As the critical communications industry begins to adopt 4G and 5G broadband communications, devices are needed that can match the mission-critical capabilities of the networks. A new white paper from TCCA, the global representative organisation for the critical communications ecosystem, highlights the complexity of the critical broadband world. The paper takes a detailed look at the requirements that operators and users need to consider in order to achieve successful mission critical device procurement.
Today’s PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) devices are still mostly built on narrowband technologies, providing mission-critical voice and short messaging services. These services are often available within nationwide PPDR network coverage, utilising dedicated frequency bands.
The narrowband device ecosystem is well established, including infrastructure and terminal suppliers, system integrators, service providers and resellers. From a device procurement perspective, there are existing frame agreements in place. The solution costs are well known, device lifecycles are long, and there are no major changes in the product specifications. For TETRA, TCCA’s interoperability (IOP) process allows for multi-vendor procurement.
Bringing broadband devices to a niche market that meet the demanding needs of mission-critical users will require investments by vendors and commitment from customers in terms of development support, minimum order quantities, and user testing and acceptance. Device and operating system software lifecycles of broadband devices are short compared to narrowband radios, even though vendors are doing their best to extend them. The current procurement, testing, certification and approval processes required for PPDR usage therefore need to be adapted accordingly.
“The mission critical broadband device value chain is substantially different from that of narrowband. This is an important and timely white paper where TCCA members address the potential pitfalls of device procurement. It merits being read thoroughly around the world to the benefit of users and network operators as well as device vendors,” said Tero Pesonen, Chair of TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group. This is a significant piece of work and my thanks to the numerous volunteer contributors that have shared their expertise and experience to produce this paper.”
Read the white paper here.