LMR to MCPTT Interworking Architecture Completed at March 3GPP Meetings
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | Comments

The architecture for interworking between mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT) and legacy LMR systems was completed and approved at the latest Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) meetings 19 – 23 March in Chennai, India.

The Service and System Aspects (SA) plenary completed the remaining work on the Stage 2 architecture development technical specification for LMR and MCPTT interworking, said Dean Prochaska, director of standards for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), in a blog.

The LMR to MCPTT interworking project was granted an exception at the last plenary meeting to continue the work for a few more months, and the extension allowed delegates to complete all planned Release 15 Stage 2 work. However, it will be challenging to complete all work on the suite of LMR interworking specifications by the original target date of June 2018, Prochaska said.

Work also continued on re-naming the mission-critical specifications to remove the limiting “over Long Term Evolution (LTE)” wording so existing specifications can be reused for 5G and future generations. Renaming Stage 1 specifications was completed at the last plenary meeting, and some initial Stage 2 mission-critical specifications changes on titles and references were completed. This work will continue because Stage 2 contains more detailed technical design specifications that will take more time to evaluate and modify to generalize beyond LTE.

In addition, new Stage 2 studies have commenced on enhancing both location services and the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) architecture for 5G. These two study items are important to address public-safety needs for location-based services as well as to improve the IMS core performance, a key element in the mission-critical services architecture.

The Core Network and Terminals (CT) plenary focused on the progress of Release 15 work items, and although the primary focus was 5G, work items related to public safety were included. For example, the Stage 3 work for Release 15 enhancements on MCPTT, mission-critical video (MCVideo), and mission-critical data (MCData) is in progress with varying degrees of completion. Release 15 also includes the new item on interworking with legacy LMR, but because Stage 2 for this project was extended by three months, no work has occurred in Stage 3 yet.

“CT continues to have challenging schedules and resource constraints, so we are working closely with our standards counterparts to ensure that steady progress continues on public-safety work,” Prochaska said.

The Radio Access Network (RAN) plenary worked on all outstanding work items to ensure completion of 5G specifications. The Stage 3 specifications for non-standalone 5G new radio (NR) were completed last December.

Discussions involved the timeline for developing specifications to support the already agreed upon 5G standalone architectural options. These architecture options consist of combinations of LTE or NR connecting with next-generation (NG) core networks using a single mode radio. This work remains on schedule for completion by June.

During the meeting, discussion also took place around standardization for additional non-standalone architectural options. These options allow both NR and LTE working together with a 5G Core, but it will require a dual-mode radio.  The development plan for these options was agreed upon, and the work is expected to be completed by December 2018.

Release 15 is in the final stages of completion, and the requirements drafting for Release 16 has already begun. While 5G NR is developing fast, considerable resources will be spent on further enhancing LTE and its features. LTE will continue to evolve in Release 16 to offer upgrades of services such as:

• Uplink enhancement for fixed wireless links

• Narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT)/enhanced machine-type communications (eMTC) enhancements

• Extreme long-range coverage

• Further enhancements for aerial vehicles

The full blog on the meetings is here.

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