There has been a lot of efforts been put in for Public Safety networks by both Standards and Operators. A public safety network is a wireless communications network used by emergency services organizations, such as police, fire and emergency medical services, to prevent or respond to incidents that harm or endanger persons or property.
Public safety networks are very important especially considering the dynamics of the Global security these days. Public safety or emergency network always had limited market and hence limited vendor scope. Even in the developed nations such as USA, First Net is still struggling to be deployed. Cost, Small Market opportunity or Politics?
Recently LTE has been considered the favorable technology for revamping the Public safety networks. 3GPP has been pushing in standards ( with/ from Rel 12.) and dedicated features such as Proximity services, group calls, Push to talk services to support all and new features of Tetra and P25 networks. Ecosystem for these networks not only requires Network Equipment but also Handsets and secure application layers and hence overall cost is high and the progress is slow.
Why Not Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi has always been always easy to be deployed and have been supporting Public safety and Emergency network’s Back-haul in some deployments. Wi-Fi is not only easy to deploy with its BYOD capabilities but also is present in each and every user device by default. Wi-Fi till now has been considered as a network for low density and local area deployments, but with 802.11ax Wi-Fi access network has a revamped and have enhanced scheduler.
Wi-Fi could and would be an easy to deploy and manage Public safety network. As discussed in our last blog, with new spectrum (6GHz) or dedicated licensed channel air marked for Public safety devices (mentioned in earlier blog ,with similar to CBRS approach). WLAN can be used for Public Safety and Emergency Networks. Without requiring costly and completely new Ecosystem for both network and devices, Wi-Fi can be used with 802.11ax standard with added application/access level security.
Hybrid solution more commercially viable
Not only this, Hybrid solution where single AP can transmit multiple channels/multiple access networks with both commercial and emergency networks. This makes the deployment faster and reach every corner of the geography. Hybrid solution makes it commercially viable as well. The partnership model can be used in areas such as Airports, Bus stops and Railway stations where many operators are already present with commercial, free or public Wi-Fi infrastructure, emergency networks can be share the infra and be present immediately.
Wi-Fi Integral part of Smart Cities
Wi-Fi is already deployed or would be deployed courtesy Smart cities initiative around the globe. Wi-Fi plays major role as access technology and even Government bodies are pushing Wi-Fi for all model via different initiatives. Indian government recently announced PDO ( Public Data offices ) model initiative as part of creating Wi-Fi as alternative access technology.
OTT makes Wi-Fi much more stronger alternative
With growth of OTT, applications people are dumping old way of communication such as SMS or Voice calls, most of us uses OTT apps or platforms to communicate. Even with cellular public safety networks special Push to Talk or High QOS based APPs are being considered for voice and video calls. Wi-Fi can also support the same. Higher QOS can be implemented for particular services/devices and channels to provide priority. With OTT Wi-Fi is a stronger contender as every thing is data now.
We will explore and try to push more on the subject of Wi-Fi for Public Safety and Emergency Networks
Key Features of Public Safety Wi-Fi Network
- Ease of deployment and use.
- Hybrid solution real possibility.
- Low cost and BYOD/ BYON concept.
- Already Mature Ecosystem for both devices and network
- Dedicated and Centrally managed channels ( in future with 6GHz/802.11ax)
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