How to boost public safety with 5G
What crucial advantages does this wireless broadband technology offer communities, first responders and public safety agencies? Here’s a brief overview of what 5G is delivering now, and in later phases.
First: helping 4G/LTE do more
4G/LTE capabilities are already putting sophisticated multimedia communication-and-rescue services into the hands of emergency workers. In its early phases, 5G can take those requiring lots of bandwidth to new levels, for example, by providing faster throughput for real-time video images used in healthcare. Or by supporting far more simultaneous video feeds from drones, body cams or vehicles at an emergency scene. Or by helping to scale and enhance other LTE-based services that improve response times, situational awareness and communication.
What’s ahead: breakthroughs in performance and efficiency
In the next phases of 5G deployment, its technical advances will allow public safety services to gradually be enhanced. These advances can include:
Usage of new radio spectrum:
Using 5G New Radio technology, public safety networks will have to work across a broader range of radio spectrum. Lower frequencies will still be used to provide essential coverage in rural and remote areas, at lower cost. Mid-range or higher frequencies (above 3 GHz) will deliver high bandwidth to more urban areas, or for deployable systems.
Filling gaps in emergency coverage:
When emergencies occur in remote locations, or where communications are inadequate, 5G systems can also be deployed rapidly, using deployable systems. Their massive bandwidth will support integrated access and backhaul (IAB), also known as “self-backhauling.” So part of the system’s capacity can be made available to backhaul communications between emergency responders and their command and control center. As a result, emergency teams gain expanded coverage when they have to operate in very remote areas, not covered by the network.
Faster network response times:
With 5G, core network functions and applications can be moved to the edge of the network. This shift dramatically reduces “latency,” that is, the time required for communication to travel between two electronic devices. Low latency is highly important whenever feedback to a user has to be nearly instantaneous, for instance in applications like telesurgery, or when emergency teams are guiding drones and robots through sensory feedback.
Delivering tailored quality of service, on demand and securely:
5G offers a groundbreaking approach to keeping multimedia services operating at their best. It relies on 5G’s cloud-based, virtual network architecture, which allows an array of virtual networks to be created on top of a shared physical infrastructure. Each of these networks can be automatically created and configured to meet the specific needs of an application — and the network’s resources are reserved for that application’s use.
This technique is known as network “slicing.” It not only promotes reliable high performance; it also optimizes use of network resources. That’s because network slices can be created quickly, for a specific use, then taken down rapidly when no longer needed. For example, if a video transmission was required to support telesurgery, a network slice would be configured to meet the mission-critical demands of that application. Then the slice would come down when the transmission was complete. Each public safety slice is also very secure because traffic cannot travel across slices.
To get a more detailed view of 5G technology, how it works and how it can enhance public safety services and use cases, download our on-demand webinar: “What will change with 5G for public safety.”