Building a More Connected Public Safety Network

Sep 04. 2020
  • Nitin Goyal

    Principal Architect, Mission Critical Core Solutions

  • Jungoo Lee

    Practice Leader, MCPTX Solutions and Service Management, Product Strategy

For over a decade, first responders have used Land Mobile Radio (LMR) network to communicate with each other. LMR system has been a solid platform for public safety organizations, ensuring safety in our communities. While LMR network provides voice-centric communications and limited data transmissions, as we pass through 4G LTE and enter the 5G era, the current needs of the public safety sector are extending beyond basic voice and data communications.

Given the advancement of communications technology, including the fast transmission of multimedia and high-definition videos, the increasing need to modify and upgrade public safety networks and radio devices has called for the evolution from Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (MCPTT) to Mission Critical Push-To-Anything (MCPTX). The new MCPTX solution is an upgraded version of MCPTT with enhanced capabilities, enabled by 3GPP release 14. MCPTX allows first responders to be simultaneously connected with hundreds of fellow responders with flexible exchange of videos, images, large data files, and more during public emergencies.

However, there are some cost-efficiency and time concerns around replacing the entire legacy LMR system with broadband LTE networks that enable the latest MCPTX services. Governments have already made significant investments in LMR network solutions and are often hesitant to rip and replace their existing networks to implement PS-LTE networks that enable MCPTX. Nevertheless, global operators and organizations still see the importance and value in implementing advanced MCPTX networks in addition to the existing legacy networks in order to enhance public safety operations. So the question they face is how to enable the smooth introduction of MCPTX enabled networks while maintaining the value and usefulness of their current LMR networks.


For instance, let’s consider a practical scenario where a wild fire occurred. A fire fighter with a legacy LMR device is in need of communicating with another first responder nearby using an advanced MCPTX device. These two users with different network devices may be unable to communicate due to the lack of interoperability between the MCPTX network and the LMR network as currently deployed.


So, how can we help these two officers in different networks communicate with each other without having to replace the entire network?


We can achieve this by taking advantage of a solution that serves as a bridge or a gateway between LMR and MCPTX: the Land Mobile Radio-Interworking Function (LMR-IWF). This technology, which is offered as part of Samsung’s MCPTX solution, allows LMR network users to freely “talk” to the MCPTX network and its users, without having to replace the entire legacy LMR network.

LMR-IWF is a key solution that enables interoperability between LMR and MCPTX networks, bridging the gap between them. Once LMR-IWF is implemented, LMR devices can communicate with advanced MCPTX smartphone devices. In the U.S. alone, over ten million LMR devices are currently in use by public safety agencies and enterprises. At the same time, given the on-going large-scale deployments of PS-LTE networks for MCPTX in the U.S., the interoperability between LMR and MCPTX is becoming even more important for both types of networks to co-exist and operate together.

Samsung has been at the forefront of next generation technologies, playing a critical role in advancing communications technology for the public safety sector. MCPTX solution has been commercially deployed and operating in Korea’s Public Safety LTE (PS-LTE) network since 2018, supporting communication among first responders (Link). This solution also has been commercially deployed across six different railway lines as part of the nation’s LTE-Railway (LTE-R) network, providing reliable communications for station staff and train crews (Link). Additionally, Samsung's MCPTX solution has been recognized by various governments and operators around the world for its reliability and capability. Earlier this year, Samsung also demonstrated the world’s first MCPTX video call on a cloud platform (Link).


Samsung’s continued innovation has been the key driving force behind these achievements and we continue to move forward in enhancing our MCPTX capabilities. In partnership with experts in this field, Samsung will deliver a LMR-IWF solution that is fully virtualized, 3GPP standard-based, and also meets the advanced interoperability requirements between LTE-based MCPTX network and a wide range of legacy LMR networks.


Samsung understands the needs of the global operators and the public safety sector, and this understanding serves as a strong foundation for its success in this industry. Building LMR-IWF will surely be another milestone in its journey of developing cutting-edge solutions to transform the public safety sector. By enabling efficient flow and exchange of information, LMR-IWF will ultimately help improve situational awareness and informational accuracy for the first responders in cases of natural disasters and urgent threats.


We are proud to take part in building a stable and secure platform to keep communities around the world safe.

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