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SLA said it plans to release a mission-critical version of its ESChat push-to-talk (PTT) product that will support Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-defined mission-critical PTT (MCPTT) features and interoperate with third-party MCPTT application servers and clients. 3GPP finalized the first MCPTT features in Release 13 earlier this year.
Several U.S. public-safety early builder network demonstrations in recent months have included ESChat, a carrier-independent, secure PTT over Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform. ESChat is available through SLA’s General Services Administration (GSA) contract and is sold by U.S carriers Verizon Wireless and AT&T as well as numerous LMR radio vendors.
SLA’s Mission Critical ESChat (MC-ESChat) will maintain compatibility with existing cloud and private ESChat servers and will interoperate with 3GPP compliant application servers from all MCPTT vendors. The mission-critical version of ESChat adds capability for users to operate on any First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) MCPTT application server while maintaining ESChat’s carrier-independent secure PTT service, a statement said.
In terms of time frame, most MCPTT features are dependent on the LTE networks. Features such as multicast, isolated E-UTRAN operation for public safety (IOPS) and proximity services (ProSe) are expected in late 2017 and 2018. Other features such as dynamic quality of service (QoS) and support for the MCPTT air interface are available now, SLA President Josh Lober said.
ESChat also offers a Project 25 (P25) Inter RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI) interface to P25 radio networks hosted locally or in the cloud. The ESChat implementation of the ISSI interface supports multiple call types between the LTE and P25 networks including private and group calls, emergency calls and systemwide display of P25 and LTE unit IDs. ESChat is enhancing its ISSI offering to include the ability for the ESChat users to also view the location of P25 radio users, a statement said.
“Using ESChat on the band 14 public-safety broadband networks has provided valuable insight to better serve first responders as they develop their FirstNet deployment strategies,” Lober said. “As public-safety agencies begin the process of augmenting their LMR networks and/or transitioning toward LTE-based MCPTT, Project 25 (P25) to LTE integration will play a key role in ensuring a smooth transition.”
ESChat also plans to participate in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) first MCPTT Plugtests event that will allow MCPTT vendors to test MCPTT system interoperability.
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