MPLS-Based Networks Keep Public Safety Communications Humming

Next Generation Communications Blog

MPLS-Based Networks Keep Public Safety Communications Humming

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

When it comes to first responder communications, network quality matters a lot. Public safety organizations need reliable, secure communications networks.

Traditionally, public safety networks have used plesiochronous digital hierarchy (PDH), synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) or synchronous optical network (SONET) TDM technologies for their networks. But as communications have evolved, TDM is proving insufficient for IP-based voice, video and data systems.

“Many public safety communications networks are evolving to broadband solutions which utilize an IP WAN for first responder radio networks, video surveillance, LTE, improved interoperability, and better integration with growing IT applications, noted a recent white paper on the topic by Alcatel-Lucent, "Mission-Critical Communications Networks for Public Safety."

That’s because many of these applications are resource-intensive and need more bandwidth than existing mission-critical voice and sensor traffic.

For many, the solution to better optimize operations for public safety is a converged IP/MPLS-based network.

An IP/MPLS-based network offers several advantages to public safety organizations. First, it optimizes the available bandwidth in the network to make possible the introduction of new applications. It also reduces the dependency on leased lines, adds bandwidth, enables LTE backhaul for mobile broadband and both reduces network complexity and improves efficiency.

Such benefits not only enhance the safety of the general public, but also expand the use of the network and the investment of the agencies, according to the Alcatel-Lucent paper.

Using a solution such as that offered by Alcatel-Lucent, an upgrade to a converged IP/MPLS network can help deliver high network availability, network virtualization, quality of service guarantees for priority traffic, support for existing mission-critical TDM services and new IP and Ethernet applications, and flexible synchronization options.

It also can reduce operating and maintenance costs, improve first responder safety through always-on communications, and deliver readiness for LTE deployment.

“Alcatel-Lucent has state-of-the-art, highly reliable and secure, IP-MPLS-based communications equipment that can form a single converged network, with integrated optical and microwave packet transport, providing a reliable infrastructure to support mission critical voice, video, and data communications,” noted the paper.

It added: “This approach expands broadband to first responders while transforming traditional backhaul and site-to-site communications to a converged network that enables true multi-agency interoperability with enhanced safety and efficiency.”

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