Showing posts with label TETRA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TETRA. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Update on UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) from #BAPCO2019


I have discussed about the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) multiple times but I manged to hear about the progress first hand this week. Bryan Clark, ESN Programme Director, Home Office gave a keynote address at BAPCO on Day 2 and the title of his presentation was "2019: The year vision becomes reality"

British APCO or BAPCO Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019 was going to be a big launchpad for the ESN network. The ESN LinkedIn post said "Representatives from ESN and EE will be on hand to discuss coverage and ESN Assure. See an installation of the ESN Gateway solution within a police car, plus a live demonstration showing how ESN coverage can be extended from a vehicle into a building. We’ll also have a ‘Motorola Zone’ where you can watch demos of Kodiak and the ESN self-service portal – and a large touchscreen demo of the Samsung ESN Galaxy"


Bryan started by cracking a joke about people referring to 'ESN' as 'ES When' programme because it has been delayed multiple times. He said straight in the beginning that he going to talk about what the ESN programme is doing now and what comes next.

He started with this short video, embedded below but detailed info available on this LinkedIn post

x

So here is a short summary of the talk:
  • There are roughly 350,000 customers of this service
  • There are 137 separate organizations that will take advantage of this new this new technology. 
  • There are couple of vehicles in the display area (pic on the top and video below) and roughly 50,000 vehicles that need to have a kit
  • Over 100 aircraft need to have an air network access that currently isn't there. 
  • There are nearly 30 direct suppliers to the program and that doesn't include the whole supply chain through each of those suppliers.
  • Looking at the coverage, there is a commitment to providing a signal along half a million (0.5 million) kilometers of roads in England, Scotland & Wales. It extends 12 nautical miles out to sea and 10,000 feet in the air right across England, Scotland & Wales.
  • In London alone there are over 400 kilometres of tunnels that were actually almost finished cabling out.
  • 300 masts are being built as part of the ESN programme to extend services into remote areas.
  • EE has extended their network by adding 700 additional masts. 
  • Thousands of special locations will need to have effective access to ESN network
  • ESN is a large programme so it's hardly surprising that it's very late. It's Bryan's job over the past 10 months to work out how to get it back on track. 
  • People are going through quite a detailed review of where ESN has got to in terms of next steps. 
  • The programme now has a very clear and approved plan to complete the technical element of the work, most of it should be done by late summer next year.
  • One of the first products, Assure, is a way of testing the effectiveness of the network in the field. 
  • A demonstration of Push-To-Talk (PTT) on a 4G network will be demoed within 3 weeks.
  • This is the first generation end-to-end solution
  • Emergency services is critical national infrastructure so any new solution can only replace the legacy once we are absolutely confident that we've got an effective replacement
  • Even though the technical piece is quite challenging, when you compare it to the business change that follows, the technical part looks pretty simple. 
  • To ensure that everything works effectively operationally, plans are in place but more detailed plans are going to follow in the coming three to four months.
  • Individual components are already being tested in the field
  • Programme deployment should start by the end of 2019 in terms of having basically completed laying the core components and a clear plan will be in place for how to test in an operational context. 
  • The ESN programme is not only responsible for the replacement solution but also for operations to date based on the Airwave contract with Motorola currently
  • The number one priority is to provide critical voice communications of sufficient quality that people can rely on in the field and enable them to move away from the TETRA technology that served them so well. So we aren't going anywhere until we've got rock solid critical voice communications. It's our number one priority, simply because people's lives depend on it.
The following are various videos from the ESN demo area. The Gateway device (which is a mobile small cell) is supplied by Parallel Wireless*.



In case you missed BAPCO, Ken Rehbehn, a very well known Industry Analyst who works as a Principal Analyst at Critical Communications Insights and is also Montgomery County Firefighter/EMT, shared his observations and reflections from conference. Very grateful for his interview which is embedded below



Further Reading:




Related posts:

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

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.


Friday, 3 April 2015

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2015 Technology Jokes

Here is a quick roundup of some interesting tech #AprilFools day jokes from the web. Click on the links to learn more

Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge - Chef's edition






Selfie Shoes by Miz Mooz - Shoefie



com.google - You can try it in chrome browser, it was working


Smartbox by Inbox: the mailbox of tomorrow, today - by Google




HTC Re-Sok - the "world's first truly smart sock"






Bing's Palm Search technology




Introducing #MotoSelfieStick - By Motorola



Twitter’s Twelfie Stick




Domino’s Domi-No-Driver Service

Iltasanomat news on April 1st 2015 (source not available): Finnish Police is having their own air forces with 250 seagulls with TETRA radio and camera


And finally, these old style pranks still work :-)

If you like them, you will enjoy the last year ones too. Here.

Friday, 7 June 2013

3GPP Public Safety focus in Rel-12


Public Safety is still a hot topic in the standards discussion and on this blog as well. Two recent posts containing presentations have been viewed and downloaded like hotcakes. See here and here.

3GPP presented on this topic in the Critical Communications World that took place last month. The following is from the 3GPP press release:

The ’Critical Communications World’ conference, held recently in Paris, has focused largely on the case for LTE standardized equipment to bring broadband access to professional users, by meeting their high demands for reliability and resilience.
Balazs Bertenyi, the 3GPP SA Chair, reported on the latest status of the first 3GPP features for public safety, in particular those covering Proximity services (Direct mode) and Group call. He spoke of the need to strike a balance between more or less customisation, to make use of commercial products while meeting the specific requirements for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR).
To ensure that these needs are met, Balazs Bertenyi called for the wholehearted participation of the critical communications community in 3GPP groups, by sending the right people to address the technical questions and obstacles that arise during the creation of work items.

A presentation and video from that event is embedded below:




For more details see here.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Direct Communication between devices in case of disasters

Yesterday, a discussion started after I read this article on RCR Wireless News:

As in every major disaster, communications networks quickly showed their inherent weakness in times of greatest need. Japan's NTT Communications reported outages affecting Internet voice data that relies on IP-VPN technology.

In a brief statement, the operator apologized for the "trouble and inconvenience," following the string of earthquakes and significant aftershocks that rattled nerves and buildings throughout much of Japan. Some communication services are no longer available, NTT said, and telephone service, particularly long-distance service, is showing strain as well.

Service disruptions have been reported by all three of the major mobile operators in Japan, according to BusinessWeek.

This prompted me to ask on Twitter about which technologies are available that can help the mobile network cope with these problem.

Here are few approaches:

I blogged earlier about Multihop Cellular Networks (MCN) and ODMA. These technologies have their own limitations and problems and I have not heard of anything more about them being standardised or adopted.

Another post was on Ad-Hoc Networks that can be formed in case of failures resulting in Mobile devices being able to communicate directly without the need for network or base stations. The slight problem is that this approach replies on WiFi being available which may not always be the case.

A colleague suggested that in Tetra, Direct Mode of operation is available that is intended for situations like these. A presentation is embedded below:




Steven Crowley on twitter suggested that 802.16m has already started working in this direction. I got a related presentation on that which is embedded below:




Finally, Kit Kilgour mentioned about DSAC (Domain Specific Access Control) whose intention is to discontinue the voice service in emergency (to avoid congestion) but continue the packet domain normally. I have not looked at DSAC on this blog but in LTE instead Service Specific Access Control (SSAC) is used since LTE is PS only. See the blog entry here.

Please feel free to add any more information on this topic in the comments.

Monday, 18 October 2010

TETRA Evolution

Couple of Interesting presentation on TETRA Evolution.





Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Emergency Phone Network enabled on the London Underground


Airwave has completed its deployment to all 125 below ground London Underground stations - within budget and ahead of schedule.

The complete roll out of the terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) network on the Tube means that British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police will now be able to use the same radios underground.

Police Minister Vernon Coaker welcomed the completion, saying the system was now fully functioning ahead of schedule, and would help frontline officers carry out the work they already do in tackling crime.

Tim O’Toole, managing director of London Underground, said the roll out was achieved five months ahead of schedule.

Airwave, a Macquarie investment fund venture, won the contract to provide access to its TETRA network in January 2007. The National Policing Improvement Agency managed the roll out, linking the emergency services to London Underground’s Connect digital radio system.

The Connect system forms part of a £10-billion investment programme by Transport for London. And the TETRA Tube roll out was initiated after the London Assembly called for improved public safety communications underground in its report into the 2005 London bombings.