A new white paper from SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) found that LTE is unlikely to replace LMR in the near future. Instead, the report said, the two technologies are likely to merge.
For almost a century, radios have been the primary means of communication within the public-safety community, linking personnel to their dispatchers and each other. Since the advent of P25 more than 30 years ago, LMR systems have become interoperable and acquired a long list of enhanced features and capabilities. While designed primarily for group and individual voice services, LMR systems today offer end-to-end encryption and low-speed, non-broadband data applications for location services, over-the-air rekeying (OTAR), and limited data exchange.
The joint SAFECOM/NCSWIC P25 User Needs Working Group (UNWG) developed the “Land Mobile Radio (LMR)/Long Term Evolution (LTE) Integration: Best Practices” white paper to share a snapshot of best practices and integration use cases identified by a variety of public-safety members across the country during interviews conducted by P25 UNWG members and supported by CISA.
The document explores early LMR/LTE integration efforts at the state and local levels. Gathered through interviews with public-safety practitioners who are pioneering LMR/LTE integration, the document aims to demonstrate the potential of these efforts and presents some of the lessons these agencies have learned along the way. The white paper found it is unlikely that LTE will replace LMR in the foreseeable future; rather, LMR and LTE technologies will likely merge. Service providers and vendors are already offering gateways and software that can integrate the two, and public-safety agencies across the United States are implementing these solutions to enhance their operational efficiency.