Investing in hybrid solutions: from narrowband to broadband network

Transformation from using narrowband PMR networks to 4G and in the future to 5G networks is well on its way. Network operators and user organisations are actively planning how to update their existing solutions to support the change while testing the next generation mobile devices and applications enabled by the broadband data.

 

Broadband and data applications

The benefits of broadband data and smart devices have clearly been acknowledged. The demand is rapidly increasing as:

  • Users want immediate access to information and same capabilities they have on their personal smartphones.

  • Applications such as video and images enhancing situational awareness are needed to protect the modern urbanised societies.

  • Governments want to invest into a future proof solution.

Jumping directly into LTE train sounds thrilling with its infinite possibilities. However, to guarantee mission-critical-operations a hybrid model will be adopted in many markets where the LTE broadband network will be taken in use step-by-step.

 

 Why hybrid networks?

There are many reasons why the broadband networks cannot yet fully replace the PMR networks in mission critical communication:

  • Today’s PMR networks offers users very reliable mission-critical voice services.

  • Standardisation work is still ongoing and once finalised need to be converted to products and implemented in LTE networks.

  • Network coverage, robustness and pre-emption features need to meet the critical communication requirements

  • Availability of secure, rugged mobile devices suitable for mission critical communication

  • Lack of DMO – radio subscribers in close range can communicate directly without the network.

 

 Conclusion

The availability of broadband data provides some clear benefits for critical communication users and professional organisations. However, in many cases the available PMR networks still have an edge when it comes to high-quality voice services, coverage, capacity and resilience.

By investing to a hybrid network structure and hybrid solutions operators and user organisations can immediately utilise the benefits of both worlds while secure their investments by having a future proof solution.