Practel is involved in the research of Public Safety Communications (PSC) for a number of years; and published several related reports. This particular report addresses in details one of the major changes in PSC: introduction of LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology to support critical communications tasks; until recently, such support was exclusively P25 and TETRA and some other LMRs (Land Mobile Radios) systems prerogative. It also concentrates on efforts to build a LTE-based broadband nationwide PSC networks in U.S. (the FirstNet) and in England.
The report provides up-to-date information on the nationwide PSC LTE-based networks development, on recent 3GPP releases that affect PSC and on industry consolidated efforts to support coexistence of LTE and LMR (both P25 and TETRA) as PSC are preparing to enter the 5G era. Marketing aspects are also detailed.
5G wireless access - in contrast to earlier generations - should not be seen as a specific radio access technology. It is, rather, the overall wireless-access solution addressing the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020. LTE, which was born as a 4G technology, will continue to develop in a backwards-compatible approach and will be an important part of the 5G solution for frequency bands below 6 GHz. In parallel, new radio access technologies will emerge, at least initially targeting new spectrum. As such, LTE will play an important role in advancing Public Safety Communications.
This report is about current and future technological and marketing trends in PSC. Particular, it addresses the following items:
-Introduction of PSC based on the LTE technology and its evolution. LTE marketing and technological analysis is performed, emphasizing applicability of this technology for PSC. The survey of LTE vendors is conducted.
-The U.S. first nationwide PSC LTE-based network – FirstNet- launch and current developmental status are presented. Technical details, structure and governing of FirstNet are also addressed.
-The current status of the P25 technology and markets are discussed. The survey of P25 vendors’ portfolios is presented. Current trends in this industry development are emphasized.
- The current status of the TETRA technology and markets are discussed. The survey of TETRA vendors’ portfolios is presented. Current trends in this industry development are emphasized.
- PSC LTE-related activities in Europe are addressed. Construction of the PSC LTE nationwide network in England is discussed.
- Specifics of PSC with co-existence of conventional P25 and TETRA technologies and LTE technology are discussed. Marketing aspects of PSC utilizing LTE are addressed.
Altogether, the report objective was to discuss the aspects of PSC future. At the present time, P25 and TETRA dominate PSC. Already in 2012, PSC LTE-based private systems have been introduced. Such systems benefits include high speed of transmission and economics of scales of commercially available equipment, among others.
At the same time, LTE systems, currently, cannot fulfil all requirements of PSC users. The report is discussing such limitations; 3GPP standards that supposed to address some of these issues will not be ready until 2019-2020. The report emphasizes that in foreseeable future LTE and P25/TETRA technologies will, probably, co-exist in PSC.
The report is written for a large audience of technical and managerial staff involved in the design and implementation of PSC networks as well as for users such networks.