As increasingly mobile society relies less on the traditional landline, the public safety sector is faced with issues that can impact quality of life. As local and state governments work out the infrastructure that can lead to better E911 services, the first responders themselves are also working to adapt to more modern equipment that can give them better information that will assist them in more efficiently providing public safety.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) white paper, Public Safety LTE, A How-to Guide (US, FirstNet Edition), highlights that while emergency responders, which includes the fire and police departments as well as the ambulance services in a given area, once relied almost solely on push-to-talk communications devices. But the push-to-talk infrastructure does not offer any level of interoperability with broadband services. In fact, the service is for voice only, so no visual information can be shared.
To deliver a better means of communication, mobile broadband networks such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) are needed. The information shared between first responders sometimes requires more bandwidth than the average mobile signal. LTE (News - Alert) systems allow public safety officials to share real-time video, maps or blueprints of buildings that they need to more effectively perform in rescue situations.
LTE in public safety uses allows not only the sharing of bandwidth-intensive information, but it can be done with an added layer of security. Firefighters and other public safety officials working their way through an intense emergency situation in a high-rise building can stream video to mission control where commanders can assess the next move. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated that LTE be the spectrum for public safety uses.
What LTE brings to the public safety table is total interoperability as well as built-in roaming capabilities and a quality of service toolbox that delivers priority access mechanisms for communication and quality of service applications. Public safety divisions are going with LTE to give them IP-based infrastructure that is not only geographically redundant, but offers single points of failure reduction capabilities.
Public safety departments are relying on LTE to provide low latency and low cost with speeds far greater than 3G. LTE also integrates with narrowband radio networks and makes the possibility of a private network much more doable. LTE is not only granting public safety officials with a simplified IP architecture, it’s letting applications with multimedia content pass from user to user with ease and reliability.
Public safety LTE is bringing state-of-the-art infrastructure and processes into the communication system of the people the public depends on in times of life or death. As more communities embrace LTE, the safer their citizens will be.
To that end, Alcatel-Lucent is offering next generation solutions that allow for the streamlined build out of LTE services to meet a growing demand. In the process, carriers are developing the necessary solutions to support those devices and communications that rely on increased bandwidth and network availability.
Edited by Peter Bernstein