Technical Committee (TC) Terrestrial Trunked Radio and Critical Communications Evolution (TCCE) Activity Report 2020

Chair: Brian Murgatroyd, Umlaut Communications GmbH

Responsible for the design and standardization of TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) and its evolution to critical communications mobile broadband solutions.

Developed to meet the needs of Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) users in public safety, security, transportation, military, governmental, commercial and utilities applications, TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) is the leading technology choice for critical communications users.

There is now an installed base of 4.5 million TETRA users: this market is predicted to grow at 3.7% CAGR until 2022 and then settle at over 5.2 million users in 2023. While 50% of the market remains in Europe at present, the rest of the world will increase its market share to 53% by 2023. The fastest growing region will be in the Americas, with Latin America forecasted to take 75% of the region’s market share.

TETRA is designed to address a specific set of communication requirements. These include high reliability, single and group calling capabilities, PTT (Push-To-Talk), and the possibility for direct peer-to-peer communications in situations such as natural disasters and emergencies when the supporting network is unavailable. Accordingly, much of the work of our TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution committee (TC TCCE) is driven by the requirements of Public Protection and Disaster Relief and other mission-critical services.

Designed as a narrowband system, TETRA today cannot support all of the growing demands of emergency services for additional Mission-Critical capabilities such as streaming high-quality video from the scene of an accident. Reflecting these evolving needs – and an opportunity to benefit from the economies of scale of the mobile broadband ecosystem – the community of TETRA users has asked the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP™) to determine how this functionality can be realized using LTE™ or 5G systems running over public network operators’ licensed spectrum.

During 2020 our TETRA and Critical Communications Evolution committee (TC TCCE) continued to maintain and further develop TETRA, publishing several updates to multi-part standard for voice and data communications.  In response to feedback from 3GPP, ongoing work has also included development of specifications covering the detailed interfaces between Mission-Critical broadband systems and TETRA, as well as the required security between the two systems. To optimize this standardization activity, existing standards for technologies such as LTE (and later 5G) will be enhanced by interfaces and applications that make them suitable for Mission-Critical applications.

During the year the committee continued to liaise closely with 3GPP Working Group SA6 MCPTT (Mission Critical Push to Talk) and TCCA (The Critical Communications Association). Within this cooperation framework we published a test specification that was used during the successful 4th Mission Critical Plugtests™ event that attracted 500 virtual participants.

Hosted on the BrightTALK platform, our well-attended webinar on ‘TETRA to 2035 and beyond’ presented a market overview and standards development update, plus a review of latest packet data enhancements, security aspects and interworking with critical communications broadband systems.

 TCCE deliverables published in 2020:

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D) and Direct Mode Operation (DMO); Part 5: Peripheral Equipment Interface (PEI).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 9: General requirements for supplementary services.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 1: General network design.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 15: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature, Mobility Management (ANF-ISIMM).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 14: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature Short Data Service (ANF-ISISDS).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 13: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature Group Call (ANF-ISIGC).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 12: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature Individual Call (ANF-ISIIC).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 11: General design, SIP/IP.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 10: General design, PSS1 over E.1.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 9: Transport layer independent, General design.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 8: Generic Speech Format Implementation.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 2: Air Interface (AI).

Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA); Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 12: Supplementary services stage 3; Sub-part 22: Dynamic Group Number Assignment (DGNA).

Plugtests™ scenarios for Mission Critical Services

During the year work progressed on development of specifications for additional encryption algorithms to complement the existing set relating to TETRA. This reflects the needs of users to keep TETRA up to date through to the 2030s. SC SAGE have been asked to design new algorithms for these specifications.

LOOK OUT FOR IN 2021 – TC TCCE WORK IN PROGRESS:

  • Revision to EN 300 392-7 on Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 7: Security - additional air interface encryption algorithms with longer key length to protect Mission Critical communications to 2030 and beyond
  • Technical Specification (TS) on Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 19: Interworking between TETRA and Broadband systems Sub-part 1: Critical Communications Architecture for Interworking between TETRA and Broadband applications
  • Revision to TS 100 392-3 on Voice plus Data (V+D); Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 12: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature Individual Call (ANF-ISIIC)
  • Revision to TS 100 392-3 on V+D; Part 3: Interworking at the Inter-System Interface (ISI); Sub-part 15: Transport layer independent Additional Network Feature, Mobility Management (ANF-ISIMM)
  • Revision to TS 100 392-12 on V+D; Part 12: Supplementary services stage 3; Sub-part 22: Dynamic Group Number Assignment (DGNA)
  • Revision to TS 100 392-2 on V+D; Part 2: Air Interface (AI)
  • Revision to TS 100 394-1 on Testing specification; Part 1: Radio