officer with firstnet tablet (FirstNetGov)

NIST approves 17 FirstNet devices

The first list of devices approved for use on the FirstNet network are now available for purchase through the FirstNet AT&T portal.

The 2012 law that created FirstNet requires that the National Institute of Standards and Technology review devices for compliance with the public safety broadband network's specific protocols and standards.

FirstNet contracted with AT&T to build out the nation’s first wireless network dedicated for use by the first responder and public-safety community.

The devices -- three models of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones; seven Apple iPhone models and two iPads; NetGear’s MR1100-330 hotspot; and Sonim’s XP8 and CP5s rugged handhelds -- are the first to get the green light from the FirstNet Device Approval Program.

Some of the devices will work on the FirstNet Evolved Packet Core with the installation of a FirstNet SIM card, according to AT&T's FirstNet website.  Other devices may also require a simple software update.

The list will be maintained as a spreadsheet with three tabs: the cover page, an Active List and an Expired List. Products on the Active List are certified for use, while any on the Expired List are no longer certified. The steps to add a device to the NIST list of certified devices start with earning an ID from the Federal Communications Commission. Next, the device must be certified by PTCRB, a forum that tests mobile devices, and approved by AT&T to be sold for use on the network. Once a device is on the list, it’s available for purchase through the FirstNet AT&T portal and other means.

“In our ongoing interactions with the public-safety community, we’ve repeatedly heard from first responders at all levels about their need for a wide variety of user devices: commercial, ruggedized, and functional devices to support their respective lifesaving missions,” Joe Martinet, FirstNet’s director of devices, wrote in an April 11 blog post announcing the list. “Now that we are in the deployment phase of the network, our audit and verification role is vital to ensuring that the devices meet the needs of public safety. By providing validation and oversight, we are ensuring that FirstNet works for public safety.”

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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