Motorola APX NEXT XN P25 Smart Radio: Toughest Radio Ever Built

The APX NEXT XN P25 meets the NFPA 1802 standard to enhance firefighter and first responder safety.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) plays a crucial role in developing standards that ensure the safety of firefighters. One of these is the NFPA 1802 standard, which focuses on the design and performance requirements for two-way radios used by fire service personnel, a key piece of safety equipment for firefighters and the people they serve. 

Tragically, NFPA 1802 was prompted in part by the death of two San Francisco Fire Department firefighters, who perished in a residential fire. A post-fire investigation uncovered that both firefighters’ remote speaker microphones (RSMs) failed because of extreme heat, and as a result, they were unable to call for help when they became trapped. 

Because communications are one of the five most frequent contributing factors in National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports, there were calls for a new standard to define radios for use in extreme conditions such as fighting fires. 


NFPA 1802 Standard: Creation and Objectives

The NFPA 1802 standard ensures that two-way radios used by firefighters are reliable, durable under duress such as extreme heat, and provide critical features needed to enhance firefighter safety and situational awareness.

The standard emphasizes several key objectives, including:

  • Enhanced Audio Performance: NFPA 1802 sets requirements for audio clarity, loudness, and noise suppression to ensure effective communication in high-noise environments.
  • Durability and Environmental Resistance: Firefighters operate in extreme conditions, so radios must be rugged enough to withstand heat, water, impact, and other environmental factors.
  • Ergonomics and Ease of Use: Firefighters need radios that are easy to operate, even while wearing protective gear. NFPA 1802 addresses features such as control placement, button size, and tactile feedback.
  • Battery Performance and Life: The standard mandates that radios have sufficient battery life and power management capabilities to support long-duration missions.


Motorola APX NEXT XN P25 Smart Radio

In answer to the NFPA 1802 call, Motorola took these standards to their engineers and spent countless hours designing and testing a radio that was worthy of these standards. The Motorola APX NEXT XN P25 Smart Radio is the toughest they have ever build, and they can prove it through their rigorous testing process, combining the reliability of Project 25 (P25) mission-critical interoperable digital two-way radio communications products with advanced features and smart capabilities.

Key features include:

  • Cloud-Based Data Connectivity: The radio leverages cloud services to provide enhanced data connectivity and real-time information sharing between firefighters and command centers.
  • Voice Control and Automation: APX NEXT XN integrates voice control technology, allowing firefighters to operate the radio hands-free, reducing distractions and enabling better focus on critical tasks.
  • Enhanced Audio Quality: The radio features dual-microphone noise suppression technology, ensuring clear audio communication in high-noise environments, improving intelligibility and situational awareness.
  • Intelligent Sensors: The radio is equipped with multiple sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and environmental sensors, providing valuable data to help monitor firefighters’ well-being and detect potential hazards.
  • Enhanced Battery Management: The APX NEXT XN incorporates advanced battery management features to extend battery life, providing firefighters with reliable communication throughout their shifts. 
Compliance with NFPA 1802 Standard

Rigorous design and testing is required to ensure equipment meets those standards. Design specifications focus on hardware performance in areas such as extreme heat, immersion, drop/impact, battery life, and remote speaker mic connections. 

Some of the hardware testing points include: 

  • Heat and flame: Resists direct flames and 500*F for 5 minutes
  • Temperature resistance: Operates after extreme temperature swings
  • Impact:  three devices (exposed to 72*F, -4*F, and 160*F) are dropped 10ft 8x onto concrete to impact each face, one corner, and one edge, and then tested for speech quality and data logging
  • Corrosion: salt spray the devices for 48 hours, then store devices in 50% humidity for 48 hours, then tested for speech quality
  • Display surface abrasion: abrasive pad rubbed on display with 2.2lb load for 200 cycles
  • Water drainage: water is introduced into all openings, indentations, and grills until water overflows. Speech and data logging is tested
  • Vibration resistance: devices placed in package tester compartments and vibrated for 4 hours, then tested for speed quality and data logging


Additional functions/features to address standards include: 

  • Exaggerated knobs and buttons and “t-grip” for gloved operation 
  • A loud audio mode for “Hazard Zone,” multiple mics and higher-power speakers to make sure operators are heard, even in high noise 
  • Voice control of radio operations, such as switching channel & zone, adjusting volume, and more
  • Audible/visual alerts clearly communicate radio status, including strobe light on optional XVN 500 speaker mic

The NFPA 1802 standard plays a vital role in ensuring that firefighters have reliable communication tools that enhance their safety and situational awareness, and Motorola has gone above and beyond to address these issues. The APX NEXT XN P25 Smart Radio sets a new standard for firefighter communication, incorporating advanced features and technologies while complying with the NFPA 1802 requirements. By combining ruggedness, enhanced audio performance, intelligent sensors, and cloud connectivity, this radio provides firefighters with a powerful tool to improve their operational effectiveness and overall safety during emergency operations.

At Day Wireless Systems, we champion public safety and interoperability. As leaders in the industry, and as a Motorola Platinum Channel Partner with more than 30 service centers throughout the Western US, with the ability to ship and support equipment just about anywhere, we’re happy to help your first responders safely meet their objectives. Contact us to learn more. 

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