This report updates information on the development of Public Safety Communications (PSC) and on recent standardization efforts to support integration of commercial and private communications to provide cost efficient and feature-rich networking for first responders.
Two major groups of standards – P25 and TETRA – mainly define specifics of PSC worldwide. These LMR standards are being in the development for at least twenty-two years and they supported and continue to support voice and relatively low-speed data that first responders’ communications required.
In the last several years, commercial cellular communications made a significant progress in enhancing performance and economic characteristics, such as the speed of transmission, reliability, ability to communicate with fast moving objects, the cost factor and other. 4G technologies (such as LTE and WiMAX) proved their attractiveness; and the industry, especially R&D, is looking for introduction 5G technologies in 3-4 years, though many elements of these technologies are already present.
The PSC community, which requires to enhance connectivity to support video and massive data files with high-speed reliable transmission as well as to improve other characteristics, such as network economics was investigating applicability of LTE for PSC; and this effort led to decision to adapt this commercial cellular technology that provides the economies of scales, for critical communications and to build PSC networks based on the LTE technology.
One such a network – the FirstNet – is envisioned as the U.S. nationwide first responders system, the only in the country. The FirstNet development is in the evolving stage; and its implementation has begun. Other countries are also experimenting with LTE network structures built specifically for PSC (in this report, we addressed such developments in England and other countries).
The report provides detailed technical and marketing analysis of P25/TETRA LMR together with the survey of industries. Then, it is concentrating on the specifics of LTE as a commercial technology that has to be adapted to carry PSC tasks; LTE technological and marketing specifics as well as the industry as they relate to the report subject are analyzed.
The 3GPP standardization work in this area is detailed. The report shows that the industry is developing LTE-PSC equipment, though the completed PSC-LTE standards are expected to arrive from the 3GPP only in 2019-2020.
The report also provides a detailed analysis of the current status of the FirstNet – the nationwide U.S. LTE-based PSC network. The technical specifics of the network as well as the structure of its governing are analyzed. The U.S. is not alone in adapting LTE for PSC – England and other countries are also involved in the construction LTE-PSC networks.
The report concludes that LMR and LTE-based PSC infrastructures will co-exist in the foreseeable future (5-8 years), complementing each other to provide high-speed data communications with narrowband voice, making communications more reliable and cost-effective. Looking further in time, it seems that LTE-PSC will prevail (though, dynamics of telecommunications may present even better future solutions).
The report is written for a wide audience of technical and managerial staff involved in the design and implementation of PSC networks as well as for users such networks.?
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