BYOC: resilient coverage anywhere for first responders


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Until recently, LTE has been used as a supplementary mobile broadband technology in the public safety sector to provide non-mission critical bandwidth for data applications unable to be delivered over existing narrowband LMR, P25 or Tetra systems.

However, with the standardisation of capabilities such as MCPTT (Mission-Critical PTT) by the 3GPP, LTE is well on its way to providing a single, pan-agency communications platform for the delivery of multiple mission-critical services ranging from PTT group communications, real-time video surveillance and sensor IoT networks.

UK mobile network operator EE (BT) is moving rapidly with its Public Safety transformation project to migrate all UK emergency services from narrow band to a standards-based LTE public safety solution across the UK.

Parallel Wireless, a US-based company just named as the best performing vendor by Vodafone at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) Summit 2018 in London, had designed a Public Safety LTE 3GPP-compliant solution that integrates with P25 and Tetra systems to provide seamless transition between narrowband and LTE sub-systems.

This solution provides a unified, resilient LTE network across police, fire and ambulance in tactical operations, in emergencies and during natural disasters — all at much lower cost. The technology can be deployed in various tactical and multi-cast environments from police station/military base, to deployable/man portable in ad hoc scenarios. The solution delivers reliable coverage across urban and rural areas, local organisational control, and resilience with self-healing features and flexible backhaul capabilities, including backhaul mesh or LTE backhaul to commercial or dedicated Public Safety LTE networks. It provides secure LTE communications consisting of voice, high throughput video, data, Push-to-Talk, MMS, and/or SMS for multiple users in daily operations or in emergency/tactical operations.

The United Kingdom Home Office is driving the UK Emergency Services Network (ESN) that will use British mobile operator EE’s (BT’s) commercial LTE RAN and a dedicated mobile core to eventually replace the country’s existing nationwide TETRA system. As the demands of public safety wireless network call for coverage everywhere, Parallel Wireless built an in-vehicle LTE solution to eliminate these coverage gaps by providing the unique systems capability of Bring Your Own Coverage (BYOC).

BYOC use cases presented by BT at 21st GTI Workshop, Barcelona on 22nd Feb 2018.

BYOC enables emergency responders to have reliable voice and data communication within indoor locations such as multi-level car parks or outdoor spaces such as valleys where geographical limitations exist such as terrain, building construction, power outage, remoteness, etc. or where crowd density might otherwise prevent a good wireless experience.

The in-vehicle LTE base station allows Public Safety personnel to use standard or ruggedized commodity handsets within a 1000+ meter radius to get reliable coverage to receive high quality voice, data, and multi-media based on per user policy.

Additional vehicles can arrive and leave the operational area and the BYOC LTE cells will mesh together, extending the coverage area with full self-organizing network capability. The vehicles can cluster or daisy chain into tunnels or valleys extending the coverage into those areas. Hand-offs to and from in-vehicle cells to available macro cell coverage is seamless and secure.

The in-vehicle system from Parallel Wireless that was used in this first operational testing is lightweight so first responders can bring coverage with them wherever they go (can easily fit in a backpack or a trunk of a car). This allows them to fill coverage holes or tactical areas where there is no existing commercial network infrastructure available.

These in-vehicle nodes are also self-configured by software from Parallel Wireless, so installation is easy and almost instant. This saves precious time in emergency response. Not only is the installation made simpler, but ongoing network maintenance and optimization is also improved as the Parallel Wireless solution provides self-healing and self-optimization. As a result, public safety networks experience best performance without any human intervention to provide network resilience to allow first responders to save lives and do their jobs.

BT presenting on its EE project and use of Parallel Wireless solutions at Mission Critical Africa, 2018.

To learn more about the Parallel Wireless Public Safety LTE commercially available solution that has been also selected by US government organizations including FirstNet early adopters and has been tested and deployed in over 25 global military, police, and fire organizations, please visit: https://www.parallelwireless.com/products/public-safety-lte/

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