New White Paper Outlines Mission-Critical Broadband Interoperability Essentials
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | Comments

TCCA published a white paper outlining the requirements, status and steps needed to be taken within the sector to create a process to certify mission-critical broadband solutions.

The advances in the standardization of critical broadband and the increasing adoption of 4G-based services by critical users are catalyzing the requirement for interoperability certification, the association said. A multivendor market benefits users with a broad product portfolio of compatible equipment, competitive pricing and rapid entry of new product models and to the industry with a wider accessible market, faster market take-up and better directed investment in new product developments.

To meet this crucial requirement, various initiatives such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Plugtests, conformance testing, and software and product interoperability testing are needed. Users and service providers require products to conform to Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards and need to be able to procure functions and features in a multivendor business environment where products are interoperable.

“TCCA’s TETRA IOP (interoperability certification process) has been running successfully for more than 20 years and will continue to do so,” said Jeppe Jepsen, TCCA board co-vice chair and director of broadband spectrum. “The IOP environment for critical broadband however is very different, as the hardware and software are separated — both on the infrastructure and on devices. This means different business models and new complexities that the sector will need to negotiate, and we encourage all interested parties to offer their support.”

A mission-critical broadband solution using a commercial service requires a mission-critical radio network capable of a high degree of availability, priority, pre-emption, trusted security and extensive coverage — a hardened network. Once that is in place, mission-critical services can be added to the radio network. Mission-critical services can in principle be provided on a radio network that is not hardened, but the service is then not mission critical. The paper outlines what can be certified by a TCCA process and what needs to be certified by each individual service provider.

Last week, 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.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology awarded funding to facilitate certification. The University of the Basque Country in Spain was chosen to develop a test simulator during the next two years.

The next face-to-face ETSI MCX Plugtests event is being planned for the April to May 2020 timeframe, although the location has not yet been confirmed.

The paper, titled “Introduction to Mission Critical Service Interoperability,” is here.

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