Mission-critical services (MCS) – those used by police, fire and ambulance personnel when attending incidents – are predominantly served by private mobile radio (PMR) systems. While these provide efficient command-and-control voice services and short data messaging, they can’t support a full broadband service. This could support advances in the level of information and response the emergency services can provide, with things such as real-time video being sent to control rooms or mobile units to support diagnoses and deployment decisions.
With the recent advances in 3GPP standards, some MCS are now moving over to public 4G commercial operators. This paper assesses how those networks measure up to PMR in terms of availability, resilience, and control for mission-critical communications? It looks at the cardinal requirements for MCS: availability, resilience and control, and assesses these against the benefits that commercial 4G can bring.