New White Paper Explores MCPTT Interoperability
Friday, November 16, 2018 | Comments

Secure Chorus released a white paper called “Emergency Services Communications: Secure Chorus Compliant Products Interoperability with Mission-Critical Push-to-Talk Products” that examines the future of mission-critical push-to-talk interoperability (MCPTT).

Public-safety organizations and other relevant stakeholders more than ever have a pressing requirement for reliable secure and interoperable multimedia communications technologies to support their operational effectiveness and service delivery in disaster response scenarios such as natural and man-made crises.

The white paper discusses how — with commercial communications technology undergoing a complete transformation since the development of TETRA — user expectations of radio systems today are higher than ever, both in terms of functionality and reliability. TETRA, which was designed for voice communications, remains extremely reliable. But, it has limited capacity to handle the vast demands for data bandwidth created by today’s media-rich communications that have become essential in emergency response environments.

Commercial mobile network operators are now rapidly migrating to IP-based networks and are preparing for the rollout of 5G. This increased performance and added feature set of next-generation consumer mobile networks, including device-to-device (D2D) communications, means that many countries are examining the viability of using commercial mobile networks to provide increased capability and make the best possible use of radio frequencies in order to address the requirements of public-safety multimedia communications.

Historically, the lack of harmonization across the industry and the absence of interoperable solutions for public-safety use cases presented a barrier to the standardization of commercial networks for public-safety networks. Today, that is changing as standardization efforts for providing public-safety networks over 4G are currently being realized at an international level, coordinated by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), with the development of a family of standards for MCPTT, as well as mission-critical data and mission-critical video.

The white paper provides an overview of the MIKEY-SAKKE key management protocol, which was standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and chosen by 3GPP for use in the MCPTT standards. MIKEY SAKKE is well suited for technology products for emergency services organizations and other stakeholders that may have slightly different communications requirements but may still need to communicate securely with other emergency services agencies from time to time.

While 3GPP has developed the MCPTT standards to create a common set of interoperability standards for use within public-safety scenarios, one further key requirement for a secure multimedia communications ecosystem for the public-safety community is that any stakeholder can securely communicate with any other stakeholder in that community. This must hold true even if one such stakeholder isn’t a typical user of an MCPTT-approved product.

The paper highlights how Secure Chorus compliant products can interoperate with the push-to-talk (PTT) products developed specifically for public safety due to their adoption of the MIKEY-SAKKE protocol.

Secure Chorus is a not-for-profit organization that serves as a platform for multistakeholder cooperation for the development of forward-looking strategies, common technology standards and tangible capabilities in the field of information security.

Find the white paper here.

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