Selex Introduces TETRA to LTE Transition Platform
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Comments

The trend for many suppliers in the European and Asian TETRA markets is to develop technologies to bridge the transition from narrowband voice systems to broadband data. To that end, Selex ES launched a technology platform to integrate different IP-based technologies.

Aimed at managing different technologies seamlessly, the Perseus product platform includes two elements, the first of which is a new TETRA core that can integrate Long Term Evolution (LTE) users.

“We are able to manage properly the new users and users who belong to new technologies,” said Mauro Giacobbe, Selex vice president of marketing for homeland security for the security and smart systems division. “We can set up services that include users who belong to different technologies with a group call.”

The second item is an LTE evolved packet core (EPC) designed to host a limited number of users compared with commercial LTE cores. The product is targeted at TETRA operators who are offering mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services.

“We are talking tens of thousands of users, so we developed our own LTE core network to manage this properly for professional users,” he said. “We can manage MVNO solutions. The platform manages the users through a dedicated core network.”

In Europe, public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) broadband spectrum has not yet been allocated. One business model is an MVNO service where TETRA operators partner with a commercial operator for broadband services but tailor the service with mission-critical features such as security and group communications that PPDR users require.

At the device level, the Perseus suite includes an application that can be downloaded to a smartphone or other mobile device. The app provides push to talk (PTT) and pre-emption and other features similar to features in a TETRA terminal. The security is dependent on the underlying network that the user operates on.

Selex also plans to release a new dual TETRA and LTE terminal and mobile wireless router that can work in a moving vehicle. The devices can select the best communications network and switch from LTE to TETRA, for example, when LTE coverage is no longer available, all without closing the data session.

Selex is in the process of deploying a TETRA network integrated with a commercial LTE network in Milan, Italy, for the Milan Expo 2015. The company is also seeing interest in the Middle East for a combined PMR/broadband solution.

Giacobbe said for analog or TETRA networks that aren’t native IP technology, gateways can be deployed to link IP with the other technologies. “We developed the Perseus suite especially looking at interoperability,” he said.

Other vendors that have developed solutions for the TETRA to LTE transition and for public-safety MVNO services on commercial LTE networks include Airbus Defence and Space and ETELM, among others. Airwave, which announced a U.K. public-safety MVNO service last month, declined to disclose the vendors it is working with. 

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