On the flip side, public safety must engineer to extreme usage models to ensure capacity in times of greatest need. This is the best argument yet for local input and control of the design and build-out of private LTE networks.
There are also more predictable times when a private LTE network will be highly beneficial. For example, during a huge sporting event, the carrier covering the game with LTE might experience incredible loading, making it impossible for police to access the needed capacity. With private LTE, each local jurisdiction is given full control over its network so that big events — and the commercial usage spikes that may accompany them — will not affect the integrity of the public safety network.
A private LTE network for public safety also gives administrators the ability to prioritize users even within the public safety department. For example, a tactical unit commanding officer arriving at an incident scene could instantly receive the highest network access priority, while routine non-criticalaccess to the network would be reassigned to appropriate lower bandwidth or even preempted.
Keeping these examples in mind, the benefit of a private LTE network is deterministic, fast and reliable wireless data access that is prioritized for public safety’s specific needs and unaffected by a commercial carrier networks’ traffic. In many cases, it is important to also have access to public networks for comprehensive coverage and additional capacity, when necessary.
The broadband revolution
The public safety community is on the cusp of revolutionizing itself through technology and the United States is leading the world in this revolution. Moreover, the rest of the world is watching, learning and will ultimately follow our example.
Imagine the ability to transform first responders’ squad cars into full-scale communications centers or develop ruggedized vehicular modems that fit into the trunk of a squad car and can actually communicate with a wide variety of networks — from commercial LTE networks to Wi-Fi. Those devices hold huge promise in helping shape public safety communications in the years and decades to come.
Whether its purpose is for first responders or event security, the real-time solutions offered in video, telemetry, and analytical data can assist public safety professionals in new and beneficial ways.
From a public safety perspective, we are living in one of the most exciting and hopeful moments in our history. Private LTE networks offer the wireless communications foundation to support future applications and capabilities for public safety that we have yet to imagine, but that we know future innovations and advances in technology will deliver. The future of next-generation broadband/LTE has the potential to revolutionize public safety communications for generations to come.