devices and services but differ as follows:
• The RT family is designed for military users and have military grade encryption, ultra low-rate voice coders and require end-user certificates for export.
• The RA family is designed for commercial and governmental users that require high-grade security, low-rate voice coders and require end-country approval for export.
|Security||Military Grade security||AES-256, Key Phrase, 256 keys||✔|
|Government agency||AES-256, 99 keys||✔|
|Ultra-robust Digital Voice||TWELP: 300, 600, 1200, 2400bps||✔|
|Low-rate Digital Voice||MELPe or TWELP: 600, 1200, 2400bps||✔|
|Full – Green Colour||EUC & approval required||✔|
|Partial – Black Colour||End-country approval required||✔|
|RA Family||RT Family|
“RapidM’s RT equipment is designed for military users.”
“RapidM’s RA equipment is designed for commercial and governmental users.”
EXPORT CONTROL CONSIDERATIONS
“Do we need an End-User Certificate (EUC) to buy RA products?”
The RapidM RA equipment is designed for commercial use. The RA products are classified as dual-use items since they include capabilities captured by the Wassenaar Arrangement’s list of dual-use items. Dual-use items are still export-controlled, however, fewer control actions are imposed and approval can be obtained faster compared to military RT items.
“RapidM’s RA equipment is designed for commercial use and classified as dual-use.”
RA PRODUCTS COMPLEMENTED BY EMBEDDED TC PRODUCTS
Many agencies see value in extending their equipment inventory by adding radios with secure digital capabilities, especially if the existing inventory can be retrofitted to interoperate with the new radios.
“We need new transceivers with digital encryption. How can we use the new radios in the same network as our existing radios?”
The RA family system can work directly with new transceivers that make use of embedded RapidM TC modules. This offers radio manufacturers a suite of ancillary devices and software to complement their modern radio offering.
The diagram above shows how a CommandPoint terminal can be connected to a radio with an embedded RapidM modem module. Connections are typically via Ethernet.
New radio designs that incorporate RapidM TC modules are supported by the RA family of products that provide the same capabilities to existing radios in the customer’s inventory.
“RapidM’s RA products can potentially interoperate with radios that use RapidM TC modules.”
RA DIGITAL VOICE AND DATA MODEM PERFORMANCE
“Voice is still our most important part of communications.”
“Our existing data modem and digital voice only works when the channel is good.”
“When conditions are difficult, we have to fall back to unencrypted analogue voice.”
RA devices incorporate RapidM’s leading-edge modem technology based on enhanced modern standards. This provides robust and reliable beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications even deep into the noise, meaning connectivity when it matters most.
RA equipment uses a very high-performance RapidM proprietary digital voice modem design. The HF-2 Digital Voice Modem is specially designed and optimised for secure digital voice, significantly outperforming solutions using existing standardised modem waveforms. When HF-2 is combined with the TWELP low data rate Vocoders, the result is extended range and better voice quality.
The diagram above provides performance specifications for the RA family products in terms of over-the-air noise performance. It charts throughput (vertical axis, measured in bits per second) versus channel noise (horizontal axis, measured in signal-to-noise ratio). Noteworthy is that the RA devices provide data and secure voice connectivity even in negative signal-to-noise environments. The blue area represents the ARQ data performance and the orange lines the individual voice waveform performances.
“RapidM’s RA equipment provides Secure Digital Voice (SDV) for HF radio that outperforms other solutions in the market.”
“RapidM’s RA equipment provides unsurpassed range and performance for digital radio services.”
RA DATA MODEM TECHNOLOGY
“Will the modem work in difficult HF BLOS channels?”
Most RA products contain the RapidM TC2 modem module or a variant thereof. Both digital voice and data operation benefits from RapidM’s superior technology and experience in HF modem design. The modem features adaptive equalisation and can deal with in-band distortion and interference, resulting in extended range and increased throughput.
The embedded software running on the TC2 is a derivative of a modern packet modem function. The Secure Digital Voice (SDV) capability in the TC2 is provided by RapidM’s proprietary voice modem. The voice signal is digitised with using a low-rate Vocoder. Data and digitised voice information is passed through the AES-256 encryption algorithm. The modem converts digital data and voice information into an analogue signal that is transmitted and received via the radio’s audio interface. The digital voice and encryption functions are provided in the RapidM EF-256 Software.
“RapidM’s has superior technology and experience in HF modem design.”
SERVICES OFFERED BY RA PRODUCTS
“How can we get voice, data and position services to work together?”
The RA family products provide the following services:
• Voice Communications Security: The RA family uses digital encryption, low-rate Vocoders and dedicated digital voice waveforms.
• Position Information: The RA family can securely receive, send, and request blue force and neutral positions.
• Messaging: The RA family provides secure chat, form templates, email and quick codes, both for point-to-point or broadcast links.
These services combine to provide a powerful communications solution in the remote work field domain.
“RapidM’s RA equipment combine voice, data and position services in an efficient manner.”
SYSTEMS PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
The RapidM RA system is very adaptable and offers a large range of integration and mounting options to cater for varying deployment scenarios and requirements. The system is also designed to be used with radios form many different radio vendors.
“What are all the components required for a complete system?”
“How can we make sure that the solution will function as expected?”
RapidM has a network of highly skilled value-added resellers (VARs) selling the RA product range around the world. The RapidM VARs are experienced as system integrators and poses a wealth of product knowledge.
Engineers from the RapidM head office are also available to assist you with system planning and verification of your solution. We recommend that you consult a RapidM representative regarding the solution you envisage.
“RapidM and our network of value-added resellers can assist with system planning.”
SYSTEMS INTEGRATION ASSISTANCE
“Will the RA system work in our existing system?”
Communication systems are often multi-faceted and may span across various different types of networks and protocols. Often RA systems need to form part of a larger system and is required to interface with adjacent equipment and protocols. RapidM provides engineering assistance to meet these integration requirements.
The RapidM EntryPoint Software provides an OSI Layer 7 Application Program Interface (API) to allow third-party system integrators to transport data through the RA network. A comprehensive Interface Control Document (IDC) describes this interface and sample software is available to assist system integrators to get going quickly and easily.
“RapidM EntryPoint API Software provides systems integrators access to the RA communications stack.”
AVAILABILITY OF RA DEMO SYSTEMS
“How can I test and evaluate the RapidM RA system?”
RapidM provides an easy and affordable way to test and evaluate the RA system. See the following page for information on the demonstration package: https://www.rapidm.com/product/rt-sdv-demo-package/
“RapidM offers convenient demonstration packages.”
RAPIDM REPRESENTATION AT GLOBAL EVENTS
“How can we meet with you and see your range of products in person?”
In addition to our product range being presented on the RapidM company website, RapidM regularly exhibits at security exhibitions around the world. Contact RapidM for specific information on upcoming events.
“RapidM regularly exhibits at security exhibitions around the world.”
IN-COUNTRY FIELD EVALUATION OF RA PRODUCTS
“We want to do a field evaluation before deciding on the equipment.”
There are RapidM value-added resellers (VARs) located in many countries around the world. The VARs are equipped with demonstration equipment, marketing material and technical documentation. A RapidM VAR can assist you in making field evaluations and demonstrations.
By arrangement, representatives from the RapidM head office can be made available to assist on-site during evaluations.
“RapidM can assist you during field evaluations.”
ASSISTANCE WITH RADIO INTEGRATION OF RA PRODUCTS
The RA system provides built-in support for interfacing with many different radios. This includes profiles to support specific radios as well as interface cabling for these radios.
“Will the RA system work with my radios?”
If your radio is not already supported by the RA system, RapidM engineers can assist with the integration process.
“RapidM has vast experience in interfacing with many different radios from a wide range of manufacturers, from military to commercial radios.”
“How long will the RA equipment be supported?”
RapidM RA systems have been in deployment for many years. The minimum support lifetime for RA products is 10 years, and this can be extended as per customer requirements. RA equipment also carries a minimum product warranty of 24 months.
“RapidM’s RA system offers 10 years and longer product life.”
RA LANGUAGE SUPPORT
“Can the equipment be used in our local language?”
RA devices are engineered to be able to support different languages, be it via voice prompts or through actual keyboard and user interface text changes. Contact RapidM for enquiries around specific language support.
“The RA system supports multiple languages.”
“RapidM’s RA equipment can be adapted to other languages on request.”
ON-SITE AND OFF-SITE TRAINING BY RAPIDM
“We need training on how to use the system.”
Drawing on years of experience and using the comprehensive RA system documentation, RapidM is able to provide training to end-users, resellers and system integrators on the functioning and use of the RA family products. Training can happen at the RapidM premises in Pretoria, South Africa or at the preferred in-country location.