Commercial mobile network operators are now rapidly migrating to IP-based networks and are preparing for the roll-out of 5G. The increased performance and added feature-set of next generation consumer mobile networks, including device-to-device communication, 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 to address the requirements of public safety multimedia communications.
Public safety communications systems are typically based on an implementation of TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio) or P25. TETRA is a European Telecommunications Institute Standard
(ETSI) first published in 1995, whilst P25 was developed in the USA by APCO – the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials at around the same time. Although TETRA provides a multitude of essential functionality to its users in public safety, its extensibility to match the modern demands and requirements of its users is limited. P25 has a more limited feature set than TETRA.
The growth of 4G networks against the backdrop of TETRA’s limited extensibility offers an opportunity today for new approaches leveraging commercial infrastructure. When it was designed , TETRA was developed with a number of unique and innovative features of specific use to public safety applications that are still in use today: