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Architectural Framework for Public Safety Broadband Network

March 18th, 2011 by Behzad Ghaffari - Systems Engineering Chief, ERIC, PSHSB

Do we need one?

On Jan 25th, 2011, the Commission adopted Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the common air interface for the nationwide interoperable broadband network for public safety in the 700 MHz band.   This order also adopted a set of LTE interfaces to ensure interoperability and roaming.  To this end, this item set a minimum level of requirements to establish the technology and standards on which a nationwide interoperable broadband network is to be developed.  This was a significant step but certainly not the last one towards nationwide interoperability.  Considerable work remains in establishing and adopting rules to ensure nationwide interoperability for this network. 

In the same item, the FCC also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that addresses a host of issues related to achieving nationwide interoperability.  This includes questions about an architectural framework for the network. When we talk about architecture, it may sound like we are building a house; but in our case, this architectural framework will provide a view of the final network build out, a roadmap to signify the evolution steps for network, and the capabilities offered to users.  

While this notice does not dictate network architecture, it does set the stage for ways to achieve an architectural framework by inquiring about guiding principles.  Using the same house building analogy, we may not want to mandate exactly what the house should look like, but we may want in principle to ensure that it is built on one acre of land, with a kitchen, a family room, a dining room, a living room, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a basement.  There will be many different ways to design a house with these characteristics, but they are all principally built based on this given data. We proposed some guiding principles for the construction of this nationwide broadband network in the notice and sought comment on many open issues.   We look forward to reviewing the input on this very important issue, for what may be the very foundation of the public safety broadband network.

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