Mission Critical Communications 2019 - Year in Review

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Mission Critical Communications 2019 - Year in Review

Standardisation work on mission-critical communications within 3GPP has been gaining significant momentum both for public safety and their applicability across a range of vertical sectors. Here, we take a look back at some of the 2019 milestones. 

Evolution of 3GPP MCX standards

  • 3GPP continued to advance standards for the global MCX industry. Multiple enhancements were made in the standard for group management, service migration and system interconnections.
  • 3GPP’s standard was also broadened to address railway-specific requirements.
  • The work on implementation of LMR/MCX interconnect (so called stage 3) was completed.
  • Important work was done in 3GPP to ensure that MCX requirements are fully supported in the design of 5G networks, including critical items such as direct mode, mobile broadcase and quality indicators. 
  • Work underway on Isolated Operations (IOPS), with discreet listening and logging and location management expected inclusion in Release 17. 

Nations and initiatives leading the way - notable developments

  • In the U.S., AT&T continues the FirstNet core network buildout, with its MCPTT (mission-critical push to talk) service expected in early 2020. 
  • In the UK, the Home Office continues with the implementation of its MCX-based ESN network. 
  • In Finland, work began to define the functionality of the country's next-generation public safety network called Vivre 2.0 based on MCX technology. 
  • In South Korea, Hanswell's fixed dispatcch and communications terminals for the National Police Agency marks a first step towards a country-wide deployment of MCX technology for First Responders. The move to MCX technology by public authorities will be followed by deployment to the firefighter community in line with South Korea's national policy to transfer public safety communications to broadband technologies. 
  • The Pan-European project Broadway (Horizon 2020) entered the request for proposal (RFP) stage. 

Interoperability of MCX products and services

ETSI’s MCX Plugtest #4 in Kuopio, Finland in September 2019 saw more than 30 vendors undergoing numerous interoperability testing scenarios as defined in the ETSI test plan and covering MCX functionality up to Release 15. Testing scenarios included MCPTT, MCVideo, MCData, eMBMS (evolved multimedia multicast service), and encrypted group communications in multi-vendor scenarios.


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