Airbus Defence and Space reveals Tetrapol evolution path towards mission-critical broadband standard


At the Public Safety Communication Europe Conference, in Paris, Airbus Defence and Space presented its vision for the future of secure radio communications for public safety organisations, in particular for the development of Tetrapol technology in the direction of mission-critical broadband services.

The topic was discussed in the context of the dedicated session on: “End-user needs towards future Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) systems”. Philippe Devos, head of Portfolio & Business Evolution Secure Land Communications at Airbus Defence and Space, illustrated how the development towards shared professional mobile radio (PMR) broadband translates into the development of current Tetrapol assets and new products.

Radio communication solutions play a vital role in helping public safety organisations to protect citizens. These organisations, which include the police, fire and rescue services, as well as military users, are facing an increasing need for larger data capacities. In the future, more and more information will be in digital form, for instance, images, video, fingerprints and biometric data.

“Traditional PMR technologies like Tetrapol and Tetra are evolving to cope with new needs, namely, very high-speed broadband capacities, something which is required more and more by public safety and emergency service users,” said Philippe Devos. “Our users need to be sure that their systems stay operational today and will also support tomorrow’s ways of working. We provide them with reliable solutions for that.”

Today, Tetrapol technology provides high value by delivering essential mission-critical voice services for public safety users. In future, however, this standard will continue to deliver voice services by using new, state-of-the-art core IT platforms. At the same time, PMR services will become virtualised through the introduction of modern Internet Protocol architectures. Furthermore, modern 4G radio technologies can be used to increase the flexibility of existing Tetrapol voice capabilities by adding broadband capabilities via innovative dual-mode platforms.

On the basis of this cost-efficient approach, Airbus Defence and Space has developed a new multi-standard base station platform in the 400MHz band, which combines PMR with long-term evolution (LTE) technology. This important network element enables PMR networks to add broadband services to their existing Tetrapol systems, with no impact on the quality of voice services. The used 400MHz band is an essential asset for the PPDR community.

What’s more, this new 4G-ready Tetrapol base station supports simulcast capabilities for efficient spectrum management. The platform allows the initial implementation of dedicated broadband coverage for public safety users while offering roaming capability with commercial or private networks in other bands that will in future be harmonised for PPDR.