Tactical LTE Networks for Military and First Responder Applications

The Basics of Tactical Communications for the Military and First Responders

Be it in military operational areas, or in the wake of natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis, military and first responder personnel must to be able to set up and tear down highly mobile communications networks rapidly, often in areas that are difficult or impossible to support. In the case of the military, users may have particularly demanding anti–jamming and encryption requirements. Both must also deal with a large variety of end–user equipment, an extremely challenging budget landscape, and the knowledge that lives are often directly on the line.

The traditional answer to these challenges, referred to as Land Mobile Radio (LMR), has been implemented in the military via software–defined radio (SDR) due to its ability to evade jamming, support encryption, sustain upgrades without impacting hardware, and cope with a wide variety of user equipment. However, with LTE offering an increasing amount of flexibility plus the lower costs associated with a widely deployed commercial technology, military interest in LTE has grown — including interest in how to integrate existing SDR technology with LTE.