Want to get the most out of TETRA and 4G/5G? Follow this tip

Published: 18 Dec 2019
Reading time: 5 min

There is a lot of talk about TETRA and 4G/5G, both together and separately.  Some may think that TETRA is already yesterday’s technology and 4G/5G is the bright hope of tomorrow. The truth is that both have their benefits and limitations – but the trick is how to combine these technologies to get the best of both worlds?

Although TETRA has limitations in transferring large amounts of data, there is no doubt it has many capabilities which mission critical professionals wouldn’t like to give up. On the other hand, 4G/5G can offer great data, video and streaming functions, but still has some security risks and threats that these users can’t accept.

Both technologies have their benefits but which one to choose? Do I need to take one and drop the other, you may ask? And which capabilities would I need to give up? Or is there a smart way to combine the benefits and the best parts of both technologies, getting them to run together like the parts of a highly tuned sports car?

Even if there is, how can you manage these two technologies in practice in your daily work? Carrying both a TETRA radio and a 4G/5G device, as well as accessories and batteries for each, is inconvenient, to say the least.

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Seamless switchover between TETRA and 4G/5G is the key

One user-friendly solution to use, which brings many benefits, is a hybrid device that is both a TETRA radio and a smartphone in one, such as Tactilon Dabat.

If you opt for a single, hybrid device, you’ll want know when to use TETRA and when to use 4G/5G and how to switch between them. For security reasons, you’ll want to ensure that TETRA remains the primary network, with 4G/5G supplying additional data services and acting as a backup if the user moves beyond TETRA coverage.

For you as a user, the switch over needs to be seamless and automatic, so that you can concentrate on the task, not the connections. Both of your hands must also be free to work on your duties - you shouldn’t need to monitor the display, nor manually select the network, both of which can take your attention away from your tasks.

Neither should you need to worry about the network in use or if you are moving beyond coverage. Roaming between the TETRA and 4G/5G networks needs to be performed instantly and automatically by your hybrid device. For you, it must be easy, seamless and efficient.

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Hybrid roaming – the bridge between TETRA and 4G/5G

A hybrid roaming type solution offers these functions and keeps you connected, while also increasing the area where communications are available. But what is needed to make it a reality?

Hybrid roaming is the bridge between TETRA and broadband 4G/5G.  It’s one of the best examples of how well 4G/5G and TETRA networks, a hybrid device and an app can work together.

Watch this video about Hybrid Roaming 

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How to make it a reality?

There are three building blocks for a hybrid roaming solution: a hybrid device, an app and a hybrid network.

Hybrid device

First you need a hybrid device, such as Tactilon Dabat, which is a TETRA radio and a smartphone in one.  It can connect to both TETRA and 4G/5G networks, meaning you can use it as a TETRA radio for critical communications and as a smartphone for professional mobile applications.  

Professional push-to-talk app

Secondly, you need a secure, professional push-to-talk app, like Tactilon Agnet 800, installed in your hybrid device.  The app allows your device to move automatically from using the TETRA network to using a 4G/5G network or vice versa. The switchover between the two networks is automatic and seamless, with no manual actions required from the user.

Hybrid network

Thirdly in a hybrid network users can continue with TETRA voice and data and introduce mobile broadband services step-by-step. A hybrid network means a TETRA network and an LTE network used in parallel. The 4G/5G services can be based on a dedicated broadband network, commercial services with Secure MVNO, or a combination of the two  You can also take up additional services when needed, making the hybrid network a long-term and affordable investment.  In hybrid network you can rely on having uninterrupted and seamless connections securely.

Hybrid roaming is the bridge between TETRA and broadband 4G/5G.  It’s one of the best examples of how well 4G/5G and TETRA network, a hybrid device and an app are working together.

If you want to learn more, you can download this executive briefing “How to minimize risks when introducing mission-critical broadband".

Download exec briefing

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The Secure Communications blog gives you insights into critical communications future, secure and critical communications, public safety and other professional apps, current events, Tetrapol and TETRA radios, and active paging, for example.