ETSI and TCCA to hold first interoperability trials for mission critical LTE
In partnership with the TCCA, the representative body for the global critical communications community, and supported by the European Commission, the ETSI Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) Plugtests™ event is the first step towards ensuring that equipment from different vendors designed to support mission-critical users will work together. It will be the first time that the interoperability of MCPTT products and services has been tested in Europe.
Push-to-Talk (PTT) is a standard feature of narrowband Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) technologies developed specifically for mission-critical communications. PTT enables near instantaneous group communications – a critical requirement in an emergency situation. To ensure that such capability is built in to LTE services, 3GPP has been catalysed by the work of the TCCA to ensure that LTE supports mission-critical communications, with MCPTT now specified in 3GPP Release 13.
The goal of the MCPTT Plugtests™ event is to validate the interoperability of different solutions using various scenarios and test cases. The tests will be based on 3GPP, ETSI and IETF standards, and are designed to trial independently and jointly all components of the MCPTT communication chain such as Group Call, Floor Control, Unicast and Multicast communication. To ensure the event runs smoothly, the ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability organized pre-testing sessions for about six weeks with 20 vendors. More than 100 combinations between the different participating companies will have been tested by the end of the event. The test specification includes 45 test cases and will be available after the event.
Interoperability and MCPTT service harmonization are critical challenges to be taken into account for the successful deployment and operation of mission-critical communication over LTE. All major players offering standards-based solutions within the MCPTT ecosystem have joined the event.
Although the PMR market shows no signs of slowing, mission-critical broadband LTE will offer complementary capabilities, and its market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent, from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $2.6 billion in 2020, according to IHS Market. Planned nationwide rollouts in the United States, South Korea, the UK, the Middle East and Asian countries are expected to trigger significant large-scale investments in mission-critical LTE.