While LMR systems have effectively support mission-critical voice and low-bandwidth data applications for many years, they fail to provide the high-speed data performance necessary to support the multimedia applications on which today’s Public Safety agencies increasingly rely upon.
Mind Commerce projects Public Safety LTE subscriptions to reach more than 994,000 by year end 2014 in its report, Public Safety LTE: A Global Assessment of Market Size, Technology, Vendor Trends and Spectrum Allocation 2014 – 2019.
Research findings take many things into consideration including LMR replacement, LMR integration/convergence, public safety in critical infrastructure, and evolution of LTE to “LTE Advanced”.
LTE Replaces LMR and also LTE Converges with LMR for Public Safety
With many LTE deployments already in place, integration with deployed 2G and 3G networks has not been an extremely difficult issue by many measures. However, for Public Safety LMR systems this is a completely different story, due to inherit differences between LTE and LMR systems.
The undisputed leader in LMR, Motorola, is expected to also benefit greatly from LTE.
However, a number of infrastructure vendors have development custom solutions to allow convergence between not only LTE, LMR and commercially endorsed cellular systems but also other broadband systems such as WiMAX and WLAN.
Public Safety LTE and Critical Infrastructure
Critical-infrastructure entities such as utilities are among the partners that are expected to be allowed to operate on the nationwide public-safety LTE network in the U.S.
These partners are potentially very valuable for the proposed LTE network, because additional users make it easier to create ecosystems that can lower the cost per user for the system.
Public Safety and LTE Advanced (LTE-A)
LTE Advanced is the next major milestone in the evolution of LTE. It incorporates many dimensions of enhancements including the aggregation of frequencies, advanced antenna techniques and others. But most of the gain comes from optimizing (Heterogeneous Networks) HetNets, resulting in better performance from a mixture of large cell and small cells deployments, both from LTE and other standards. Several vendors have prototyped and demonstrated the benefits of LTE Advanced at global events.
The commercialization of the LTE-Advanced standard will ease in both interoperability and support for roaming between LMR and both private/commercial LTE networks. LMR standardization bodies such as APCO and the ETSI are also likely to align future specifications of APCO 25 and TETRA systems to fit in with LTE-Advanced requirements.
An LTE-based network can be overlaid alongside a traditional LMR network to deliver both the speed and low latency required to provide Public Safety agencies with the advanced multimedia capabilities they demand.