Use Case 2

Multi-agency and multi-deployment mission critical communications and dynamic service scaling

In 2013 a new Working Group (WG) was created under the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). It was named System Architecture WG6 – SA6, with the responsibility to define, develop and maintain the technical specifications for Mission Critical Service (MCX) standards, including Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (MCPTT), Mission Critical Data (MCData) and Mission Critical Video (MCVideo) services. NEMERGENT has continued to expand this expertise since its inception, specialising in technologically advanced, fully standard compliant MCX solutions over 4G/5G broadband networks. MCXs provides a way for robust connection against errors, ensured predetermined quality of service and network priority over other communications. They are used from public safety and emergency (police, fire, health, etc.) to operators and industrial environments (Oil&Gas, mining, transport, etc.).

The most widespread public safety communication solutions such as TETRA or P25 are based on legacy private radio technology, with proprietary deployments. This is why, both public administrations and private companies have to cover the costs of deploying these networks. In addition, there is a mix of providers and differences between networks that end up locking administrations into one provider, with the resulting cost overruns.

Sector of interest for MCX solutions.
MCX UE application

On the other hand, the current digital revolution demands new multimedia capabilities, high-speed data access and new functionalities. The emergency communications sector has not been excluded in this sense, and concepts such as remote video assistance, augmented reality, video emergency calls, etc. are beginning to gain relevance. However, the development of this type of services would not be possible over current TETRA or P25 networks, due to their technological limitations. Thus, the capabilities of 5G technology represent a key milestone in the evolution of the MCX sector, as it brings improved bandwidth, low latency with ultra-reliable service and massive machine-to-machine communication (eMBB, URLLC and mMTC) capabilities. In addition, 5G networks create the concept of “Network Slicing”, which opens up the possibility of splitting the 5G mobile operator’s network into something similar to a sub-network. This 5G “Slices” can be managed in a semi-independent way of each other, enabling a parallel MCX virtual sub-network, so even if the regular network is saturated by traffic, the MCX service can continue working normally.

This has therefore been the research focus of the last few years (2018-2022) for NEMERGENT, to deepen the understanding of 5G technology and create a solution that can ultimately deliver enhanced emergency communications services. Therefore, NEMERGENT has taken advantage of the need for a technological leap in the emergency communications sector, along with the opportunity that new 5G improvements offered, to develop solutions that can be deployed as a vertical service in public, private or both hybrid 5G networks. 

NEM’s approach to MCX-5G experimentation

In this framework, a platform such as the one proposed in the 5G-EPICENTRE project acquires significant relevance. NEMERGENT intends to use the infrastructure and services created in the project to continue offering technological advances in its MCX solutions, and to experiment with new functionalities. The Use Case (UC) aims to address the need for coordination between Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) agencies by implementing a dynamic solution based on location or network conditions. It also seeks to explore Quality of Service (QoS) management and slicing for MCX communications. To this end, a fully microservices-based MCX solution has been developed, fitting with the cloud-native nature of the 5G-EPICENTRE platform. This technology, used in both the MCX solution and the 5G-EPICENTRE platform, will increase the deployment agility, enhancing the experimental needs raised in this UC.