In critical situations, the ability to make quick decision is often critical for the public or employees safety. Security agencies need fast and reliable communications to keep citizens and communities safe. Under critical and emergency situations, calls need to connect instantly and reliably with high availability of service. Communications simply cannot fail when lives are at stake or when disasters are waiting to happen. Under critical situations, mission critical organisations (e.g. Oil and Gas, Casinos, Trains, Airports and Seaports) will need to disseminate information and/or instructions to large groups of staff and to deploy resources quickly. The communication network supporting mission critical communications will need to be resilient, reliable, secure and available where and when needed. Communication under a critical situation is not limited to just voice, but reliable data capabilities, including GPS and Short Messaging Services, is just as important when needed to send critical information and data. TETRA is designed for all professional users who need critical communications. It is used in many market sectors, from nationwide public safety networks to small, private, site-specific installations in locations such as sports arenas, sea ports, leisure complexes and manufacturing plants.
‘Mission Critical’ is defined as a function whose failure leads to catastrophic degradation of service that places public order or public safety and security at immediate risk. ‘Mission critical operations’ for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) organizations address situations where human life and goods (rescue operations, law enforcement) and other values for society are at risk, especially when time is a vital factor:
- In other words, “mission critical information” is vital information for PPDR to succeed with the operation.
- In a PPDR environment, “Mission critical communication solutions” needs to be secure, reliable and available. It cannot afford the risk of having failures in their individual and group communication (e.g. voice and data transmissions).
As such, mission critical communication is reliant on a communication system that is fast with very low latency, resilient, reliable, has high availability and provides a secured mode for mobile communications during peace time and with assured availability particularly in times of crisis or major incidents. Key organizational managers are able to communicate from their control centres to manage groups of people who are deployed in various activities and be able to track their staff via GPS. A mobile radio communication system must fulfil five key requirements in order to be usable for mission critical communication:
- The infrastructure must be resilient and highly available
This is normally achieved with the help of a redundant network architecture, redundant links between network elements and fail-safe network elements.
Base stations can increase the availability of their cells by operating in a Direct Mode Operation by providing a minimum service in the geographic area that it services when the network links to the main switching centre is lost. Critical communication users simply can’t afford to be without communications. The network must be an ‘always available’ lifeline to keep them in contact and up-to-date with vital information.
An example of organization needing a resilient network would be the Oil and Gas industries, particularly when operating oil refining centres and/or on oil rigs. Timely communications is paramount to improving their operations and to ensure safety to their staff.
- Communication must be reliable
In a mission critical network communication services, subscribers will have high availability, i.e. network capacity has to be available even in case of large scale disaster scenarios. Furthermore, individual and group calls have to be setup with extremely low latency. Even at cell edge, speech packets, short messages and packet data have to be reliably transferred to the end user.
- Communication must be secure
The network needs to provide the information security and reliability that users require, especially during a crisis. A mission critical network provides security functions in order to protect users from interception, and spoofing:
- methods for temporarily and permanently disabling terminals and smart cards;
- functions to detect and compensate for jamming at the air interface;
- air interface encryption of user data and signaling data including addresses.
- The use of encryption to protect the security of voice or data messages throughout the communication is also vital to avoid compromising operational activities.
Why TETRA Communication System for Mission Critical Customers
TETRA is a proven radio technology that addresses the needs of Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR). TETRA is also a highly efficient technology with advanced features such as mission-critical voice; all-inclusive group calls, direct terminal-to-terminal calls or portable coverage enhancer when outside network range, that are simply not available over commercial networks today. Handsets provided are highly ruggardised, meets IP68 standards for water ingress and with loud audio. TETRA terminals, from different vendors, are interoperable with existing TETRA infrastructure. From a commercial point of view, this means users can purchase terminals from various vendors and are not locked-in by any particular vendor. The added benefit of TETRA interoperability of terminals also means a wide range of terminals with different form factors and features that a user can select. The fail-safe, reliability, availability, security and interoperability functions offered by TETRA are key reasons why it is being used for mission critical communications all over the world. TETRA also integrates seamlessly with other existing and emerging IT and communications technologies to create a total communications solution. Examples of organizations needing secure communications would be casinos, airports and seaports where eavesdropping could compromise public safety.
If you are operating under a Mission or Business Critical environment, GRID has the Mission/Business Critical Solutions you are seeking. We are committed to bring you a full turnkey solution that you need. With GRID’s solution, you’ll be free to concentrate on your Mission/Business Critical task while we take care of your communication needs. GRID’s TETRA solution gives our customers the assurance of always ready and always available when needed. As GRID is vendor-neutral, GRID represents a number of vendors, including Airbus, Sepura, Motorola and other vendors for selective projects depending on customer needs and requirements.
For more information on GRID’s TETRA, please click here (download the white papers). Please contact us at 6486 8777 for more details.