Next week, members of the Cobham Wireless team will touch down in Malaysia for Critical Communications World (CCW) 2019. An annual fixture in the telecoms calendar, and running for over 20 years, CCW is the flagship event of TCCA, a forum which brings together those interested in wireless comms in mission- or business-critical environments.
Public safety, old and new
As a global leader in public safety, Cobham’s equipment is currently serving some of the most challenging-to-connect in-building and outdoor environments, on a global scale. These include international airports, American high schools, some of the world’s longest subsea transport routes, and some of its oldest, deepest metro networks. As well, of course, as some of the world’s newest; last year marked the 100th deployment in China, delivering a critical comms solution on Beijing’s New Airport metro line.
From Beijing, to Kuala Lumpur, where Mohammad Hasan, Cobham’s Sales Director for MENA and Turkey, will be presenting one of our most recent idDAS success stories. So recent, in fact, that the light rail network in question isn’t scheduled to officially open until 2020, to coincide with a major sporting event taking place in its host city. Combining LTE, TETRA and P25, this is one of the largest public safety deployments in the world, with the new metro currently fitted out with more than 500 radio units, and further expansion planned.
Major events such as these put additional pressure on comms systems to scale rapidly and deliver capacity to massive crowds of phone users, whilst at the same time guaranteeing reliable coverage for the authorities whose job it is to keep them safe.
LTE for enhanced communication
The answer is LTE technology, which offers significant advantages over legacy TETRA systems. Both the US and the UK are on the path to rolling out nationwide LTE public safety networks which, when completed, will also allow users to share documents, images and video, rapidly and reliably, over a cellular connection.
What will this look like? Police officers will be able to live stream video footage from body-worn cameras to a central control room, or use biometric scanning at the scene of an incident. Paramedics will be able to share images and vital stats with doctors at the nearest hospital. And firefighters and search and rescue teams will be able to scan huge areas of land (where visibility is poor, or access is limited) via drone, without putting teams’ lives at risk.
The global picture
This paints an exciting picture for the future of public safety comms, however, the means of deployment and timescales involved will vary. FirstNet, for instance, plans to use dedicated spectrum (band 14 in 700MHZ), while ESN will predominantly utilise BT’s commercial wireless network, using spectrum at 800MHz. AT&T expects 80% of FirstNet to be completed by next year, while delays to ESN mean some first responders in the UK will be using the legacy TETRA network until 2023.
Deploying in-building public safety coverage also throws up regulatory challenges. Buildings in many areas of the US, for instance, must be fitted out with communications systems which comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Code guidelines.
That’s the West; how are things looking in the Eastern hemisphere, and in CCW 2019’s host country, Malaysia? Thailand and South Korea (always a front-runner in next-gen deployments) have already deployed private LTE networks for public safety, while Samsung and telco KT recently agreed a deal to deliver the ‘world’s first’ NB-IoT service over South Korea’s public safety network.
Malaysia, meanwhile, has allocated spectrum in the 800MHz band for LTE public safety networks, but, as with most countries, still relies on TETRA. Upgrading in-building public safety comms is not without its challenges – and outlay. This year’s CCW will therefore offer the perfect opportunity for delegates to address some of the most pressing concerns regarding public safety, and share their ideas and solutions for a safer future.
We hope to see you there!
HCOM Deploy Cobham idDAS for Doha Metro and Lusail LRT, takes place at the CCW Showcase Theatre, 3:15pm -4:00pm, on 19th June.
Cobham Wireless will be showcasing its wireless communications solutions and expertise in public safety network provision, on Stand C122.Back to blog list