Monday, July 16, 2012

Public Safety Broadband LTE: It’s more than just video and voice calls…it’s about highly classified operations

I see strong similarities between the Public Safety Broadband Network and the classified networks of the Intelligence world.

With the advancement of the Public Safety Broadband network will come the ability to carry multiple forms of traffic. I am talking traffic above and beyond your typical video streaming and voice capabilities being advertised. Although it is a nice feature, it is only one of many features that can best be classified as M2M (Machine to Machine) or M2H (Machine to Human) interfacing. Allow me to explain.

There are many forms of data collection methods. In the intelligence world (unless its been updated since I last dealt with it) data collection and dissemination is broken into 5 major Intelligence arms; Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronics Intelligence (ELINT) and ultimately MASINT (Mass Spectrometry Intelligence).  As for the Public Safety Broadband Network there is no reason the same such alignment could be made. For IMINT it correlates to the streaming Video and Picture capabilities. For HUMINT it would be the alignment with Officer traffic, messaging and instant reporting functionality. For SIGINT you will see the typical patterns of call monitoring, text deciphering, code transmission and RF based signal propagation and analysis. For ELINT it could be the signal origination and electronic signal tracking scenarios. And for MASINT it could be the added advantage of chemical discernment videography and alternative forms of radio base imagery platforms, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar or LiDAR. Such intelligence collecting platforms work with discernable traffic patterns that ultimately communicate through a private classified network. This is just one comparison to one market segment, i.e. Police, SWAT, DoD, etc.. There will be a host of “other” traffic patterns as well.

Other traffic patterns could be made up of your typical SCADA based critical and non-critical forms of communication, i.e. Utilities, Traffic, mass transit, high-speed rail and infrastructure monitoring, etc.. The point I’m trying to make is the amount and variation of the traffic scenarios that could ultimately interface into this Public Safety Network will not just be about voice and video streaming.

The Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) will be comparable to a war fighter solution based off a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) platforms. Essentially we would be at the starting point of major private and classified communication networks all subsets of the broadband technology. It’s important to remember that the PSBN will interface with more than the typical commercial carrier network.

Now imagine all that sensitive traffic and the need to monitor, maintain and disseminate all the data collected. It may be just me, but we may be overlooking a much more complex issue of centralized control center and data center functionality. One essential area I can think of would be the data collection of CBRNE – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive – detection and analysis methods. Going way beyond the video streaming capability it will become instrumental that these types of collection methods, and their inherent patterns of data, be augmented to the Public Safety Broadband scenario. In essence, street signs, light poles, police cars, fire trucks, transmission lines and even video surveillance methods institute such things as the CBRNE characteristics as part of their designs – to include unmanned vehicles for monitoring functions. Such data collection methods draw upon the communications footprint of the broadband network by tying in all the collector assets. But this explosion of data collection needs to be transmitted to secure facilities for data storage, monitoring and manipulation. I’m afraid that the types of centralized data storage and monitoring facilities I am referring to have not even been talked about yet. Maybe its time to classified our plans?

Just some guy and a blog...

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