Nokia, SK Telecom tout portable LTE network for public safety

SK Telecom and Nokia's new portable LTE network for public safety is small enough to fit into a backpack. Image credit: SK Telecom

SK Telecom and Nokia announced they have successfully developed a mission-critical LTE system for first responders, a portable all-in-one Public Safety-LTE (PS-LTE) network system that’s small enough to fit into a backpack.

The system is equipped with all the elements required for mobile telecommunications, complete with a base station (eNB), switching system and push-to-talk (PTT) technologies to instantly create an independent communications network for public safety workers and others responding to emergencies.

This isn’t the first time Nokia has boasted about its LTE technology for public safety. Last year, it announced that its end-to-end LTE-based solution offered high bandwidth and high reliability for disaster-level operational capabilities with low latency.

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Now Nokia and SK Telecom are saying they were able to realize the world’s first portable all-in-one PS-LTE network by applying Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technologies to the core network elements and PTT solutions to fit them into a small rectangular-shaped server. The existing portable LTE systems were only composed of a base station, and thus still needed to be connected to a backhaul network.

Moreover, they said the newer system offers scalability as it can add other communication solutions, such as group messaging, needed by public service agencies. The system's network provides coverage of up to five kilometers and accommodates up to 400 users. Its set-up time takes less than three minutes.

SK Telecom plans to conduct a trial for the portable LTE system within this year and to actively use the system to expand a national disaster safety wireless network and maritime project by 2017.

In the U.S., Nokia is a part of a team that has proposed to provide a nationwide, 700 MHz network dedicated to public safety as part of the FirstNet project. Called Rivada Mercury, the team also includes Rivada Networks, Ericsson, Harris Corporation, Intel Security, Fujitsu Network Communications and Black & Veatch.

Rivada Mercury said one of its key differentiators is the use of Rivada’s pioneering Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage (DSA) technology that enables the dynamic selling of excess critical-grade network capacity to commercial tenants without risk of interfering with first responders’ broadband access. They said the use of DSA will give public safety the ability to share and allocate bandwidth among enterprise tenants.

Last month, AT&T said it had submitted a bid for the FirstNet business, bringing the number of announced bidding teams to at least three – a company led by several former Nextel executives, pdvWireless, also has said it wants in on the FirstNet action.

For more:
- see this Korea Herald article

Related article:
Nokia aims to prove pre-5G is ready for commercialization

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