How to Use TETRA and Smartphones in a Hybrid Way

Author:Airbus       Time:2019-07-19

This is the second in a series of blog posts on how to bring smart and hybrid devices into professional use. We cover many topics to help organizations move from traditional radio communication to a system that adds complementary broadband data.

Today’s question is: How to use TETRA and smartphones in a hybrid way, or in other words: How does TETRA fit with smartphones?

Let’s say your organization has decided to adopt broadband and apps for professional use. How do traditional radios and radio communication fit in? And should they?

Well, today’s TETRA (and Tetrapol) radio communication systems deliver five important strengths that users would hate to lose.

Availability: TETRA is a dedicated network always available to users. TETRA operators plan to keep their networks up and running until at least 2030.

Priorities:Many features in the TETRA network and in the radios ensure that the most important messages always get through, even with heavy traffic. Features like emergency calls, voice override in group calls (pre-emption) and talk group priorities meet the needs of organizations’ structures and operations.

Security:Public safety and other professional user organizations have strict information security requirements. Features such as authentication, mutual authentication, end-to-end encryption and Air Interface Encryption (AIE) security are must-haves for users.

Coverage:Excellent coverage in the public safety frequency bands lets professionals trust their TETRA communication system and devices.

TMO and DMO:In addition to functioning in network mode (trunked mode, TMO) TETRA radios can also communicate in direct mode (DMO). This means users can connect to each other even if there is no network available, for example, at the edge of the network’s coverage area, or when smoke diving. The DMO range is typically 3-5 kilometers.

With these capabilities, TETRA and Tetrapol really are the reliable, efficient technologies for voice communications in mission-critical operations. What’s more, they support handy short text messages and status messages that are the basis for many authority operations.

For public safety and other authorities, TETRA or Tetrapol are likely to be the primary network for voice communications for a decade or even longer.

However, to transfer large amounts of data and multimedia, broadband is needed. The solution is a hybrid network - a TETRA/Tetrapol network with a parallel broadband network, either dedicated or commercial. Working seamlessly, such hybrid networks deliver the benefits of both mission-critical communications and professional broadband data and apps.

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