Showing posts with label Release 14. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Release 14. Show all posts

Friday, 9 February 2018

Tutorial: Service Based Architecture (SBA) for 5G Core (5GC)


As a continuation of 'Control and User Plane Separation of EPC nodes (CUPS) in 3GPP Release-14', here is another tutorial on Service Base Architecture (SBA) for the 5G Core.


The slides (with video) is embedded below but there are quite a few tutorials on 5G available on 3G4G page here.



Further Reading:

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Satellites & Non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in 5G


Satellites has been an area of interest of mine for a while as some of you know that I used to work as Satellite Applications & Services Programme manager at techUK. I have written about how I see satellites complementing the mobile networks here and here.

Its good to see that there is some activity in 3GPP going on about satellites & Non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in 5G. While there are some obvious roles that satellites can play (see pic above), the 5G work is looking to cover a lot more topics in details.

3GPP TR 38.913: Study on scenarios and requirements for next generation access technologies looks at 12 different scenarios, the ones relevant to this topic ate Air to ground, Light aircraft and Satellite to terrestrial.
3GPP TR 38.811: Study on New Radio (NR) to support non terrestrial networks (Release 15) covers this topic a bit more in detail. From looking at how satellites and other aerial networks work in general, it looks at the different NTN architecture options as can be seen above.
People looking to study this area in detail should probably start looking at this TR first.

3GPP also released a news item on this topic last week. It also refers to the above TR and a new one for Release 16. The following from 3GPP news:

The roles and benefits of satellites in 5G have been studied in 3GPP Release 14, leading to the specific requirement to support satellite access being captured in TS 22.261 - “Service requirements for next generation new services and markets; Stage 1”, recognizing the added value that satellite coverage brings, as part of the mix of access technologies for 5G, especially for mission critical and industrial applications where ubiquitous coverage is crucial.

Satellites refer to Spaceborne vehicles in Low Earth Orbits (LEO), Medium Earth Orbits (MEO), Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) or in Highly Elliptical Orbits (HEO).

Beyond satellites, Non-terrestrial networks (NTN) refer to networks, or segments of networks, using an airborne or spaceborne vehicle for transmission. Airborne vehicles refer to High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) encompassing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) - including tethered UAS, Lighter than Air UAS and Heavier than Air UAS - all operating at altitude; typically between 8 and 50 km, quasi-stationary.

These Non-terrestrial networks feature in TSG RAN’s TR 38.811 “Study on NR to support non-terrestrial networks”. They will:
  • Help foster the 5G service roll out in un-served or underserved areas to upgrade the performance of terrestrial networks
  • Reinforce service reliability by providing service continuity for user equipment or for moving platforms (e.g. passenger vehicles-aircraft, ships, high speed trains, buses)
  • Increase service availability everywhere; especially for critical communications, future railway/maritime/aeronautical communications
  • Enable 5G network scalability through the provision of efficient multicast/broadcast resources for data delivery towards the network edges or even directly to the user equipment


The objective of TR 38.811 is to study channel models, to define the deployment scenarios as well as the related system parameters and to identify and assess potential key impact areas on the NR. In a second phase, solutions for the identified key impacts on RAN protocols/architecture will be evaluated and defined.

A second study item, the “Study on using Satellite Access in 5G” is being addressed in Working Group SA1.  It shall lead to the delivery of the corresponding Technical Report TR 22.822 as part of Release 16.

This study will identify use cases for the provision of services when considering the integration of 5G satellite-based access components in the 5G system. When addressing the integration of (a) satellite component(s), use cases will identify new potential requirements for 5G systems addressing:
  • The associated identification of existing / planned services and the corresponding modified or new requirements
  • The associated identification of new services and the corresponding requirements
  • The requirements on set-up / configuration / maintenance of the features of UE’s when using satellite components related features as well for other components from the 5G system
  • Regulatory requirements when moving to (or from) satellite from (or to) terrestrial networks


You may also like my presentation / video on 'Connectivity on Planes'.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Control and User Plane Separation of EPC nodes (CUPS) in 3GPP Release-14


One of the items in 3GPP Rel-14 is Control and User Plane Separation of EPC nodes (CUPS). I have made a video explaining this concept that is embedded below.

In 3G networks (just considering PS domain), the SGSN and GGSN handles the control plane that is responsible for signalling as well as the user plane which is responsible for the user data. This is not a very efficient approach for deployment.

You can have networks that have a lot of signalling (remember signaling storm?) due to a lot of smartphone users but not necessarily consuming a lot of data (mainly due to price reasons). On the other hand you can have networks where there is not a lot of signalling but lot of data consumption. An example of this would be lots of data dongles or MiFi devices where users are also consuming a lot of data, because it’s cheap.

To cater for these different scenarios, the control plane and user plane was separated to an extent in the Evolved Packet Core (EPC). MME handles the control plane signalling while S-GW & P-GW handles the user plane

CUPS goes one step further by separating control & user plane from S-GW, P-GW & TDF. TDF is Traffic Detection Function which was introduced together with Sd reference point as means for traffic management in the Release 11. The Sd reference point is used for Deep Packet Inspections (DPI) purposes. TDF also provides the operators with the opportunity to capitalize on analytics for traffic optimization, charging and content manipulation and it works very closely with Policy and charging rules function, PCRF.

As mentioned, CUPS provides the architecture enhancements for the separation of S-GW, P-GW & TDF functionality in the EPC. This enables flexible network deployment and operation, by using either distributed or centralized deployment. It also allows independent scaling between control plane and user plane functions - while not affecting the functionality of the existing nodes subject to this split.

As the 3GPP article mentions, CUPS allows for:
  • Reducing Latency on application service, e.g. by selecting User plane nodes which are closer to the RAN or more appropriate for the intended UE usage type without increasing the number of control plane nodes.
  • Supporting Increase of Data Traffic, by enabling to add user plane nodes without changing the number of SGW-C, PGW-C and TDF-C in the network.
  • Locating and Scaling the CP and UP resources of the EPC nodes independently.
  • Independent evolution of the CP and UP functions.
  • Enabling Software Defined Networking to deliver user plane data more efficiently.

The following high-level principles were also adopted for the CUPS:
  • The CP function terminates the Control Plane protocols: GTP-C, Diameter (Gx, Gy, Gz).
  • A CP function can interface multiple UP functions, and a UP function can be shared by multiple CP functions.
  • An UE is served by a single SGW-CP but multiple SGW-UPs can be selected for different PDN connections. A user plane data packet may traverse multiple UP functions.
  • The CP function controls the processing of the packets in the UP function by provisioning a set of rules in Sx sessions, i.e. Packet Detection Rules for packets inspection, Forwarding Action Rules for packets handling (e.g. forward, duplicate, buffer, drop), Qos Enforcement Rules to enforce QoS policing on the packets, Usage Reporting Rules for measuring the traffic usage.
  • All the 3GPP features impacting the UP function (PCC, Charging, Lawful Interception, etc) are supported, while the UP function is designed as much as possible 3GPP agnostic. For example, the UPF is not aware of bearer concept.
  • Charging and Usage Monitoring are supported by instructing the UP function to measure and report traffic usage, using Usage Reporting Rule(s). No impact is expected to OFCS, OCS and the PCRF.
  • The CP or UP function is responsible for GTP-u F-TEID allocation.
  • A legacy SGW, PGW and TDF can be replaced by a split node without effecting connected legacy nodes.
CUPS forms the basis of EPC architecture evolution for Service-Based Architecture for 5G Core Networks. More in another post soon.

A short video on CUPS below, slides available here.



Further reading:


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Summary of 3GPP Release-14 Work Items


With all focus on 5G (Release-15), looks like Rel-14 has been feeling a bit neglected. There are some important updates though as it lays foundation for other services.

3GPP used to maintain Release Descriptions here for all different releases but have stopped doing that since 2014. For Release-14, a new document "3GPP TR 21.914: Release 14 Description; Summary of Rel-14 Work Items" is now available here.

An executive summary from the document:

Release 14 focusses on the following items:
  • Improving the Mission Critical aspects, in particular with the introduction of Video and Data services
  • Introducing the Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) aspects, in particular the Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2)
  • Improving the Cellular Internet of Things (CIoT) aspects, with 2G, 3G and 4G support of Machine-Type of Communications (MTC)
  • Improving the radio interface, in particular by enhancing the aspects related to coordination with WLAN and unlicensed spectrum
  • A set of uncorrelated improvements, e.g. on Voice over LTE (VoLTE), IMS, Location reporting.


The continuation of this document provides an exhaustive view of all the items specified by 3GPP in Release 14.

I have blogged about the Mission Critical Communications here. 3GPP has also done a webinar on this topic which can be viewed here. I like this slide below that summarizes features in different releases.

Then there are quite a few new features and enhancements for V2X. I have blogged about sidelink and its proposed extensions here.

From the document:

The Work Item on “Architecture enhancements for LTE support of V2X services (V2XARC)”, driven by SA WG2, specifies the V2X architectures, functional entities involved for V2X communication, interfaces, provisioned parameters and procedures in TS 23.285.
Figure above depicts an overall architecture for V2X communication. V2X Control Function is the logical function defined for network related actions required for V2X and performs authorization and provisioning of necessary parameters for V2X communication to the UE via V3 interface.

A UE can send V2X messages over PC5 interface by using network scheduled operation mode (i.e. centralized scheduling) and UE autonomous resources selection mode (i.e. distributed scheduling) when the UE is "served by E-UTRAN" while a UE can send V2X messages over PC5 interface only by using UE autonomous resources selection mode when the UE is "not served by E-UTRAN". 

Both IP based and non-IP based V2X messages over PC5 are supported. For IP based V2X messages over PC5, only IPv6 is used. PPPP (ProSe Per-Packet Priority) reflecting priority and latency for V2X message is applied to schedule the transmission of V2X message over PC5.

A UE can send V2X messages over LTE-Uu interface destined to a locally relevant V2X Application Server, and the V2X Application Server delivers the V2X messages to the UE(s) in a target area using unicast delivery and/or MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) delivery.

Both IP based and non-IP based V2X messages are supported for V2X communication over LTE-Uu. In order to transmit non-IP based V2X messages over LTE-Uu, the UE encapsulates the V2X messages in IP packets.

For latency improvements for MBMS, localized MBMS can be considered for localized routing of V2X messages destined to UEs.

For V2X communication over LTE-Uu interface, the V2X messages can be delivered via Non-GBR bearer (i.e. an IP transmission path with no reserved bitrate resources) as well as GBR bearer (i.e. an IP transmission path with reserved (guaranteed) bitrate resources). In order to meet the latency requirement for V2X message delivery, the following standardized QCI (QoS Class Identifier) values defined in TS 23.203 can be used:
  • QCI 3 (GBR bearer) and QCI 79 (Non-GBR bearer) can be used for the unicast delivery of V2X messages.
  • QCI 75 (GBR bearer) is only used for the delivery of V2X messages over MBMS bearers. 


There are updates to cellular IoT (CIot) which I have blogged about here.

There are some other interesting topic that are enhanced as part of Release14. Here are some of them:
  • S8 Home Routing Architecture for VoLTE
    • Robust Call Setup for VoLTE subscriber in LTE
    • Enhancements to Domain Selection between VoLTE and CDMA CS
    • MBMS improvements
    • eMBMS enhancements for LTE
    • IMS related items
    • Evolution to and Interworking with eCall in IMS
    • Password-based service activation for IMS Multimedia Telephony service
    • Multimedia Priority Service Modifications
    • Enhancements to Multi-stream Multiparty Conferencing Media Handling
    • Enhancement for TV service
    • Improved Streaming QoE Reporting in 3GPP (IQoE)
    • Quality of Experience (QoE) Measurement Collection for streaming services in UTRAN
    • Development of super-wideband and fullband P.835
    • Enhancements to User Location Reporting Support
    • Enhancing Location Capabilities for Indoor and Outdoor Emergency Communications
    • Further Indoor Positioning Enhancements for UTRA and LTE
    • Improvements of awareness of user location change
    • Terminating Access Domain Selection (T-ADS) supporting WLAN Access
    • Enhanced LTE-WLAN Aggregation (LWA)
    • Enhanced LTE WLAN Radio Level Integration with IPsec Tunnel (eLWIP)
    • Positioning Enhancements for GERAN
    • New GPRS algorithms for EASE
    • RRC optimization for UMTS
    • Multi-Carrier Enhancements for UMTS
    • DTX/DRX enhancements in CELL_FACH
    • LTE radio improvements
    • Enhancements on Full-Dimension (FD) MIMO for LTE
    • Downlink Multiuser Superposition Transmission for LTE
    • Performance enhancements for high speed scenario in LTE
    • Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) of EPC nodes
    • Paging Policy Enhancements and Procedure
    • Shared Subscription Data Update
    • Service Domain Centralization
    • Control of Applications when Third party Servers encounter difficulties
    • PS Data Off Services
    • Enhancement to Flexible Mobile Service Steering 
    • Sponsored data connectivity improvements
    • Group based enhancements in the network capability exposure functions
    • Improved operator control using new UE configuration parameters
    • Charging and OAM stand alone improvements
    • Rel-14 Charging
    • ...

    Further Reading:


    Saturday, 21 October 2017

    Evolution of SON in 3GPP


    A good list of 3GPP Evolution of SON features. Whitepaper available here. You may also like the earlier post here.

    See also: Self-Organizing Networks / Self-Optimizing Networks (SON) - 3G4G Homepage

    Thursday, 12 October 2017

    3GPP Sidelink and its proposed extensions

    In an earlier post I discussed briefly about the sidelink: V2V communications are based on D2D communications defined as part of ProSe services in Release 12 and Release 13 of the specification. As part of ProSe services, a new D2D interface (designated as PC5, also known as sidelink at the physical layer) was introduced and now as part of the V2V WI it has been enhanced for vehicular use cases, specifically addressing high speed (up to 250Kph) and high density (thousands of nodes).

    Before going further, lets just quickly recap the different V2x abbreviations:

    • V2X = Vehicle-to-Everything
    • V2V = Vehicle-to-Vehicle
    • V2I = Vehicle-to-Infrastructure 
    • V2P = Vehicle-to-Pedestrian 
    • V2H = Vehicle-to-Home
    • eV2X = enhanced Vehicle-to-Everything

    I came across this interesting presentation from ITRI that provides lot more details on sidelink and its proposed extension to other topics including eV2X and FeD2D (Further enhanced Device-to-Device).

    There are quite a few references in the document that provides more details on sidelink and its operation and extension to other devices like wearables.


    There are also details on synchronization and eV2X services.

    There is also a very nice D2D overview presentation by Orange that I am embedding below (download from slideshare)



    Tuesday, 27 June 2017

    Mission Critical Services update from 3GPP - June 2017


    3GPP has published an overview of what has been achieved so far in the Mission Critical and also provides an outlook of what can be expected in the near future. A more detailed paper summarizing the use cases and functional aspects of Rel-13, Rel-14 and upcoming Rel-15 will be published later this year.

    Mission Critical Services – Detailed List of Rel-13, Rel-14 and Rel-15 Functionalities

    Rel-13 MCPTT (completed 2016)
    • User authentication and service authorization
    • Configuration
    • Affiliation and de-affiliation
    • Group calls on-network and off-network (within one system or multiple systems, pre-arranged or chat model, late entry, broadcast group calls, emergency group calls, imminent peril group calls, emergency alerts)
    • Private calls on-network and off-network (automatic or manual commencement modes, emergency private calls)
    • MCPTT security
    • Encryption (media and control signalling)
    • Simultaneous sessions for call
    • Dynamic group management (group regrouping)
    • Floor control in on-network (within one system or across systems) and in off-network
    • Pre-established sessions
    • Resource management (unicast, multicast, modification, shared priority)
    • Multicast/Unicast bearer control, MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) bearers
    • Location configuration, reporting and triggering
    • Use of UE-to-network relays
    Rel-14 MC Services (completed 2017)
    MC Services Common Functionalities:
    • User authentication and service authorization
    • Service configuration
    • Affiliation and de-affiliation
    • Extended Location Features
    • (Dynamic) Group Management
    • Identity management
    • MC Security framework
    • Encryption (media and control signalling)
    MCPTT Enhancements:
    • First-to-answer call setup (with and without floor control)
    • Floor control for audio cut-in enabled group
    • Updating the selected MC Service user profile for an MC Service
    • Ambient listening call
    • MCPTT private call-back request
    • Remote change of selected group
    MCVideo, Common Functions plus:
    • Group Call (including emergency group calls, imminent peril group calls, emergency alerts)
    • Private Call (off-network)
    • Transmission Control
    MCData, Common Functions plus:
    • Short Data Service (SDS)
    • File Distribution (FD) (on-network)
    • Transmission and Reception Control
    • Handling of Disposition Notifications
    • Communication Release
    Rel-15 MC Services (in progress)

    MC Services Common Functionalities Enhancements:
    • Enhanced MCPTT group call setup procedure with MBMS bearer
    • Enhanced Location management, information and triggers
    • Interconnection between 3GPP defined MC systems
    • Interworking with legacy systems

    MCPTT Enhancements:
    • Remotely initiated MCPTT call
    • Enhanced handling of MCPTT Emergency Alerts
    • Enhanced Broadcast group call
    • Updating pre-selected MC Service user profile
    • Temporary group call - user regroup
    • Functional alias identity for user and equipment
    • Multiple simultaneous users
    MCVideo Additions:
    • Video push
    • Video pull
    • Private call (on-network)
    • Broadcast Group Call
    • Ambient Viewing Call
    • Capability information sharing
    • Simultaneous Sessions
    • Use of MBMS transmission
    • Emergency and imminent peril private communications
    • Primary and Partner MC system interactions for MCVideo communications
    • Remote video parameters control capabilities

    MCData Additions:
    • MCData specific Location
    • Enhanced Status
    • Accessing list of deferred communications
    • Usage of MBMS
    • Emergency Alert
    • Data streaming
    • File Distribution (FD) (off-network)
    • IP connectivity

    Release-14 features will be available by end of September 2017 and many Release-15 features, that is being hurried due to 5G will be available by June 2018.

    For more details, follow the links below:



    Thursday, 26 January 2017

    3GPP Rel-14 IoT Enhancements


    A presentation (embedded below) by 3GPP RAN3 Chairman - Philippe Reininger - at the IoT Business & Technologies Congress (November 30, in Singapore). Main topics are eMTC, NB-IOT and EC-GSM-IoT as completed in 3GPP Release 13 and enhanced in Release 14. Thanks to Eiko Seidel for sharing the presentation.


    Sunday, 6 November 2016

    LTE, 5G and V2X

    3GPP has recently completed the Initial Cellular V2X standard. The following from the news item:

    The initial Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) standard, for inclusion in the Release 14, was completed last week - during the 3GPP RAN meeting in New Orleans. It focuses on Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, with further enhancements to support additional V2X operational scenarios to follow, in Release 14, targeting completion during March 2017.
    The 3GPP Work Item Description can be found in RP-161894.
    V2V communications are based on D2D communications defined as part of ProSe services in Release 12 and Release 13 of the specification. As part of ProSe services, a new D2D interface (designated as PC5, also known as sidelink at the physical layer) was introduced and now as part of the V2V WI it has been enhanced for vehicular use cases, specifically addressing high speed (up to 250Kph) and high density (thousands of nodes).

    ...


    For distributed scheduling (a.k.a. Mode 4) a sensing with semi-persistent transmission based mechanism was introduced. V2V traffic from a device is mostly periodic in nature. This was utilized to sense congestion on a resource and estimate future congestion on that resource. Based on estimation resources were booked. This technique optimizes the use of the channel by enhancing resource separation between transmitters that are using overlapping resources.
    The design is scalable for different bandwidths including 10 MHz bandwidth.
    Based on these fundamental link and system level changes there are two high level deployment configurations currently defined, and illustrated in Figure 3.
    Both configurations use a dedicated carrier for V2V communications, meaning the target band is only used for PC5 based V2V communications. Also in both cases GNSS is used for time synchronization.
    In “Configuration 1” scheduling and interference management of V2V traffic is supported based on distributed algorithms (Mode 4) implemented between the vehicles. As mentioned earlier the distributed algorithm is based on sensing with semi-persistent transmission. Additionally, a new mechanism where resource allocation is dependent on geographical information is introduced. Such a mechanism counters near far effect arising due to in-band emissions.
    In “Configuration 2” scheduling and interference management of V2V traffic is assisted by eNBs (a.k.a. Mode 3) via control signaling over the Uu interface. The eNodeB will assign the resources being used for V2V signaling in a dynamic manner.

    5G Americas has also published a whitepaper on V2X Cellular Solutions. From the press release:

    Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications and solutions enable the exchange of information between vehicles and much more - people (V2P), such as bicyclists and pedestrians for alerts, vehicles (V2V) for collision avoidance, infrastructure (V2I) such as roadside devices for timing and prioritization, and the network (V2N) for real time traffic routing and other cloud travel services. The goal of V2X is to improve road safety, increase the efficiency of traffic, reduce environmental impacts and provide additional traveler information services. 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today announced the publication of a technical whitepaper titled V2X Cellular Solutions that details new connected car opportunities for the cellular and automotive industries.




    The whitepaper describes the benefits that Cellular V2X (C-V2X) can provide to support the U.S. Department of Transportation objectives of improving safety and reducing vehicular crashes. Cellular V2X can also be instrumental in transforming the transportation experience by enhancing traveler and traffic information for societal goals.

    C-V2X is part of the 3GPP specifications in Release 14. 3GPP announced the completion of the initial C-V2X standard in September 2016. There is a robust evolutionary roadmap for C-V2X towards 5G with a strong ecosystem in place. C-V2X will be a key technology enabler for the safer, more autonomous vehicle of the future.

    The whitepaper is embedded below:




    Related posts:
    Further Reading:



    Sunday, 14 August 2016

    3GPP Release-14 & Release-15 update

    3GPP is on track for 5G as per a news item on the 3GPP website. In 5G World in London in June, Erik Guttman, 3GPP TSG SA Chairman, and Consultant for Samsung Electronics spoke about progress on Release-14 and Release-15. Here is his presentation.



    According to 3GPP:

    The latest plenary meeting of the 3GPP Technical Specifications Groups (TSG#72) has agreed on a detailed workplan for Release-15, the first release of 5G specifications.
    The plan includes a set of intermediate tasks and check-points (see graphic below) to guide the ongoing studies in the Working Groups. These will get 3GPP in a position to make the next major round of workplan decisions when transitioning from the ongoing studies to the normative phase of the work in December 2016:- the start of SA2 normative work on Next Generation (NexGen) architecture and in March 2017:- the beginning of the RAN Working Group’s specification of the 5G New Radio (NR).
    3GPP TSG RAN further agreed that the target NR scope for Release 15 includes support of the following:
    • ■ Standalone and Non-Standalone NR operation (with work for both starting in conjunction and running together)
      • ■ Non-standalone NR in this context implies using LTE as control plane anchor. Standalone NR implies full control plane capability for NR.
      • ■ Some potential architecture configuration options are shown in RP-161266 for information and will be analyzed further during the study
    • ■ Target usecases: Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), as well as Low Latency and High Reliability to enable some Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLCC) usecases
    • ■ Frequency ranges below 6GHz and above 6GHz
    During the discussion at TSG#72 the importance of forward compatibility - in both radio and protocol design - was stressed, as this will be key for phasing-in the necessary features, enabling all identified usecases, in subsequent releases of the 5G specification.


    Telecom TV has posted a video interview with Erik Guttman which is embedded below:



    Related posts:



    Sunday, 26 July 2015

    LTE vs TETRA for Critical Communications

    Sometime back I was reading this interview between Martin Geddes and Peter Clemons on 'The Crisis in UK Critical Communications'. If you haven't read it, I urge you to read it here. One thing that stuck out was as follows:

    LTE was not designed for critical communications.

    Commercial mobile operators have moved from GSM to UMTS to WCDMA networks to reflect the strong growth in demand for mobile data services. Smartphones are now used for social media and streaming video. LTE technology fulfils a need to supply cheap mass market data communications.

    So LTE is a data service at heart, and reflects the consumer and enterprise market shift from being predominantly voice-centric to data-centric. In this wireless data world you can still control quality to a degree. So with OFDM-A modulation we have reduced latency. We have improved how we allocate different resource blocks to different uses.

    The marketing story is that we should be able to allocate dedicated resources to emergency services, so we can assure voice communications and group calling even when the network is stressed. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even the 3GPP standards bodies and mobile operators have recognised that there are serious technology limitations.
    This means they face a reputational risk in delivering a like-for-like mission-critical voice service.

    Won’t this be fixed by updated standards?
    The TETRA Critical Communications association (TCCA) began to engage with the 3GPP standards process in 2012. 3GPP then reached out to peers in the USA and elsewhere: the ESMCP project here in the UK, the US FirstNet programme, and the various European associations.

    These lobbied 3GPP for capabilities specifically aimed at critical communications requirements. At the Edinburgh meeting in September 2014, 3GPP set up the SA6specification group, the first new group in a decade.

    The hope is that by taking the critical communications requirement into a separate stream, it will no longer hold up the mass market release 12 LTE standard. Even with six meetings a year, this SA6 process will be a long one. By the end of the second meeting it had (as might be expected) only got as far as electing the chairman.

    It will take time to scope out what can be achieved, and develop the critical communications functionality. For many players in the 3GPP process this is not a priority, since they are focusing solely on mass market commercial applications.

    Similar point was made in another Critical communications blog here:

    LTE has emerged as a long term possible replacement for TETRA in this age of mobile broadband and data. LTE offer unrivalled broadband capabilities for such applications as body warn video streaming, digital imaging, automatic vehicle location, computer-assisted dispatch, mobile and command centre apps, web access, enriched e-mail, mobile video surveillance apps such as facial recognition, enhanced Telemetry/remote diagnostics, GIS and many more. However, Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA pointed out recently that it will take many LTE releases to get us to the point where LTE can match TETRA on key features such as group working, pre-emptive services, network resilience, call set-up times and direct mode.
    The result being, we are at a point where we have two technologies, one offering what end users want, and the other offering what end users need. This has altered the discussion, where now instead of looking at LTE as a replacement, we can look at LTE as a complimentary technology, used alongside TETRA to give end users the best of both worlds. Now the challenge appears to be how we can integrate TETRA and LTE to meet the needs and wants of our emergency services, and it seems that if we want to look for guidance and lessons on the possible harmony of TETRA and LTE we should look at the Middle East.
    While I was researching, I came across this interesting presentation (embedded below) from the LTE World Summit 2015





    The above is an interesting SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis for TETRA and LTE. While I can understand that LTE is yet unproven, I agree on the lack of spectrum and appropriate bands.

    I have been told in the past that its not just the technology which is an issue, TETRA has many functionalities that would need to be duplicated in LTE.



    As you can see from this timeline above, while Rel-13 and Rel-14 will have some of these features, there are still other features that need to be included. Without which, safety of the critical communication workers and public could be compromised.

    The complete presentation as follows. Feel free to voice your opinions via comments.