Today's consumers demand constant connectivity, so they can call and text, download music, send out tweets or play online games at a moment's notice. It's a matter of convenience. Good service isn't just expected by consumers — many businesses also rely on uninterrupted mobile uptime to conduct deals and communicate with clients and partners. But, neither of these groups can claim that service quality is a matter of life and death.
Public safety communications networks, like those used by police and fire departments and other first responder organizations, demand that their mobile services perform at the highest level, as lives are often on the line. It's not a matter of whether a song downloads slowly, but if mission-critical communications fail when people are in danger and in need of help. Thus, public safety organizations need reliable, high-performance mobile networks to handle these critical communications 24/7/365.
While we have established that there is a difference between the average consumer and public safety officials when it comes to communications needs and priorities, one thing clearly unites them. LTE technology is the single best way to deliver to both groups the reliable service and connectivity they are looking for.
InfoVista recently hosted a webinar, “Mentum Planet for Public Safety LTE Networks,” which examined why LTE is best-suited to support mission-critical communications like those used by emergency services and first responder organizations. Among the many issues covered in that webinar, there were two clear takeaways:
1. Networks are becoming more complex. With advancing technologies and the rise of heterogeneous networks (HetNets), not to mention growing mobile traffic volumes as data consumption skyrockets, mobile operators must have a guaranteed level of reliability if they are to provide consistent and dependable communications throughout an entire coverage area. State-of-the-art LTE technologies are most qualified to handle these rising traffic volumes and user demands.
2. Better design = more capacity = better network performance. When rolling out LTE networks, it's important to take a measured and thorough approach to the planning stages of the process. LTE technology on its own is not enough. It's how mobile operators execute these rollouts that will determine performance levels. Efficient network planning and design, like what can be accomplished with InfoVista's Mentum Planet, means reduced stranded capacity and an increase in overall available capacity. That leads to better network performance and a more reliable network for public safety officials.
LTE technology can not only be used to improve communications on public safety networks when accidents happen, but also to improve public safety standards and prevent accidents from happening in the first place. This was illustrated in one of the case studies featured in the webinar.
Following a series of accidents involving trains throughout the United States, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, mandating a new interoperable communications system to improve freight operations safety. With multiple organizations, each responsible for different sections of railroad tracks that all intersect at various points throughout the country, network complexity and pockets of network congestion were presenting serious challenges and causing dangerous situations. InfoVista helped move all rail communications to a new frequency and standard, creating a centralized network solution to validate and share network designs and improve the entire planning process.
For more on why LTE is so important for public safety communications, including tips on how mobile operators can optimize the planning and design process for their LTE networks with InfoVista's IP and RF network planning, assurance, optimization and monetization software, check out the full webinar recording.