How Mission-Critical Communications is Reimagining Mobile Broadband


By Zia Askari |

At a time when there is an ever growing demand to data intensive applications in global telecom networks – next generation development in mission critical communications is reimagining mobile broadband today.


Some of the primary factors that will continue to contribute to the rise in demand for mission-critical communications market – is the growing demand for communications enhancements for the law enforcement market, oil & gas and tactical communications in a number of global markets.

According to Paul Ward, Director, ETELM, the key trend currently is based on the understandable desire of the professional communications user to access high speed mobile broadband services.


“With 4G LTE becoming the technology of choice for commercial networks it is the obvious choice for high speed data services for professional users. There is however a gap between mission critical voice services and commercial voice services and that can only be filled by convergence – merging the benefits of professional radio with those of LTE. Convergence must however avoid gateways which will limit functionality and create single points of failure. LTE’s advanced, distributed EPC Core network is an ideal [industry standard] platform for directly connecting different technologies and providing full integration,” he explains.

Phil Kidner

As per the views of Phil Kidner, CEO, TCCA, “We are seeing different trends depending on the country and the region. Critical communications obviously remain vital for public safety and other market sectors, and TETRA networks continue to be rolled out. Germany is nearing completion of what will be the largest TETRA network in the world, and The Netherlands has just signed a contract to renew its TETRA network. There is a steady stream of new contract announcements from TCCA members worldwide – examples include a new TETRA network at Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates and an upgrade from DMR to TETRA in Norway.

In North America, FirstNet is responsible for bringing a nationwide public safety broadband network to fruition, while the region is a new adopter of TETRA technology and there is huge potential in vertical markets across the continent. South America

TETRA has been proven in Asia and South America, where it has dominated railway communications, while in South Korea, the government has published ambitious timescale intentions for the rollout of a nationwide LTE-only voice and data public safety services. So as an overall trend, we can say that the critical communications market is extremely healthy, and continues to advance!” he adds on.

With next generation technologies such as 3G, 4G and LTE constantly delivering greater features and enhancements to connectivity, it is the age of wireless broadband communications and advanced features are now setting new standards for mobile broadband service providers as well.

As a result, there is a rise in demand for high-speed wireless broadband and reliable networks for both commercial uses as well as for mission-critical communications.

While mobile broadband systems depend on existing communications infrastructure provided by telecommunication and service providers, mission-critical communications often do not, and therefore bring greater value to relevant markets. And hence, mission critical communications has gained more market respect and served market needs in critical times.

LTE and Critical Communications

When it comes to catering to the LTE market, ETELM has embedded the LTE protocol into it’s base stations, allowing different technology infrastructure to directly connect to LTE’s distributed IP Core network.

“This not only reduces the cost for intersite networks, but it also allows full functionality between different technology subscribers. A really important aspect is that it opens up the possibility for Mobile Network Operators to overlay professional radio services onto their existing Core networks alongside LTE.” Paul Ward from ETELM explains.

Phil Kidner from TCCA says that TCCA is a member-driven organization, committed to supporting the needs of its members.

“We promote and advance the development and deployment of TETRA, while working to ensure that LTE-based critical communications networks are developed based on open standards, and have at least the level of capability that users currently enjoy with TETRA. Open standards are crucial to ensuring a healthy and competitive market. This is particularly important for public safety and government organizations which need to make the best use of public money,” he adds on.

With a number of telecom operators going in for strengthening their critical communication strategy, we are sure to see growing demand for mission-critical communications, and suppliers must be ready to deliver the highest level of reliability, coverage, flexibility and functionality in order to meet changing customer demands and growing expectations.

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