410 MHz brings a new option for mission-critical LTE/4.9G networks
In today’s era of environmental disasters, social unrest and a global health crisis, here’s one crucial way that governments are addressing today’s intensified challenges to safety and security: More and more authorities are looking at mobile broadband networks, so they can put new data applications in the hands of first responders.
The 410 MHz opportunity: expanded coverage, reduced costs and new use cases
The 410 MHz band, which has been used for decades to carry narrowband nationwide mission-critical network traffic, has recently been standardized on LTE, in 3GPP bands 87 and 88. This is important news because of the inherently excellent propagation characteristics of such a low band, which allows cost-effective coverage of wide areas. This new capability gives governments a good option for providing countrywide wireless broadband services, helping first responders gain the communication tools they need to serve the public everywhere, all the time, inside homes and office buildings, as well as outside populated areas.
410 MHz LTE/4.9G also has the potential to easily re-use some of the existing telecom infrastructure, since the sub-GHz frequency range often matches the existing grid of radio towers used by narrowband network operators. These cost factors help explain why most public safety broadband networks, as well as transportation, utilities and other companies, are using such low frequency bands for their nationwide mission-critical networks. In contrast, high-frequency bands that require high-density base station grids are more suitable for serving areas that require high capacity, such as more densely populated areas.
But the advantages of LTE/4.9G in the 410 to 430 MHz range don’t stop there. These lower frequencies can also support a broad array of use cases, by enabling health, traffic and security monitoring capabilities, as well as traditional wide-area voice and video communications. For example, their flexible bandwidth capabilities using LTE-M and NB-IoT features open opportunities for machine-to-machine communications (M2M) that monitor security reporting, medical metering and environmental sensors, to name just a few possibilities. In addition to benefiting the public safety community, these new capabilities can be highly useful in industries such as utilities and transportation. And in some countries, these networks are used to offer industrial-grade WAN IoT for enterprises. It is up to each government, the service providers and the industries to leverage low-band LTE’s rich potential and open up new business models.
Having a new standardized frequency band is not enough though. You also need the support of the whole ecosystem to transform it into a powerful tool that can deliver crucial services. On the network side, we at Nokia are already supporting this new band within our portfolio of private wireless solutions, which also include pre-integrated mission-critical applications and a wide range of 410 MHz devices of various form factors. The quick development of this end-to-end solution was possible thanks to the growth of LTE/4.9G deployments in adjacent 450 MHz networks.
So all the key pieces are coming together to boost the adoption of this new 410 MHz band by the mission-critical communications community. Already, some mission-critical operators and users are deploying 410 MHz LTE/4.9G to support wide-area network-critical communication services, such as in the Czech Republic, with Nordic Telecom, or in Bahrein.
For a more detailed look at the 410 MHz opportunity for both mission-critical and business-critical networks, download our white paper.