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Member Article

Cellular networks ‘still vulnerable’ warn digital radio experts

Certain organisations in sectors relying on cellular network communications to securely carry mission critical and time sensitive data are still vulnerable to outages, warn digital radio system experts.

Cellular backhaul technology such as Push to Talk over Cellular enables efficient communications across multiple sites and from almost anywhere in the world as a modern alternative to transmitting information and data throughout a more geographically limited privately owned network.

However, Wesley Shilton, Director of TES Communication Solutions, says: “Many years after the adoption of the technology, we are still not at a stage where a cellular signal, coverage and service can be guaranteed.

“While a cellular data backhaul is the future for digital communications systems for many industries it cannot be said to be wholly failsafe in certain sectors such as transport where security of the signal and continuity of the service is critical.

“Even with multi-carrier SIM cards there is a risk in large crowds that data transfer times can be affected or even fail completely. This can be a delay in transferring information, but at worst the failure could result in a compromised response affecting business continuity.

“Given many security and emergency threats in our modern world involve large crowds, the ability to quickly transfer information, voice and data could be lifesaving.”

Cellular backhaul technology has been embraced by businesses across diverse industries based on two-way radios interacting using broadband cellular networks such as 4G or WiFi to share data and information. The technology allows people to use their own device rather than investing in handheld radios, while expansion of a network onto cellular can greatly expand the reach without the need for expensive infrastructure.

Wesley Shilton added: “Until there is a major change in failsafe technology on cellular networks, organisations critically reliant on the information travelling across these networks should consider dedicated communications infrastructure, without single point of failure, allowing information to flow uninterrupted and prioritising their data.

“We have worked with clients to create solutions which enjoy the best of both systems – building a hybrid service which allows all the benefits of cellular connectivity for extended coverage while maintaining an owned backhaul in critical areas that can maintain communications in the event of a cellular network failure or emergency.”

The government has offered guidance to operators of mission critical communication systems to adopt privately-owned backhaul solutions in response to the potential for cellular not being available during critical incidents or civil unrest.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Tustin .

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