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Integrated Wireless Networks

April 2004 Section Meeting

When: Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Dr. Kenneth A. Ballard, Project Manager, CTA Communications, Inc., Lynchburg, VA. Click here for his biographical information.


The U.S. Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Homeland Security Department operate a wide variety of communications systems for their Law Enforcement components and bureaus. These aging legacy systems have been plagued with problems in recent years. The legacy systems are characterized by channel crowding and congestion, lack of capacity, inadequate radio coverage, obsolete equipment and limited capability for interoperability. These major deficiencies, plus a number of other operational and technical concerns such as interference and reliability, currently inhibit federal law enforcement personnel from operating at full capacity and efficiency. The NTIA narrowband mandate, which restructures both the VHF and UHF bands by 2005 and 2008, respectively, is driving the departments to replace and upgrade systems. And finally, the events of 9/11/01 have put a spotlight on the Government's ability to protect the U.S. borders, and wireless communications is a major factor here.

The presentation will provide an overview of plans for the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN), as the federal government moves towards a major upgrade of its wireless communications systems. CTA Communications has been the engineering firm at the forefront of this design, and is assisting the Joint Program Office (JPO) in the initial implementation and testing of a Beta System in western Washington state, planned for completion later this year. CTA has recommended that DOJ, the Treasury and HSD combine their resources to replace conventional legacy radio equipment with a modern P.25 trunked radio system. The envisioned network would consolidate all law enforcement operations onto a joint radio system that would eventually encompass the entire nation, providing sufficient capacity for current and future operations through 2018.

Biographical Information:

Dr. Ballard has 25 years of engineering experience with two-way radio communications systems, RF propagation, antenna design, and aerospace electronics. His career has included early experiences with both the Electronic Warfare Lab and the Atmospheric Sciences Lab at White Sands Missile Range, graduate study in the Radiophysics Lab at the Thayer School of Engineering while at Dartmouth, as well as leadership roles with GE Aerospace and Ericsson Private Radio Systems division.
Dr. Ballard was born & raised in El Paso, Texas. He received his B.S. in Physics from UTEP (1973), his M.S. in Engineering Science from Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College (1976), and his Ph.D. in Engineering Science from Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College (1981). His graduate work primarily dealt with radio wave propagation, E&M fields, communications, etc. His Master's and Doctoral thesis focused on traveling ionospheric disturbances.

Dr. Ballard was the "Lead Wireless Architect" for the Integrated Wireless Network design project with DOJ, and is now the Project Manager for CTA in the Beta system development & implementation phase.

For more details about CTA Communications, please visit their web site,


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