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Posted 5 février 2016
In 2014, the European Commission published a study it has ordered from the British SCF Associates titled: “Is Commercial Cellular Suitable for Mission Critical Broadband? ”. This issue has been on the top lists of concerns for many countries (among which we find France and the USA) for a few years now, and all of which use Tetra or Tetrapol dedicated network types for critical communications. The need for a large communication broadband to integrate
additional services besides voice transmission (such as images, videos and data sharing) has led manufacturers to study the possibility for a standard LTE. Naturally, questions about investments have been raised and comparisons to commercial networks (3G/4G) have shed light on tremendous discrepancies in terms of usage costs disadvantaging current dedicated networks. That’s what has led Great-Britain to delegate to a private telecom operator the modernization and management of its critical communication system, used by the police and emergency services. Discussions are still open with the operator (which is working with a top IT manufacturer) for this solution to be fully operating. When it will be, lessons would then be learned from this experience. Yet, an important part of world States do not share this cost-centered unique vision, since a critical network, as stated by the abovementioned report, should be solid, reliable and offer a 99% network coverage of the considered territory, including tunnels, parking lots and other closed public areas. Difference in costs between a PMR dedicated network and a commercial one is assessed around -40%. It is quite obvious that this significant difference can make one think twice, and for their part, the world biggest critical radio communication manufacturers are working to reduce this gap by integrating LTE technologies. Currently, national civil protection and emergency services, and public departments (such as the Police) use these systems. In the near future, with 5G networks, the idea of “Smart cities” will lead these systems to manage intelligent rail or road transport communications. Driverless automated and guided cars that are starting to develop will need a large data bandwidth (1Gb/s), because of the important amount of data streams they will emit and receive. Sitting in a driverless vehicle, we would entrust our lives to the robot driving it, the captors that guide it and the data streams that flow up to the main command server and datacenters that will manage all of this. If, like the Australians in 2009 and people living in Tennessee in August 2015, you had the unfortunate experience to see the network covering what makes vehicles travel safely go off, what would happen then? Why would any vehicle stop instead of crashing against the one in front of it, being crashed by the one behind it or any other coming from another street at 120km/h? Is human life only worth a mercantile consideration or should the networks managing “smart cities” be as solid and reliable as current PMR dedicated services? These are some of the many questions world leaders would have to answer…
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