The Mission-Critical Resource Center

Public Safety Should Look Hard at Mission-Critical Push-to-Talk

In Summary:

  • Push-to-talk over celluar (PTTOC) and mission-critical push-to-talk MCPTT services are provisioned over broadband wireless services and replicate the walkie-talkie functionality of traditional land mobile radio (LMR) portable radios.

  • Through gateways, these services can be interfaced with LMR networks to allow audio to be transmitted from LMR channels to the broadband application, and vice versa.

  • They offer a good alternative for personnel who have no need for a digital radio on a daily basis but need to be provided situational awareness and coordinated incident command.


This whitepaper examines push-to-talk over celluar and mission-critical push-to-talk technology, explaining why they may be a better choice than LMR in some cases, and how they provide significantly more flexibility regarding application, device and network choices. The biggest benefit of MCPTT service is that it replicates the PTT functionality of traditional LMR systems on devices that are smaller, lighter and much less expensive than portable radios traditionally carried by first responders. Also examined are important factors to consider when deciding whether to implement the technology.

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Next Generation 911: A New World for PSAP Network Maintenance

 In Summary:

  • Next Generation 911 will improve emergency response dramatically, but will bring challenges that require new approaches and skill sets.

  • Network and systems management will become considerably more complicated after an NG911 system has been implemented.

  • Many PSAPs lack the IT expertise to adequately monitor and protect and NG911 system.


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What's the Future of Land Mobile Radio in a FirstNet World?

In Summary:

  • Many public safety agencies have pondered whether the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will someday replace the land mobile radio systems that have traditionally provided mission-critical voice services.

  • Agencies should continue to invest in their LMR systems, even to the point of replacing them if necessary.

  • Government agencies should continue to track the progress of FirstNet, for the day will eventually come when the NPSBN has developed to the point that it is a viable alternative for LMR.


Many public safety communications officials are wondering if they should replace their land mobile radio (LMR) system now that FirstNet has become a reality. This whitepaper makes the case for why agencies shouldn’t abandon their plans to replace their LMR system.

Now that the public safety sector is contemplating the implementation of an IP-based network known as the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). Although this network was intended from the beginning to ramp up the public safety’s data capabilities in the field, a question was raised whether the NPSBN someday will replace the land mobile radio (LMR) systems that traditionally have provided mission-critical voice service.

The NPSBN eventually could one day satisfy all of public safety’s voice and data needs—the big question is when. Many public safety agencies have legacy LMR systems that are approaching end of life today, raising the question if they should burn up already limited financial resources on an LMR system that could obsolete in a few years. MCP recommends that public safety agencies not abandon the replacement of the LMR system for several reasons:

  • Talkaround still will be an issue.
  • System hardening still will be an issue.
  • Coverage and capacity concerns will note go away, and public safety agencies need to have complete visibility into their LMR systems regarding capacity requirements and how they are achieved.
  • User fees are expected to be much higher than today’s LMR systems.
  • Download this whitepaper on land mobile radio replacement to learn more

Download this whitepaper to read more about if, and why, agencies should not abandon an LMR replacement project in the foreseeable future.

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Topics: Land Mobile Radio, Wireless & Broadband, Consulting, Networks, White Papers

Posted on September 1, 2017

The Technical Evolution of the PSAP in a NG911 and Public Safety Broadband Environment

In Summary:

  • Data inputs that stream into a public safety answering point (PSAP) are increasing significantly, driven by the fact that public safety broadband and next generation 911 systems are Internet Protocol (IP)-based.

  • This will raise situational awareness in the PSAP to levels unimaginable only a short time ago.

  • Public safety broadband and NG911 must be converged for data to flow seamlessly between these two networks in order to be fully harnessed.


When public safety broadband networks, such as the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network being implemented under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority, and Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems are implemented, responding to emergency events will be dramatically different than it is today for the public safety community. Today, the amount of information that telecommunicators and first responders have is severely limited. In the future, the data inputs that data inputs that stream into a public safety answering point (PSAP) are increasing significantly, driven by the fact that public safety broadband and next generation 911 systems are Internet Protocol (IP)-based.

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The Nationwide NG911 Transition Requires State-Level Coordination and Vision

In Summary:

  • Today's legacy public safety communications systems are ill-suited to handle this increased data flow.

  • States that are making the most progress towards NG911 adoption share two main characteristics: strong statewide coordination and a statewide 911 strategic plan.

  • There are eight key areas that 911 state leaders should evaluate to identify potential deficiencies of a statewide 911 program.

Next Generation 911 (NG911) represents a significant leap forward for the emergency response sector primarily because it will deliver dramatically improved situational awareness to telecommunicators and field personnel. But the transition from legacy technology to NG911 is a difficult undertaking, especially when states try to go it alone. NG911 will require that state 911 authorities establish an effective leadership structure and then develop a comprehensive strategic plan to execute the migration.

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