ETSI Mission Critical Push to Talk Voice Communication Testing event
Sophia Antipolis, 15 June 2018
Hundreds of representatives from 30 global telecommunications companies will join dozens of observers from US state and federal agencies as well as international participants from around the world to put public safety communication and related technologies to the test.
This will happen during the second international ETSI Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT) PlugtestsTM event, set for June 25-29 at Disaster City on the Texas A&M University campus in the United States. Hosted by the Texas A&M Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC), the event is organized by ETSI in partnership with TCCA, the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division of the National Institute for Standards and Testing (NIST), and the European Commission.
“The goal of this series of Plugtests is to ensure one global standard for Mission Critical Services and improve the interoperability for the future deployments,” says Saurav Arora, Project Manager at ETSI. “This event will help vendors evaluate their equipment interoperability and understand 3GPP standards. Testing will also allow them to check if their equipment is designed to support mission-critical users when used in combination, whether the crisis is local or global in nature.”
The Texas MCPTT Plugtests will be the first to test public safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the interoperability of MCPTT products and services outside of Europe. Many US agencies are scheduled to participate, along with local law enforcement, fire and Emergency Management Services (EMS) personnel, and additional Texas A&M-based emergency response teams. They will be joined by international representatives from Belgium, Canada, Norway, France, Sweden, Finland and UK.
The weeklong exercise in Texas represents the culmination of months of remote pre-testing. The participants are using a test plan with more than 100 test cases, including MCDATA and MCVIDEO tests, as well as MCPTT voice test. More than 500 interoperability-related combinations of participating vendors and components are possible – that will be under review at Disaster City.
ITEC Director Dr. Walt Magnussen notes that current public safety-related services in the US generally rely on two existing communications networks: land mobile radio, which has been used for the past 70 years, and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), used exclusively for public safety.
To that end, the United States Congress has allocated $7 billion toward the effort to merge the two networks – a prospect that Magnussen says represents a significant global savings across any number of countries, industries and currency exchanges.
The common factor in this Plugtests sessions, regardless of case, companies or technologies involved, is Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT), a standard feature of narrowband Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) technologies, developed by 3GPP specifically for mission-critical 4G and 5G communications. Because MCPTT enables near-instantaneous group communications, it is a critical requirement in an emergency situation and related LTE equipment, not to mention a lucrative investment.
Harald Ludwig, TCCA Technical Forum chairman, emphasizes that “Mission-Critical LTE is the first broadband technology that will be used worldwide by public safety users. Hosting the second MCPTT Plugtests in the US, after having had the first in Europe, shows the global approach. Interoperability between agencies and between countries can only be achieved with standards-based technologies.”
About ETSI PlugtestsTM events
The first ETSI PlugtestsTM event took place in 1999. Since then they have proved a valuable tool in the development of global standards. Plugtests events serve two main purposes: they provide essential feedback to our technical committees to help ETSI improve standards and to accelerate the standards-making process, and they enable engineers to get together to test the interoperability of their implementations – which can reduce a product’s time-to-market.
The benefits of such events include improving the interoperability of products and services, supporting the deployment of new technologies, enabling networking between partners, competitors and other experts, and validating ETSI standards. Plugtests are organized by the ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability (CTI).
ETSI provides members with an open and inclusive environment to support the timely development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT-enabled systems, applications and services across all sectors of industry and society. We are a not-for-profit body with more than 800 member organizations worldwide, drawn from 66 countries and five continents. Members comprise a diversified pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government and public organizations. ETSI is one of only three bodies officially recognized by the EU as a European Standards Organization (ESO). For more information please visit: www.etsi.org and follow us @ETSI_Standards
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TCCA represents all standard mobile critical communications technologies and complementary applications. Our Members are drawn from end users, operators and industry across the globe. We believe in and promote the principle of open and competitive markets worldwide through the use of open standards and harmonised spectrum. We maintain and enhance the TETRA Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) standard, and drive the development of common global mobile standards for critical broadband. TCCA is a 3GPP Market Representation Partner and a member of the Mission Critical Open Platform (MCOP) project. Our Members actively contribute in 3GPP working groups. To find out more, please visit www.tcca.info and follow us @TCCAcritcomms
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