Thales leading French development of secure 4G radio for emergency services

Posted on 19 May 2016 by Tim Brown
Soldiers using existing Thales HF station communication technology - image courtesy of Thales
Soldiers using existing Thales HF station communication technology - image courtesy of Thales

Thales is leading a consortium of nine businesses to develop secure high speed 4G radio communications for security agencies and emergency services.

The consortium, called the Fed4PMR project, is aiming to create a high-data-rate LTE / 4G radio communications system. The new means of communication will allow for images, videos, data and voice to be shared securely by police, ambulance and security services.

The ambition of the Fed4PMR project is to provide a successful transition from, voice-only communications to next-generation 4G radio systems, while guaranteeing the necessary network security and resilience.

The proposed solution will combine multiple types of access networks (dedicated networks, virtual mobile networks, temporary networks) in a single infrastructure.

This infrastructure will be used to deliver multimedia-enabled radio services, including real-time transmission of pictures and video, database lookups and other professional applications, to meet the needs of users conducting critical missions in difficult situations.

Thales has formed a consortium with seven SMEs (Air-Lynx, Archos, Eolane-Douarnenez, Expway, Ibelem, Silicom and Sysoco) and researchers at Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris. The group will develop the key technological building blocks for a demonstrator. This demonstrator will be officially unveiled at the end of a 36-month collaboration although the first operational demonstrations is scheduled for September 2016.

To prepare for future evolutions, researchers at Pierre et Marie Curie University will ensure that studies incorporate future 5G concepts. To validate the operational scenarios, mobile telephony operator SFR will make its 4G network available for tests to be performed in conjunction with the various dedicated networks.

The Fed4PMR project is part of the telecom sovereignty component of France’s new industrial regeneration policy. It is partly funded by the French authorities through the Public Investment Bank (BPI) and the PIA investments for the future programme.

“The professional radio communications market is undergoing a real revolution with the advent of 4G/LTE technology, marking a radical break with conventional TETRA-based systems,” said Marc Darmon, executive vice president, Secure Communications and Information Systems, Thales.

“The key players in this market in the future will be those who successfully integrate the offerings of telecom equipment suppliers, telephony operators and innovation-driven start-ups. Thales intends to draw on this ecosystem to offer resilient, secure high-data-rate PMR solutions,” he said.