Lte | 2013-03-19

Critical communications over LTE still years away, warns TCCA

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

Implementation of critical mobile communications services over LTE demands standardisation both from 3GPP and ETSI. The TCCA CCBG is contributing to..

Despite the ongoing roll-out of consumer LTE networks, LTE-based data services for mission critical communications will not be available until 2018 at the earliest, and acceptable quality voice services over LTE for mission critical users are not expected until at least 2020. These timescales have been published by the Critical Communications Broadband Group (CCBG), a Working Group of the Tetra + Critical Communications Association (TCCA).

Implementation of critical mobile communications services over LTE demands standardisation both from 3GPP and ETSI. The TCCA CCBG is contributing to these standardisation processes to ensure global consensus for critical mobile communications standards that fully meet users’ requirements while allowing a migration and interoperability strategy for existing technologies in different regions.

Tony Gray (pictured), chair of the CCBG, said: “As part of the TCCA, we have over 20 years’ experience in supporting the creation of mission critical communications standards, demonstrated by the global success of Tetra technology. As the world moves to LTE, it is essential that the communications industry operates in a coordinated and coherent way to bring to maturity standards relevant to public safety and other critical users. We are working to ensure that such requirements are incorporated into the LTE standards effectively.”

Phil Kidner, Chief executive officer of the TCCA, said: “Achieving industry synergy is crucial to ensure uninterrupted availability of mission critical communications services. LTE is currently designed for commercial use. There is no viable replacement on the horizon for the current technologies employed by critical communications users. The work of the CCBG will help to ensure that LTE standards develop to enable a broadband data-only bearer that will initially complement, but not replace, existing critical voice services.”

Key areas

There are currently four key areas to be addressed within the LTE standards to enable a suitable foundation for critical communications services. These are group communications system enablers for LTE (3GPP GCSE_LTE); proximity-based services (3GPP ProSe); public safety networks resiliency , and the push-to-talk (PTT) voice application standard over LTE and its evolution toward multimedia (voice, data, video, etc.) group communications.

The CCBG and its partner stakeholders around the world have achieved a significant breakthrough in having the first two of these accepted by 3GPP as Work Item Descriptions (WIDs) that will be incorporated into Release 12 of the 3GPP LTE standards specification, planned for publication at the end of 2014

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