Secure Option for Nationwide and Local POCSAG Paging
Nationwide paging services have been around for literally decades. What may be surprising is that the service is still relied on by emergency services in many countries – due to the low cost of setup and reliability of delivery. However, there is one main issue that fails with regard to paging - security. Anyone with a paging receiver, and having spent five minutes on YouTube will be able to read in full every message flying by on any network.
WTE Limited have recently addressed security requirements for their range of TReX-460 telemetry messaging transmitters. Radio links are now protected with 256-bit AES encryption - only users with the same shared key can decode messages. This has also been applied to POCSAG paging messaging. Encrypted messages can be provided to a POCSAG paging service, and only WTE TReX receivers can process those messages. There is no need to update any existing POCSAG paging infrastructure - any brand of POCSAG transmitter can be used. Existing POCSAG transmitters are provided with "pre-formed" encrypted messages generated by WTE TReX units.
What does this mean for current users of nationwide paging services? Without needing costly upgrading of infrastructure, Fire Services, Ambulance, healthcare and others can send encrypted messages to the rural areas unseen, for retransmission or viewing only where required. New secure applications can now be realized, at a very low cost to deploy around the country. Since the paging service is used for controlling equipment as well as sending messages, an obvious needed application is regional tsunami siren control. With complete security, low cost receivers can be used to enable sirens in most locations around the country – the infrastructure is already here, in use and well proven. With a modern security update like this, POCSAG paging may have no reason to retire for a while yet.