FirstNet Technologies

FirstNet is creating a service delivery platform for a NPSBN. This section introduces some example use cases and provides an overview of the underlying technologies which drive the FirstNet Network.

Use Cases

With more examples in the industry news every week, here is a look at how FirstNet may be used, highlighting jurisdictions across the country:

Texas Sheriff’s Office Transforms via B14 and Real-Time Video – The Brazos County Sheriff’s office is one of the first full deployments in the U.S. It has experienced transformational results, such as real time views of any active cameras, lower costs, higher efficiencies and better outcomes for law enforcement operations overall.

An EMS Trauma Center Uses FirstNet to Prep for Severe Accident Injuries – In an early Public Safety LTE trial, a trauma center demonstrated the power of getting instant images from an accident scene. With just four specific high resolution photos of a crashed vehicle, the trauma center can predict what injuries to expect, and prepare while EMS units are en route, improving chances of patient survival and recovery.

These are just a couple of examples of the extraordinary ways a secured, robust and powerful broadband service will help First Responders protect lives, property and themselves.

Underneath It All – FirstNet LTE

The core technology is a customized implementation of 3GPP, commonly known as LTE - Long Term Evolution. This special implementation is called FirstNet LTE.

Since its earliest inception, FirstNet has been built upon a foundation of “LTE”, a simple acronym which refers to the standard from the 3rd Generation Partnership Program (3GPP), a powerful global initiative. Established to evolve beyond the limitations of antiquated switched networks, LTE is truly revolutionary and in the five years since FirstNet came into being, “4G” LTE technologies now dominate cellular deployments in the US and around the globe.

Chances are, many have already used a LTE network and have become familiar with the power of 4G technologies in their daily life. LTE has transformed telecommunications because it is fast, enables the high bandwidth applications and has broad coverage.

For now, LTE is keeping up with the insatiable demands for mobile data, illustrated in the chart at right.
Still, LTE is just a pipe and if FirstNet was just LTE, Public Safety would only have devices with coverage bars. The real magic and the real power behind LTE are the services, applications and devices enabled by LTE, and which are discussed in the next section.

Source:“Akamai’s [state of the internet], Q32016 report, Vol 9, No. 3” Akamai Technologies, page 49."

Applications, Services & Devices

The opportunity for a secured, dedicated bandwidth and a market for specialized devices and application has already begun to develop, based upon operation on commercial broadband carrier networks. The list below is a sampling of what is available. What will come next as the network takes off will undoubtedly be even more exciting.

  • Real-Time Video – Real-time monitoring of vehicular and body-worn cameras has revolutionary promise for Law Enforcement
  • Location-based Apps – Geospatial data, GIS-based dispatch, real-time mapping, geofencing
  • Database Access – Maps, building plans, reports—virtually any file needed can be supported
  • Incident Management – Suspect/Victim/Patient tracking, CRBNE data detection, Biometrics, robotic control, on-scene incident awareness
  • Large Files, databases, mobile office
  • IoT- sensors, devices, remotely controlled equipment, cameras, signage
  • Encrypted, private, secured services for maximum control
  • Social Media integration
  • NextGen 911

FirstNet LTE for Techies

  • 3GPP LTE is a flat, all IP architecture optimized for low latency
  • FirstNet LTE will implement Quality of Service (QoS), Priority & Preemption (QPP)
  • LTE uses an asymmetrical air interface, adding the powerful OFDM downlink from the tower while using a different protocol from the handset, achieving a best of both worlds allowing better coverage and battery life, among other advantages
  • Advanced siting and antenna technologies create flexible coverage options such as carrier aggregation, advanced antenna technologies, small cells and deployable infrastructure components
  • Having high bandwidth capabilities means massive investments in a backhaul network is required