2 Comments on "Public Safety Advocate: UK Public-Safety Broadband Network Update"

  1. Jim Couprie, P. Eng. | September 24, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Reply

    Like most systems of this size and complexity, the politicians and IT folks usually responsible for the project don’t recognize that implementation will take about ten years. I was Project Engineer on the Alberta First Responders Radio Communication System, a P25 voice only sytem with close to 400 sites. When I was hired in 2006 the target for completion was 2010. When I retired in 2013 construction was nearing 50%, and it was activated in July 2016.

  2. James Stefano, Jr. | October 28, 2020 at 1:29 am | Reply

    This is one of the best Advocate columns I’ve read, I bet even some of the UK folks have a better picture of their own situation :). You touch on a lot of hot and very critical topics that broadband PTT over LTE users could face anywhere, particularly when it comes to off network. Many times we forget that the cellular networks can be prone to outages and not everyone has a multi sim device, so we will still need LMR as a backup even for cellular dead spots, not just for off-network.
    With such heavy reliance on cellular networks today it can also become an Achilles heel in time of domestic terrorism or foreign invasion. One foreign adversary I recently learned has 9000 jamming devices ready to deploy anywhere they can drop them, to take a network down including their own. The major vendors now make multi-network LMR/LTE/Wi-Fi portable and mobile radios and I believe this will become the norm so they can work anywhere day-to-day. Now we just need a nationwide virtual PSBN that can roam over millions of Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide (like we currently have for Universities) with financial incentives for every homeowner and business to allow First Responders to roam on to their Wi-Fi. In-building coverage solved for the “most part”.
    Again, Interoperability is a priority for First Responders. There needs to be a national plan for Talk Groups at every county level along with a national standard for Radio IDs and user aliases. The Interoperability TG’s need to be established on the IP side for apps then interconnected with current Interoperable radio channels (across all the bands). This stuff just has to work ad-hoc on-the-fly as roamers come on to the scene. This exists today within many PoC apps out there by just dragging a circle on the app’s map and everyone is connected within it. Now it has to happen between vendors, on a national scale, but again the TG’s have to be planned and established first. NPSTC is looking at some of this.
    These IP Interoperability gateways should be cloud based over the Internet and really need to be network agnostic in order to work anywhere, which includes cellular (multi-carrier SIMS), WANS, LANS, WiFi and now satellite as LEOs are being deployed by the dozens monthly, until the earth is blanketed with thousands.
    Lastly we need to discuss a very critical issue you mentioned regarding bandwidth capacity within a single cell cell site. This actually goes beyond public safety users to general users crowding into any area, particularly in rural areas during peak times like holidays. I’ve been on FirstNet for over three years and even with Priority and Pre-emption I’ve seen the network come to a crawl every 4th of July at the lake here. The first two years it became unusable. This year they added Band 14 which was a little better. I had to manually log in to the console and elevate our devices for the entire holiday weekend. I still only saw 1/4 the speeds we normally see with latency and jitter suffering. More than adequate for PoC traffic which was critical! However maps and weather were slow and video was hit or miss. The only way around this is 5G with more bandwidth available per user through all the different methods they deploy. You just can’t fight physics.

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