TCCA issues Mission Critical Broadband Applications Advisory Guide

Wednesday 13 April 2022:  The increasing use of broadband applications by first responders to augment existing mission critical voice and narrowband data services is catalysing a focus on the quality of ‘mission critical’ applications. Unlike consumer apps, mission critical apps need to achieve end-to-end mission critical Quality of Service (QoS) levels in terms of priority, pre-emption, availability, security and resilience. This means that their successful deployment and management is a complex task. A new advisory white paper from TCCA looks at the key considerations that must be taken into account when developing and deploying true mission critical applications, with the emphasis on the user experience being of paramount importance.

TCCA’s white paper highlights that a standards-based approach is essential to help ensure interoperability, a multi-vendor choice of products, and a thriving ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders. Public Protection and Disaster Recovery (PPDR) organisations should insist on compliance with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications for mission critical services.

“To be truly mission critical, applications must rely on an end-to-end ecosystem that can support the necessary QoS to ensure user trust,” said Tim Clark from Motorola Solutions. Tim led the taskforce within TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group (CCBG) that authored the white paper.  “From secure hosting environments for the application servers, through the transport and cellular networks to the devices and their associated operating systems, each needs to be mission critical in its own right.”

To do their job effectively, first responders will typically require both mission critical and non-mission critical applications to be used on the same device. The white paper considers the use and potential misuse of device resources and how they are shared between the applications running on the device. As mission critical applications may depend upon services provided by third parties, the whole chain of device and application support must be carefully managed to avoid degraded operation.

“As critical communications move more and more to information-centric operations, applications and their parallel co-existence, operation and maintenance become ever more vital,” said Tero Pesonen, TCCA CCBG chair. “This white paper is the result of significant voluntary contributions from TCCA members, working for the common good to build sustainable best practices for the broadband era.”

TCCA’s white paper provides guidance to PPDR operators and users as they define their strategies for deploying and managing mission critical applications utilising broadband systems. In parallel, the paper aims to inform application developers on the specific requirements for delivering mission critical solutions over broadband systems.

Although targeted primarily at the PPDR sector, the white paper will also be of interest to any organisation requiring or dealing with mission critical broadband applications. The full paper, ‘Mission Critical Broadband Applications: A guide for deploying and developing mission critical applications using broadband technologies’ can be read here.

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