Task Force to Address Mission-Critical Broadband Device Certification
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | Comments

The Global Certification Forum (GCF) and TCCA announced a joint task force that will move certification forward for mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT), mission-critical data (MCData) and mission-critical video (MCVideo) implementations. The initial actions of the task force will be completed during the first half of 2020.

Without an agreed interoperability testing and certification system in place, each mission-critical service provider will have to test all relevant elements and their interactions thoroughly, resulting in the same tests being done for the same elements at multiple locations. This means extra costs to suppliers, operators and users. Beyond that, the vendors may implement different variants of the same products with the corresponding need to maintain them.

The task force will look at the availability of suitable conformance test equipment for mission-critical products; enabling a certification process to be developed with inputs from vendors, users and operators of mission-critical networks; ensuring end-to-end interoperability and security of mission-critical products (devices and servers), applications, services and networks; and the management and governance of the joint certification.

The broadband certification process will be an evolution of both TCCA’s TETRA interoperability and certification process (IOP), which was developed to enable an open multivendor market for TETRA equipment and systems, and GCF’s certification for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G devices. A multivendor market gives valuable benefits for users in terms of a wide portfolio of compatible equipment, competitive pricing and rapid development of new product models, and to the industry in terms of a wider accessible market, faster market take-up and better possibilities for investment in new developments.

“Today’s news confirms the importance of mission-critical devices, networks and services as part of GCF’s overall certification program,” said Lars Nielsen, CEO at GCF. “A device that meets all certification requirements for the technology bands and features it supports, gives confidence that everything possible has been done by the manufacturer to guarantee delivery of the highest quality of service for users. This is of paramount importance within the realms of public safety, and we look forward to rolling out the testing and certification specifics with TCCA during the coming year.”

The task force, open to members from both GCF and TCCA, has support from the following organizations: Airbus, Alea, Anritsu, Dekra, Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB), du, Ericsson, German Federal Agency for Public Safety Digital Radio (BDBOS), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), French Gendarmerie, Frequentis, Huawei, Hytera, IoTAS, Keysight, Leonardo, Motorola Solutions, MultiTech, Nemergent Solutions, Orange, Police Netherlands, Pro-M, Samsung, SmartViser, Sprint, Suomen Erillisverkot, Swissphone, Telecom Italia, U.K. Home Office, Umlaut, University of the Basque Country and Zetron.

“GCF’s experience and knowledge of the mobile industry and TCCA’s long-established expertise in critical communications bring complementary strengths together,” said TCCA Chief Executive Tony Gray. “We look forward to working with GCF to lead the development and implementation of testing and certification processes for the benefit of the mission-critical broadband user community worldwide.”

GCF and TCCA have collaborated since February 2017 to encourage the use of GCF-certified products in mission-critical Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployments. In addition, GCF implemented a new member category called “mission-critical operator” in anticipation of enabling the operators and authorities of critical communications services to engage with and drive GCF certification in this area.

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