Mission-critical communications have been transformed in recent years by an important technological evolution. With almost all countries still mainly providing voice and messaging over narrowband networks, LTE (long-term evolution) and 5G broadband technologies now offer significant performance upgrades for these services.
Given the strategic importance of secure professional communications, any transition from old to new technology must be done with a well-planned integration strategy. While digital narrowband DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) and TETRA offer undoubted reliability and cost advantages, broadband enables new services that require greater data transmission capacity, such as real-time videos. Furthermore, such transitions could also involve significant changes in organisations and in the development models of the networks themselves.
However, the communication needs in mission-critical activities cannot be driven exclusively by technology, as happens in the consumer market. This is because the operating procedures of these applications – developed over several years on narrowband technologies – are the drivers that optimise service performance. Therefore, interoperability with narrowband networks is fundamental for the transition to broadband with minimal impact.
For this reason, hybrid networks such as Leonardo’s RIM (Italian acronym for Multi-Carrier Hybrid Network) solution will play a key role for critical communications in the future. This is thanks to multi-technological infrastructures such as Leonardo’s Core Network CSP (Communications Service Platform), which supports integration and full interoperability with LTE/5G systems and allows the seamless adoption of new broadband technologies.
Leonardo’s latest solutions apply to hybrid networks for both narrowband and broadband communications components, expanding the already wide range of products for critical communications.
On the narrowband side, Leonardo is developing an evolution of its DMR solutions by creating the ECOS-E (Extended Communications System – Enhanced) family. Thanks to its innovative hardware architecture, the ECOS-E DTA7000 station retains the dynamic dual-mode capability of the previous model and ensures full interoperability with the devices of the ECOS-D generation.
The new DTA radio base stations have been designed to meet all the requirements for professional radio communication systems, and include innovative features such as digital signal synthesis, computing power and cyber-embedded protection (agent on board), with special attention to remote configurability and maintainability.
On the broadband side, Leonardo focuses its attention on service infrastructures, with the CSP-MCX product meeting the 3GPP MCPTT, MC Data and MC Video standards.
The cloud-based platform, which can support both commercial and private LTE networks, enables new advanced services such as real-time video streaming, multimedia messaging, file transfer and database access, as well as guarantees voice communications, and high quality multiple and push-to-talk services. CSP-MCX is supplied together with the APIs needed to develop new services by third parties and is already prepared for compatibility with 5G networks and devices.
CSP-MCX supports the interworking function to ensure interoperability with narrowband networks (LMR-IWF) according to the 3GPP standard.
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