Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) services such as the, police, fire brigade, and emergency medical services (EMS), etc are tasked with the daunting challenge of providing the first response in life critical circumstances. In both adverse situations and day-to-day operations, the ability to communicate reliably is one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of the PPDR services.
The vast majority of global PPDR deployments utilise either the TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) family of technologies or the Project 25 (P25) family. However, both TETRA and P25 are narrowband systems originally designed to support voice and low bit rate data services.
The narrowband nature of these technologies directly translates into the failure to provide ample support for data intensive services e.g. real time video streaming, file down loads and web browsing; all of which supplement and enhance the mission critical voice service thus providing improved situation awareness for both first responders and dispatchers.
A comparison between PPDR communication networks and mobile cellular commercial communication networks reveals the enormous divergence between the two types of networks; with PPDR networks only able to support data rates analogous to the second-generation (2G) commercial cellular networks such as, Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Currently the commercial cellular Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-advanced standards can support peak data rates of 300Mbit/s (Release 8 and 9) and 3Gbit/s (Release 10 and 11).
In bid to address the PPDR shortcomings, a number of standardisation bodies, government institutions and commercial companies have proposed the utilisation of broadband networks such as LTE for the provision of mission critical applications and services.
Our research on next generation networks and IMS, as well as disaster scenarios, is contributing to the creation of the world’s first Mission Critical applications over LTE and LTE-Advanced networks.
General Dynamics UK has commissioned collaborative research (EDGE Project) with the MoCoNet research team to develop and optimise the world’s first Mission Critical Voice over LTE (MC VoLTE) based on Push-to-Talk technology with extremely stringent quality constraints. The system is partly based on components developed by the team such as GenXfone IMS client, Media Gateway (M-Gw) and the SIP-based Push-to-talk Server.