For mission critical users, especially public safety, first and foremost is the consistent reliability of their system, then the versatility of data. Nowadays the only way to achieve that is to bring different technologies together and make them complement each other. PMR and LTE will do their share of jobs respectively and together in next-gen mission critical communications.
PMR and LTE are taking important part in next-gen mission critical communications in public safety
PMR, no matter P25, PDT or TETRA communication system. It is still the first choice and the last resort for reliable communications, especially voice calls, in extreme scenarios. There is no better alternative yet. Here mission critical LTE works to augment, instead of replacing PMR, before there is viable LTE D2D solution.
Public MNO LTE’s mission critical solution, as well as dedicated private MC LTE, has already played an important part in bringing multimedia data from the frontline to the office and push multimedia the other way around. LTE’s role will be increasingly more important in this aspect. LTE makes it possible to share situational awareness across the team of first responders.
The next-gen mission critical communications: convergence
Hytera sees that there are three fundamental attributes of next-gen MCC. First, the network is heterogeneous. Different agencies have different missions and priorities; their personnel have different skillsets and knowhow; they have systems of different protocols in place, covering different territories; and they are most likely not in the same phases of technology adoption.
So A huge and technologically homogenous network cannot meet the request of such a diversity of user bases. Neither a pure PMR network, nor a LTE broadband network, can by itself fulfil customer requirements. Technologies augment each other. Users can get the best out of each technology for the best user experience.
Second, network is hybrid but the services should be convergent. Users should not be distracted by the gap of working between different technologies, systems and interfaces. All kinds of data from different sources and sub-systems finally is gathered and managed properly in a convergent platform, which provides services of informing, visualizing, managing, recording and predicting.
Third, open standard. It is the key logic and fundamental for broadband communication. Proprietary solution shouldn’t be a viable option for mission critical users. But like the evolving standard of MCPTT, it will be still a long run with great effort from the industry stakeholders.
Hytera’s convergent solution features both platform and device convergence
The best approach for MC network will be PMR network for reliable voice, carrier-based broadband for mobile policing and MCPTT, and the dedicated LTE for key areas. It’s like a network of networks. Hytera’s convergent solution features both platform and device convergence.
Data from different networks can be accessed and managed. They are packed in one unified API for services such as voice, video and GPS. So the upper level application in the eco system can easily access all data from the unified API. Hytera has a unified security policy and domain to ensure data security, network security and communication security.
Users might need to use all types of devices for their specific business. First of all, they need to manage all of them in the same platform with unified policy and signature, no matter they are radios or cellphones or sensors or wearables. Hytera’s convergent solution offers one set of ID scheme and fleet maps for unified mission. And for some scenarios, devices of different physical forms need to be converted into same device, and can be used for communicate, data collection, dispatching, etc. Hytera has a versatile portfolio of multimode or multipurpose devices, e.g., PMR<E dual mode radios, PTT capable bodycam.
Hytera’s practice of major MCC LTE deployment
Technology advancement gives the first responders real-time mobile data access and capability of remote briefing and reporting. It becomes less necessary for them to be tied to a base location. Our experience in delivering control rooms shows two obvious trends. First, decision making is going closer to the frontline. In terms of information flow, the agents in the field are the source of “uplink” to the control room and, simultaneously, the “downlink” destination from the control room. To make sure the two-way exchange of information enables a well-informed decision-making process on both ends, the onsite system, especially the portable devices, must have the capacity of connecting to different networks and leverage the data and intelligence processing power on the cloud or at the control center. portable multi-mode radios are originated from such user requirements.
Second, the commanding post goes more distributed. While there has been consensus that C4/5 centers are paramount for safe city initiatives, there is a growing demand for control rooms at levels closer to the communities. Less centralized command and control unit translates into less technical complexity and swifter response to panic calls from citizens.
Hytera also supports the vertical industries and end users with convergent solution
When talk about private LTE broadband systems for verticals, mining is usually on top of the list.For mining companies, private LTE means an opportunity to have higher productivity and efficiency. Hytera’s Convergent Critical Communications (CCC) for mining is more than a simple gateway linking private LTE with heterogeneous systems such as LMR and others. Instead it uses a lower level connection between the two or more systems involving three main layers. First, for voice calling it uses Mission Critical Service (MCS) for the LTE and connects to the LMR system via a special interface with mission critical level of QoS, latency and trunking functions.
Second, the CCC solution also provides convergent network management, so one tool manages both the LTE and the LMR side. The third level of convergence is the team communication devices. The CCC supports pure LTE and (if converged) LMR devices, along with hybrid LTE/LMR terminals. But given the harsh environments typical of the mining industry it is advisable to deploy ruggedized terminals rather than consumer grade products.
The CCC supports all mission- and business-critical applications on a converged heterogeneous network. These applications include PTT and PTX, HD video streaming, low-latency edge computing for remote and automated operations, and support for low-power sensor networks and telemetry applications using NB-IoT or LTE-M devices. Team communication and M2M communication operate independently, while all kinds of data generated in different subsystems are accessible via different levels in a unified interface. Silos of information and data are broken; data rich analytics empower optimal mining operations.
It is always complicated and challenging to have a successful deployment of state or nationwide system, and it goes beyond technologies. While different governments or departments have their own priorities or important factors to consider, here are some common ones.
Spectrum Availability: Governments and public safety agencies have to evaluate the trade-off in their policies to create private networks or allocate some dedicated licensed frequency bands for the use of public safety users. However, in multiple case there are availability limitations, or the process is too costly.
Technical Limitations: The low output power available to handheld LTE devices creates a barrier for useful applications of the standardized 3GPP proximity services. Direct mode remains a fundamental requirement, so industry and government will need to develop alternatives that work. The absence of a proven LTE Pro-Se mechanism means national public safety operators cannot shift all users to LTE broadband systems.
Operational complexity: Critical ICT system is getting more complex than ever before. It will be very hard for the customer to deploy and manage the whole thing on their own. They need support from professional agencies. So business mode of solution-as-a-service or managed service is something to think about.