Q&A e-TBS

weightwelloffMobile - Wireless

Dec 12, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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ETELM’s e
-
TBS
Q&A

1.

Why is the e
-
TBS

significant to LTE development?

The e
-
TBS is the first critical communications technology to FULLY integrate into the LTE network
architecture without any gateway device. This is important as it means that the same LTE


Evo
lved Packet
Core, or backhaul network can be used for both LTE eNodeB cells and TETRA
e
-
TBS

cells, simultaneously

using the standard LTE


S1 connection
.
The
e
-
TBS

contains full Mobility Management in an identical way to
LTE mobiles, but the system ha
s a fully distributed database that translates TETRA subscriber identities
directly to LTE mobile identities, so any LTE mobile may make or receive calls directly to TETRA subscribers
and vice
-
versa. Similarly calls can be made between any TETRA or LTE Sub
scriber and the existing Control
Centres


so there is no need to replace all of the e
xpensive communication control and

dispatching
centres.


e
-
TBS and eN
odeB may

be mixed in order to optimize the

core
network

architecture, taking benefit of the
larger

ra
dio coverage offered by TETRA and the higher speed offered by LTE.


In addition there is a big debate, regarding spectrum availability for LTE (
1.4MHz to 2
0MHz) and much
lobbying is being done with local regulators to identify spectrum that can be released
. There is a great deal
of uncertainty particularly in Europe as to whether spectrum can be made available specifically for
Emergency Services, let alone other Mission Critical Users. So e
-
TBS provides a solution where mission
critical systems maybe fully
integrated into private or public LTE systems, retain the critical voice and data
services, whilst enabling seamless communications between the two technologies and get
ting

the benefit
of broadband data services
of LTE.

In North America where LTE spectrum
has already been allocated for
Emergency Services, then they may deploy their own
LTE system with the benefit of
using the same
backhaul with a fully integrated mission critical system for voice
,

and wider coverage narrowband data.


2.

Will organisations
really be happy to open up their critical communications to a public network?

The mission critical user


such as Emergency Services, Airports, Railways, Utilities etc., have very unique
communications requirements, and remain nervous of outsourcing their
communications services to the
commercial sector. Before they can consider such an approach they must be absolutely sure that their
demands for reliability,

redundancy and functionality must be met. Indeed it is unlikely due to the nature of
their ever
-
cha
nging communication needs that they can give full control of their communications to any
third party.


The e
-
TBS provides a perfect solution, it provides the ability for two systems to co
-
habit the same network,
providing seamless communications where requ
ired; but the user may administer and control their mission
critical functionalities, whilst adding the benefits of new data and Voice applications with LTE by working
with the operators. In addition for existing users there are significant benefits of com
bining the backhaul
communications, and by working closely with public operators the redundancy and service levels may be
agreed without enormous additional investments.


3.

Why has ETELM developed this before other better known companies?

ETELM has a pragmat
ic but dynamic approach to
its

customers, and a
s a technology driven company it is
able

to respond to the demands of its users

far quicker
. It does assume that
it

can dictate the direction of
the
Users t
echnology

choice
,
after all

they

understand their ope
rational needs

better than any
manufacturer.
ETELM

believe
s

tha
t
i
t

is essential

for emergency services and mission critical users to gain
access to the same or better functionality
than the commercial market, so it

believe
s

that by embracing
the
advantage
s of
LTE and converg
ing

with the benefits of TET
RA Mission Critical technologies
the U
ser

has the
best of both worlds in one complete system. The cost advantages of an integrated core backhaul network
and retaining existing subscribers is enormous.


4.

Where
does ETELM expect to sell the e
-
TBS?

Ultimately the e
-
TBS approach is addressing is
sues in several different areas


the benefits may be accrued
by Users, Network Operators or Manufacturers of Cell Site Equipment; they include but are not limited to:

1. Br
idging the critical voice c
ommunication gap between TETRA and

LTE

2. Bridging the High Speed Data

communication gap between LTE and

TETRA

3
. Offering a “last
-
mile” solution where frequency availability, or low traffic density does not allow
broadband servi
ces to become viable

4
.
A solution

for both private and/or public

services with
clearly
defined functionality service levels

and
responsibilities

5. Retention of any existing subscriber investments

6. Amalgamation of backhaul into LTE Core, providing addit
ional service revenue streams for operators or
maximising investments for private systems


5.

Is the product fully developed and available?

Yes
,

e
-
TBS

is fully developed and operatio
nal. I
n

fact even before the official launch
ETELM spoke
with
several users a
nd manufacturers about pilot systems, and test platforms for existing LTE
manufacturers’

core networks. Furthermore, existing ETELM TETRA customers with recent version hardware, may upgrade
existing equipment to full LTE inte
gration with a software upgrade
.


6.

Why should people come to ETELM for such a critical network purchasing decision?

ETELM i
s a technology specialist company

with a proven track record for developing advanced digital
communications infrastructure. It has

core expertise in communica
tions and software development along
with
full manufacturing
of the e
-
TBS product in France. For the e
-
TBS
its

principle is to
supply the system
and
transfer its

technology

knowledge

to

local specialist organisations, global manufacturers and operators
abl
e to provide all the necessary support for implementation and long term maintenance.


ETELM

envisage
s

that the e
-
TBS will become more an OEM technology whereby it becomes a component of
a much larger network and i
n t
his case the implementation will be LTE
Manufa
cturers, l
arge

scale s
ystems
Integrators and Network Operators


the structure is open to further discussion based on the scale of
deployment but could range from equipment supply, to a license agreement for manufacturing.



The company is

also aware

of engaging with industry bodies and communications revie
w committees to
ensure that they are fully aware of the benefits of the e
-
TBS solution.


7.

Since ETELM supplies TETRA are you offering TETRA 2 [TEDS]

ETELM’s

sy
stem is TEDS ready; so where its custome
rs require an upgrade it
can offer

an upgrade path.
However it is

not convinced that any benefits to be gained with upgrading or installing
TEDS can be
justified, so it is

yet to be convinced that TEDS is a viable option for users.


The data improvement is

still in the narrowband (from 28.8kb/s of TETRA to between 50 and 200 kb/s with
TEDS), but in order to achieve this requires significant investment in additional infrastructure


approx
imately

twice the number of TETRA cell sites, plus the additional bac
khaul required for linking these
sites
!

Furthermore, every subscriber will need to be replaced to operate on
this new network, the costs of
which cannot be under
-
estimated.

Overall the investment is significant but the gain in bandwidth remains
minimal


the data bandwidth is insignificant when compared to the broadba
nd speeds that LTE can offer.


e
-
TBS offers the best of both technologies in a single, fully integrated network architecture. Existing sites,
backhaul and subscribers can be retained and the
users can add high speed data application whilst keeping
reliable mission critical communications services.


8.

Is e
-
TBS just a TETRA technology? Many Mission Critical Users use other PMR technologies


eg P25 or
DMR; can the same technology be used with non
-
TETRA systems?

Yes. ETELM has designed the LTE engine within the e
-
TBS to be portable. So the same technology may be
migrated to a different radio technology in the form of a Software Development Kit [SDK], enabling this
technology to be connected to LTE i
n exactly the same way. Although ETELM has traditionally
manufactured TETRA infrastructure we are happy to work with other manufacturers of different
te
chnologies to provide the e
-
TBS

SDK to enable seamless communications in the same way between say
P25 or DMR and LTE.


9.

How do you see Users benefiting from using this integrated TETRA + LTE Solution

Users require high speed data and must plan to ensure that they have access to at least
the same
bandwidth as the commercial market. I
t

is simply not reasonable to expect that our public safety
organisations have to wait for such data services, or have to live with kb/s data when potential threats have
access to MB/s data capability.

For this

reason we must help to offer a solution that allows seamless
migration and implemen
tation of high speed data TODAY.
e
-
TBS offers this and also removes concerns
regarding operator or user
-
owned systems. Examples:

EXAMPLE 1: e
-
TBS + LTE for
Public Safety:

1
.
TETRA for Life Safety Communications


voice + narrowband data

2.
LTE for Situational Awareness

Applications



high sp
eed incident video
, biometric data etc.

3.
Vehicle Based Broadband Data

4.
Portable subscribers with Critical Communications Capability

5.
Retain control of Life Safety Communications

6.
Work with operators for
VPN Data Services for

Situational Awareness Applications



Incident Video etc.

7.
TETRA Wider coverage for rural areas and where private LTE Spectrum not available


Benefits:

Reta
in ownership & control of mission critical services, where private frequencies or budgets demand they
can deploy situational awareness applications immediately. Retain TETRA sites, simply replacing the RF
carriers with e
-
TBS, retain all TETR
A subscribers.

R
etain Communication Control & Dispatch Centre equipment and avoid staff retraining etc. Gain
experience of arranging SLAs with operators without risking dependency for critical communications.

Fully integrated solution today, no need to wait for changes s
pectrum or technical functionality.


EXAMPLE 2: e
-
TBS + LTE for Airports:

Most of the above issues are the same. Many large Airports use a TETRA network for low rate
data
services
(
critical
audio communications and status/SDS) plus added WiFi services,
for large data exchanges i.e.
airplane maintenance, ..
. Unfortunately,
many

problems
have been
experienced

using WiFi; particularly
when
there are too many people sharing this communication system in an airport, so the bandwidth is
dramatically affected
when most needed. Migrating WiFi to LTE could be the right way


but that involves
deploying and managing two different radio systems. e
-
TBS offers the possibility to get a single backhaul
system for the TETRA and the LTE system. Mobile fleets and frequenc
ies are preserved, the LTE core is
introduced and then, LTE eNodeB’s m
ay be added in sensitive areas.


10.

There are other solutions for TETRA & LTE starting to be released, how does the ETELM Solution
compare?

The ETELM Solution is direct, and it is none prop
rietary; so the e
-
TBS resides directly on the LTE Core EPC
and the subscriber management is FULLY distributed. The alternatives are not so elegant and are limited in
terms of functionality, they include:

a)

A Gateway solution

As

with any gateway solution there are limitations, of course it is possible to implement a simple gateway
to allow calls; however this results in severe limitations in functionality and introduces maintenance and
single points of failure into any network. A
lthough it may be a very short term approach, it does not offer
any medium or long term solution.


b)

TETRA over LTE

This solution also employs gateways and is dedicated to specific vendor’s portables and infrastructure. The
whole principle of TETRA & LTE
is to be an open standard; in this case it is dangerous to implement bespoke
functionality that is dedicated to specific vendor

s basestation equipment or specific vendor

s subscriber
devices. ETELM is a strong advocate of completely open systems that do n
ot attempt to lock Users into
specific vendors, as this limits competition and ultimately removes the drivers for technology improvement.
The ETELM e
-
TBS is completely integrated into any LTE Core network and connects using the LTE standard
S1 interface so

gives Users and Operators the flexibility to mix their LTE eNodeB’s and LTE subscriber
equipment.

Furthermore our solution is based on the principle of retaining existing technology investment and
integrating additional LTE services, we believe this is t
he lowest risk strategy for any User to future proof
their technology.


c)

Unified Solution (TETRA & LTE Cell Sites)

Typically this solution involves combining LTE & TETRA basestation equipment into a single cell site, and
combining the RF equipment for bo
th technologies. There are two forms of this approach: first is the ‘AND’
solution with a TETRA basestation installed within an LTE basestation, second is the ‘OR’ solution with a
base station which may be configured as either a TETRA or an LTE one.

Again

t
his approach has limitations;

in case 1, all of the equipment must be in the same fre
quency range,
meaning that there

are severe frequency spectrum limitations and the RF equipment extremely expensive.
Since TETRA has a wider coverage footprint it is mor
e likely that TETRA will be deployed in sites where LTE
cannot obtain frequencies or is not commercially viable, so configuring the basestation
as TETRA in case 2 is
an option. However,

by including both options the costs are also higher.

The ETELM e
-
TBS
provides a much better solution


where a site requires both LTE & TETRA cells, then e
-
TBS’s may be installed alongside the LTE eNodeB’s
,

sharing the site facilities s
uch as masts and power
supplies. H
owever the e
-
TBS may be in any TETRA frequency and the
LTE eNodeB in any LTE frequency; also
the e
-
TBS may be installed completely independently of any LTE site but still connect to the LTE core
backhaul and giving full communications to the LTE system.