Sometimes we forget just how much mobile phones have improved the quality of life and everyday safety by allowing calls to be made anywhere, especially important calls in cases of emergency. Mobile networks have also increased public safety through accurate location services.
Police, paramedics and fire departments can respond faster and more accurately to help citizens, thanks to mobile technologies. Public safety authorities use private mobile networks when executing public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) missions. Currently, there are multiple technologies in use, including analog standards.
But the leading digital standards are better known: P25 in North America, Australia, Brazil, India, Russia and Singapore and TETRA in Europe (and other countries). Both TETRA and P25 support mission critical voice communication, however public safety users do not have mobile broadband capability in their P25 and TETRA mobile devices.
Exploring the potential : Mobile broadband has huge potential in PPDR. Imagine, for example, that fire fighters could access a database with schematics of buildings and locate other public safety users in real time with their 3D navigators. Simultaneously, control room officers could be receiving live video streams from cameras attached to fire fighters’ helmets as well as from drones flying above the scene.
Likewise, telemetry from ambulances to hospitals would allow medical staff to prepare the best treatment for patients in advance. These and many more use cases can be enabled by mission-critical mobile broadband connectivity, making LTE the obvious choice for future public safety networks.
Where are we now? : LTE is already a mature technology, providing high speed mobile services in almost 400 networks globally and can offer high-performance data connectivity for public safety. But there is still a need for further development in order to support the specific requirements of PPDR.
Networks must support frequency bands allocated or used for public safety services and wide geographical coverage is mandatory. In cases where cells have been disabled ? for example due to a natural disaster or emergency ? and services are needed outside existing coverage area, rapidly deployable cells are critical and networks should be able support them.
Service accessibility and quality must be guaranteed, particularly when the network is shared with consumers. In this case, network services have to be prioritized for public safety users during PPDR missions. Networks must support services such as mission-critical group communication as well as direct device-to-device communication. In general, public safety networks have higher resilience and security requirements than in typical commercial networks.
Nokia’s end-to-end solution in a nutshell : Already today, Nokia can deliver end-to-end LTE network solutions for Public Safety based on existing LTE products and services and complemented by partner solutions. Nokia’s offering comprises LTE radio, evolved packet core and communication core, subscriber data management, mobile transport, network management and SON. Nokia’s end-to-end solution will be enhanced in the future with 3GPP public safety features from releases 12 and 13.
Who will be first? : Public Safety agencies and governments around the world are starting to plan and budget for these next-generation networks. Many countries have started preparations for evolving public safety networks to LTE, with ongoing activities in the US, UK, Korea and New Zealand, for example. Public Safety users are about to see a huge period of innovation ? and Nokia will support them all the way.
See our new white paper : LTE Networks for Public Safety Services for a more in-depth explanation on how the technology is evolving, standardization activities in 3GPP and how selected public safety requirements affect LTE networks.