Tested across the country, FirstNet’s Push-to-Talk arrives with high marks

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Developed from the ground up specifically with and for public safety, FirstNet Push-to-Talk (PTT) is the first-ever nationwide mission-critical standards-based push-to-talk solution to launch in the U.S. The agency said they tested the FirstNet PTT solution with public safety agencies across the country, including the Cranford Police Department in New Jersey.

“Reliable communication is critical. It must work. It must be there when we need it,” said Captain Guy Patterson of the Cranford Police Department. “And it must be crystal clear because we don’t have time to repeat ourselves or introduce room for errors in fast-changing situations or when lives are on the line. Our experience with FirstNet Push-to-Talk has been excellent. On more than one occasion, FirstNet PTT allowed us to effectively communicate when our traditional systems failed.

“Testing FirstNet PTT was an intensely promising experience, showing us the future capability, quality and performance we can infuse into our response to enhance effectiveness and collaboration,” Captain Patterson continued.

Currently available in a controlled-introduction, FirstNet PTT is designed to enable public safety to use their smartphones, feature phones, and specialized ultra-rugged devices like they would use a two-way radio, with highly reliable, high-performance calling. FirstNet PTT will also deliver new features that allow first responders to better react to changing events.

FirstNet said they are building a broad ecosystem of devices, apps and accessories that will support FirstNet PTT and drive further innovation, choice and flexibility for public safety. The first device to launch is the Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro. This field-ready device is purpose-built, equipped with push-to-talk capability, and highly secure. Its features make it suited for use by first responders across all public safety disciplines.

Devices are subject to hundreds of tests that cover many key capabilities, from security and durability to network impacts, to help make sure they meet the needs of first responders. Only devices that pass these tests are certified and approved as FirstNet Ready™.

“We’ve also certified an Assured Wireless Corporation embedded IoT module and USB connected modem as FirstNet Ready in preparation for launching high-power user equipment (HPUE) solutions. Following 3GPP standards, power class 1 HPUE solutions can transmit stronger signals. This increased signal can only be transmitted using Band 14 spectrum – the nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet,” FirstNet said in a press release.

For first responders serving rural, remote and tribal communities, HPUE could significantly increase their coverage area. For urban and suburban first responders, this could help address the common challenge of indoor or below ground coverage. The stronger signal provides increased availability to meet mission needs for users who are connecting from hard-to-reach places like basements, elevators, stairwells, and parking garages, and helping first responders reliably communicate inside and out.

In 2017, the federal government selected AT&T to build and manage FirstNet, public safety’s network.

“We have a responsibility unlike any other wireless carrier, and the FirstNet Authority will hold AT&T accountable to deliver the solutions that meet public safety’s needs – today and for decades to come,” the company said.