Recent events have shown that in the aftermath of an emergency, disaster or any related tremendous unexpected events, a reliable communication infrastructure plays an important role in providing critical services including emergency recovery operations, critical infrastructure restoration, post-disaster surveillance etc. In most of the cases, immediately after a large scale disaster, the normal terrestrial network infrastructure is seriously compromised and cannot guarantee reliable and large scale coverage for rescue teams and citizens. Current mission critical communication systems including PPDR (Public Protection for Disaster Relief) systems are heavily limited in terms of network capacity and coverage. They are not designed for or suitable to address large scale emergency communication deployments immediately after the disaster scenarios where these networks can provide dependable and resilient network connectivity at higher data rates over large coverage areas. Moreover, PPDR systems are limited by interoperability barriers and the technological gap with commercial technologies and evolving standards.
|The figure sketches the different network elements and communication links enabling the overall ABSOLUTE ecosystem.|
Furthermore, the first responder devices and terminals are getting smarter with new applications supporting packet data with integrated sensors and other monitoring and the availability of multimode heterogeneous embedded receivers. Such improvements call for a marked increase in capacity and energy demands for the first responder (FR) user terminals. Further, there is a large demand in the PPDR community for higher bandwidth emergency communication infrastructure to cater for the new mission critical services with very high throughput and low-delay requirements during the immediate post-emergency period (including real-time video streaming and video surveillance, exchange of high resolution pictures etc). Also some foreseen/unforeseen events with large aggregation of professional and consumer users such as e.g. big sport events, road shows or concerts require high capacity and/or dedicated coverage that the legacy terrestrial network infrastructure cannot provide rapidly.
These factors underline an urgent requirement for a rapidly deployable multi-purpose, multi service and multi-band interoperable and integrated network infrastructure capable of supporting reliable high data rate applications to serve large scale disaster emergency situations and the temporary event scenarios.
In response to the requirement to deploy flexible and rapidly deployable resilient network infrastructures, the main goal of ABSOLUTE is so to design and validate through field trials an innovative architecture ensuring reliable communication services in the aforementioned scenarios based on the following main features:
- Rapid deployment,
- Flexible, scalable, resilient and secured network
- Broadband multi-service and mobility support;
- Integration of LTE-A with current public safety networks (TETRA) and advanced satellite communications.
The most important network elements and sub-systems that ABSOLUTE will pioneer and demonstrate are
- Low altitude Aerial LTE-A Base stations (AeNB) enabling a large coverage for broadband services
- Portable Land Mobile Unit LTE-A Base Stations (PLMU) interoperable with conventional PPDR systems and sensor networks, enabling dedicated coverage and coordination
- Broadband satellite backhauling capabilities in Ka-Band and advanced LTE-A Professional terminals enabling direct mode LTE communications and direct messaging services via S-band satellite
- Multi-Mode User Equipment terminal (MM-UE) which includes not only LTE-A user equipment but also encompasses a TETRA radio for public safety and integrates a narrowband S-band satellite link
ABSOLUTE objectives will be achieved through the opportunistic combination of aerial, terrestrial and satellite communication links with the aim to maximize network availability and allow a rapid and incremental network deployment. This seamlessly reconfigurable and highly scalable network environment will also embed adequate levels of mobility support and energy efficiency. The project will conjugate theoretical investigations and software simulations with proof-of-concept validation via prototypes and field trials.
ABSOLUTE will greatly impact the public safety communication systems landscape in Europe, enabling European operators, manufacturers and providers to exploit new market opportunities for LTE-A as well as mobile and fixed satellite communications. Indeed, Absolute project will allow end users to access a secure broadband network being rapidly deployable in different conditions. But Absolute project aims also to impact CEPT initiatives with regard to PPDR frequency allocation in Europe and 3GPP standardization for public safety applications.
2013 - 2016
Thales Communications and Security, FR
France Telecom, FR
Triagnosys GmbH, DE
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V., DE
Center for Research and Telecommunication Experimentation for Networked Communities, IT
University of York, UK
Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, DE
University of Duisburg-Essen, DE
Mira Telecom, RO
British APCO, UK
Agence Nationale des Fréquences, FR
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, AUS
Jozef Stefan Institute, SLO
Nomor Research GmbH, GE