There are lessons to be learned from the rebanding experience that should be avoided as the federal government embarks on a similarly challenging engineering project — the deployment of a nationwide public-safety broadband network using LTE in the 700 MHz band.
Assuming that standardized LTE is used in accordance with interoperability guidelines, real-world deployments can can provide valuable information that can be leveraged by FirstNet as it designs this much-anticipated network.
By David Kahn — Earlier this year I attended NIST’s 700 MHz Public Safety Broadband Demonstration Stakeholders Meeting, where very smart people presented their visions for the national LTE/4G network. However there seemed to be a few elephants in the room that largely were ignored.
Support for mission-critical LTE communications research became global when the Global Alliance of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials and TETRA Critical Communications Association announced joint support of first-responder LTE research being conducted in the U.S.
Some of those most instrumental in stating the case for public safety’s need for additional spectrum and funding have been left in a rather uncomfortable limbo while anxiously awaiting word from the nation’s capital about the next steps they should take.
Like most in the public-safety industry, none of the panelists expressed confidence about how long LMR and LTE systems will need to co-exist in the public-safety sector, but the general consensus was that it will be at least a decade.