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Management and operational communications systems

Polycom: Switzerland’s secure radio network

Polycom is the nation-wide secure radio network of the rescue and security authorities and organisations (BORS). It enables radio contact within and between the various organisations Border Guard, police, fire service, ambulance, civil protection organisation and supportive military units. Today, all BORS of the Confederation, cantons and communes are able to transmit both voice and data messages through a uniform infrastructure. The secure network was established step-by-step with modular networks under the direction of the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP). The FOCP’s training centre in Schwarzenburg offers courses necessary for operating the network and training the end-users.

Value retention of Polycom until 2030

Das FOCP regards it as its duty to sustainedly manage the existing communications infrastructure that is used by about 55,000 users daily. A large portion of the components used in the Polycom system has been in operation for more than ten years and has to be renewed due to technological developments. Therefore, the FOCP initiated the Polycom 2030 project to ensure its operation until 2030 and to provide for sustained value of the entire system. With the conversion of Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) to IP technology its function can be sustained until 2030 at least. After this step, the Polycom system will be based on the secure integrated data network (SDVN).

Polycom training centre

The FOCP’s training centre in Schwarzenburg runs a series of courses that train end users how to configure and operate the Polycom network. The modular design of these training courses means that they can be tailored to the participants' specific needs.

Secure integrated data system (SDVS)

The secure integrated data network (SDVN) is the foundation of the secure integrated data system. The SDVN is designed to provide a broadband link between some 120 user sites in the cantons, Federation and critical infrastructure operators. The SDVN is based on the Federal authorities’ optical network (OBNB) which is an integral part of the Federal networks strategy.

The SDVN is designed to assure broadband data exchange between the partners responsible for protecting the population, especially in a disaster or emergency situation. Federal and cantonal management entities and security authorities are connected up, together with command organisations such as the cantonal police forces’ operational centres as well as the army and critical infrastructure operators. An emergency power supply serving the entire network infrastructure is designed to guarantee operation for at least 14 days. Isolation from all other networks, such as the Internet, should significantly enhance protection against cyber attacks. The network is also designed to handle applications that are relevant to security in a normal situation.

Mobile broadband secure communications system (MSC)

The BORS, critical infrastructure operators and other civil protection organisations must be able to exchange huge volumes of mobile data at any time, even when existing mobile networks are overloaded or damaged, as can happen after a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Switzerland currently does not have a unified system in place which would guarantee around-the-clock mobile broadband secure communications for all federal, cantonal and third-party actors.

A mobile broadband secure communications system (MSC) should use the existing or planned infrastructures of public mobile operators and civil protection partner organisations. It should also feature crisis-proof and secure elements so that the Confederation, the cantons and third parties are able to send and receive mobile data at all times.

Pilot project 2020–2023

The FOCP will coordinate the pilot project on the creation and implementation of a nationwide MSC. Federal and cantonal agencies, particularly rescue and security organisations, will partner the project. Other participants will include a number of cantons and cities, as well as the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), the Federal Customs Administration (FCA), the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM, the Armed Forces Command Support Organisation (AFCSO) and the Armed Forces Operations Command.

The pilot, which is scheduled to run from 2020 to 2023, follows several rounds of consultation in 2019. These were led by the Federal BORS Telematics Commission (Kom Tm BORS) and involved all relevant organisations. This process identified and assessed the needs, potential synergies and available options in relation to the introduction of a nationwide MSC in Switzerland. The final report, which provides the basis for the pilot project, is available to order from the FOCP (, Subject: 'Ergebnisbericht Synergien MSK'). 

Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern


Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP

Guisanplatz 1B
CH-3003 Bern