Why 5GNR, mmWave and LTE need to collaborate to propel Public Safety into the 5G era

5G brings key differences from previous generations of mobile technology. It enhances capability, supports a greater range of applications, and with low latency and multi-gigabit throughput give faster, more reliable communications and better insight.

5G technology can extend existing licensed mobile standards as codified by the 3GPPP organisation, which has extended 4GLTE into 5GNR as the basis of most new smartphones for consumer applications, to the creation of ‘networks of networks’ for 5G vertical markets and use cases where existing wireless technologies are augmented to exploit newly released license-exempt mmWave spectrum at (57-71 GHz) to provide gigabit grade performance.

Therefore, the radio spectrum range of 5G frequencies available has extended considerably, opening up new opportunities for networks that do not always require licensed spectrum.

Transitioning from 4G to 5G

A key benefit is that 5G won’t disrupt existing applications that are improving public safety agency operations, streamlining workflows, and facilitating the delivery of critical information. In fact, 5G public safety applications will coexist with 4G LTE applications for many years, enabling a smooth and seamless transition from 4G LTE to 5G.

To prepare for the process of deployment, public safety organisations need to create a clear strategy for the adoption of and transition to full 5G capabilities. This requires an understanding of how the 5G standard is evolving and when it makes the most sense to onboard it for public safety.

Doing this will help drive the delivery of critical information, benefitting both security services and citizens. For example, the latest technology standards can support massive IoT capabilities that con provide multimedia quickly to first responders and real-time sensor data on environmental hazards.

The possibilities for public safety networks

With old and new systems in collaboration, we start to see the potential these 5G mmWave frequencies have for public safety. Take for instance the gigabit capability that allows link aggregation within private networks to bring together the feeds from high-res cameras and surveillance. In perimeter security or in a smart city application, this can combine multiple feeds without requiring expensive fibre optic connections to be installed. Additionally, the cameras are wireless so they can easily be moved around. This can be invaluable for public safety applications that may need to be relocated to deal with changing situations.

No longer do we have to rely on large masts and base stations with fixed point to point links. 5G networks can be easily and rapidly deployed, and using mmWave for the link aggregation back to the Internet, providing tremendous flexibility in the network implementation for public safety communication, smart city and perimeter security applications.

We won’t ever have to worry about not being able to connect while we’re out and about either as public authorities will be able to flexibly roll out networks throughout their cities. The emergency management systems that run behind the scenes to keep us safe will also avoid disruption or downtime thanks to the 5G mmWave technology’s capability of network slicing. Network slicing allows the same network infrastructure to provide end-to-end, separate virtual networks simultaneously, each with different performance specifications.

The everyday improvements we will come to rely on

On a day-to-day basis, connected streetlights (CSL) will replace traditional bulbs lining the streets. These will brighten as drivers or pedestrians pass by for better visibility and safety but will also dim themselves when not required in order to reduce electricity wastage.

5G will enable better command and control of beyond-line-of-site drones and other unmanned vehicles, allowing public safety operators to respond at pace and gain more situational awareness during emergencies.

With 5G connectivity we can create safer, healthier environments for citizens, and public safety operators can build infrastructures that allow services like these to thrive. The high frequencies and low power operation mean that mmWave can be difficult to intercept. 5G connectivity adds significant levels of security and network operators can also add security features on top.

Accessing high value solutions

Blu Wireless brings together the expertise in 5G mmWave signal processing, module and system design and implementation, network software and security into a vertically integrated solution. This unique expertise allows network operators to bring together equipment from various vendors and connect easily and reliably to the public networks. OpenRAN extends this even further, allowing radio equipment and software from different vendors to be combined effectively, giving private 5G network developers significantly more technology options.

If you would like to know more about our multi-gigabit mmWave systems and how collaboration will propel public safety into the 5G era, get in touch.