Move over AT&T. Verizon plans to make “substantial investments” in network capabilities, products and services aimed at providing 4G LTE to public safety agencies. The carrier plans to build and operate a private network core dedicated to public safety communications, providing network access and call routing.
The dedicated public safety core will operate separately from the commercial core and provide first responders with access to the whole coverage area of company’s 4G LTE network.
“Verizon’s public safety network solution does not require that states opt-out of FirstNet, does not require access to any federal funding provided to FirstNet, and does not require any financial commitment from states to support network deployment,” said John Stratton, Verizon executive vice president and president of global operations. The creation of this dedicated public safety network core will be fully funded by Verizon.
Verizon will make priority access and preemption services available to public safety when necessary and at no charge. The carrier will also invest in new mission-critical 4G LTE voice communications to complement existing services such as Push-to-Talk Plus. PTT Plus already includes interoperability with existing Land Mobile Radio networks.
“We’re making the investments necessary to give public safety access to the best possible network coverage, reliability and capability, when and where they need it,” said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president, Public Sector for Verizon. “Our public safety network will provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for public safety, and we’ll continue working to offer first responders the network reliability and access to innovative services they need to keep our communities safe.”
Verizon will market multi-band devices that provide access to Band 14 spectrum and enable full interoperability with any Band 14 radio access networks (RANs) deployed by FirstNet.
Thee FirstNet response to Verizon’s announcement noted that it has added Arizona, Kansas and Nevada to make 15 states that have opted in for its nationwide broadband public safety network.
“With Nevada’s opt-in decision today, we are up to 15 states/territories. Two of those states explored alternative options through an RFP/RFI process in their state before deciding to join FirstNet,” according to a FirstNet spokesperson.
The organization seems confident that it has done the groundwork that will allow it to be a success.
“FirstNet has consulted closely with public safety as a partner to develop this network,” the FirstNet spokesperson added. “Thanks to their input, we are now delivering first responders a compelling network solution they’ve never had before – which includes true priority today – and we will deliver them ruthless preemption, a dedicated and encrypted public safety core network with local control capabilities, a dedicated FirstNet Public Safety Security Operations Center and public safety grade customer care.”
J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.
Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies have reached 953 Mbps (just under 1 gigabit in a joint commercial network deployment in Boca Raton, Florida. While lab tests have shown comparable speeds in recent months, this speed was achieved in a real-world network environment using Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology.
The demonstration used all commercially available Verizon network components including a cell site, hardware, software, and backhaul. Riding on Verizon’s network infrastructure, Ericsson provided a remote radio head, the micro Radio 2205 for LAA, designed for unlicensed spectrum use. Qualcomm Technologies provided a Snapdragon 835 mobile platform test device and the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem.
To reach gigabit class speeds, the deployment used a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for the first time. This four-carrier aggregation used LAA to combine Verizon’s spectrum holdings with unlicensed spectrum, which takes advantage of spectrum where home and commercial Wi-Fi technologies exist.
In addition to four-channel carrier aggregation, other technologies used included 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM.
July 18, 2017 —
While the Washington Nationals easily handled the Seattle Mariners during a recent game, the real contest was between performances of the cellular networks and the Wi-Fi system as they battled to provide the best online experience.
During a recent major league baseball game at Washington Nationals Park, independent network benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) conducted customer experience mobile network testing. The tests revealed that, both before and during the game, the Wi-Fi system excelled in the area of speed but fell behind cellular when it came to reliability.
Paul Carter, CEO GWS, said, “People want a reliable network with reasonable speed that works when you make a call, post a selfie, or load a video. If you’re at a major sporting event, you want to quickly take care of your online activities and watch the game not your phone.”
Before the game, the carriers’ data speeds for a 4 mb file upload (the size of a Snapchat video) ranged from 1 to 4 Mbps, according to Global Wireless Solutions, while the Wi-Fi network averaged speeds of 8 Mbps.
AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile also provided consistent speeds throughout the evening, while Verizon’s speeds dropped sharply during the game, according to GWS’ testing. For example, Verizon’s download speeds for watching a short video clip fell from 2.8 Mbps before the game to 1.6 Mbps during the game, before rising to 4.2 Mbps after the game
Wi-Fi Speed Crushes Cellular
During the game when the Park was the busiest, the Wi-Fi network was capable of delivering an average of roughly 32 Mbps, while the fastest cellular network, AT&T, averaged 25 Mbps.
“The $300-million program to bring Wi-Fi to every major league baseball park in the United States has brought in-seat connectivity into the 21st century,” the firm wrote. “When measuring potential capacity download throughputs, the Nationals Park Wi-Fi network was overall higher than those measured on cellular networks.
Cellular Owns Reliability
However, while the Park’s Wi-Fi was the quickest, it was not the most reliable. All the carriers were more reliable in completing data tasks, nearly 100 percent, while Wi-Fi was several percentage points behind.
“A consistent Internet experience is highly valued. Steady with reasonable speed is a better experience than a network which is fast, then becomes too slow to undertake some common tasks, then suddenly speeds up again,” Carter, said. “If you want to share a photo or send a video, you want your network to support that dependably. For some baseball fans, the WiFi network in the Park can provide a better experience than their own LTE connection.”
For voice calls AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all had 100 percent reliability with AT&T and Verizon using VoLTE the entire time. T-Mobile, also using VoLTE, wasn’t far behind, however, it did experience 1 in 12 calls failing before the game started.
July 11, 2017 —
Verizon has successfully transmitted its first live Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call over its commercial Category M1 (Cat-M1) network with the help of Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, which is said to be an important moment in the evolution of IoT connectivity. Cat-M1 is a 3GPP-based technology that is designed to allow low-power Internet of Things devices to communicate over licensed spectrum
Cat-M1 can extend the reach of an IoT device across Verizon’s LTE network, whether it is a data-only or voice-enabled product.
In April of this year, Verizon launched the first nationwide commercial 4G LTE Cat-M1 network, which spans 2.4 million square miles, designed to provide scale, coverage and security for customers seeking wireless access solutions for IoT.
Verizon’s Cat-M1 network is built on a virtualized cloud environment, which enables IoT deployment and nationwide scaling. Cat-M1 is a new class of LTE chipset that is designed for sensors, which requires less power and supports an array of use cases ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer electronics.
The low bandwidth use cases for Cat-M1 chipsets demand new types of data plans, including low rate, multi-year plans to match the longer useful life of devices.
In 2016, Verizon launched a limited commercial Cat-M1 network.
AT&T Shows VoLTE Call on Cat-M1/LTE-M Network in Demonstration
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February of this year, AT&T demonstrated a VoLTE call on Cat-M1/LTE-M technology using technology from Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson’s radio and core network.
AT&T plans to extend the technology into its mobile network to enhance existing and new IoT use cases requiring voice services. The demonstration shows that the technology is mature and ready for commercial deployment in operator networks.
The demonstration used Qualcomm Technologies’ MDM9206 LTE modem, designed to support Cat-M1/LTE-M, as well as Ericsson LTE Radio Access Network, Ericsson IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Ericsson Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Ericsson User Data Management network infrastructure and new software.
July 13, 2017 —
While Verizon was performing its Cat-M1 Voice over LTE (VoLTE) trials, China Unicom, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrated the use cases for the new technology early in July at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017.
The demonstrations appear to use much of the same technology as Verizon’s Cat-M1 VoLTE call: Ericsson’s IoT and VoLTE capable network infrastructure and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems.
The Cat-M1 VoLTE use cases demonstrated a fire alarm trigger panel and a GPS emergency tracking device.
Fire alarm trigger panels can be configured so that a single press of a button notifies multiple first responders and stakeholders, such as the fire department, the hospital, and the building’s property management office. Using VoLTE capabilities, the person who triggered the alarm can describe the situation to rescuers and get immediate guidance.
The improved coverage and longer battery life offered by Cat-M1 technology can be used to create more reliable GPS emergency tracking devices. Such devices can use data services to send GPS location data while enabling VoLTE calls for coordinated emergency response.
During MWC Shanghai, China Unicom, Ericsson and Qualcomm engineers established a point-to-point Cat-M1 VoLTE call using Meitrack P99 GPS tracking devices powered by Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems. Ericsson products used in the demonstration included an LTE Radio Access Network, Evolved Packet Core, IP Multimedia Subsystem and Unified Data Management.