Critical-control-rooms | 2022-02-07

FREQUENTIS Emergency Services Network Gateway Certified for Use

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Network Approval Testing Service successfully certifies ESN Gateway.

As part of the transition from the TETRA based emergency services radio network, Airwave, in Great Britain, to the new wireless broadband LTE Emergency Services Network (ESN), Frequentis must provide all of its customers with an ESN Gateway for mission critical services - MCX. This will ensure that control room operators have access to a fully approved and easy to use interface into ESN when Airwave is discontinued and during the transition. The certification of the Gateway is being supported by Frequentis partner Nemergent.

Frequentis is working directly with the UK Home Office on the transition to ESN and the development of the gateway, which will connect the Frequentis multimedia communications platform 3020 LifeX to the new ESN. LifeX is already in use for a number of emergency services operators in the UK and it is critical they are able to interface with the new communications network.

“Adapting LifeX to ensure compatibility with ESN will guarantee first responders have immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline, further supporting them in their challenging role,” says Andy Madge, Managing Director Frequentis UK. “ESN will transmit fast, safe and secure voice, video and data across the 4G network. Working directly with the UK Home Office on this transition plan and delivery has been key to the smooth running of the project and this successful certification.”

LifeX has been designed to allow emergency services operators to maximise the benefits of multimedia communications, and when next generation 999 (NG999) becomes a standard it will also allow members of the public to share images and videos of incidents that can be analysed in real-time.
Previous testing in 2020 included group call, private call (in/out), ambient listening, status messages, emergency calls, text messages and broadcast. With Network Approval Testing Service certification for the ESN Beta feature set having now been completed at the end of December 2021, the next stage will be to install and test the gateway within the Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) – a Frequentis reference customer, working closely with the Home Office.

Additional functionality to support interworking between existing Airwave and ESN, allowing both networks to be used in parallel, will provide Frequentis customers a smooth transition to the ESN network.