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Making Direct Cellphone to Cellphone Communications a Reality with Sidelink

Walt Magnussen  (Director, Texas A&M University ITEC)

Jared Vandenheuvel  (Director, Public Safety Solutions, Texas Department of Public Safety)

Location: W240A

Date: Wednesday, March 27

Time: 4:20 pm - 4:50 pm

Track: First Responder Communications, Incident Management

Topic: Broadband, Critical Infrastructure, Interoperability, P25, Private Networks, PTT, Spectrum

Format: Power Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Ask any First Responder what one of the most important features of land mobile radio is and they will tell you that it is talk-around. This is the feature that allows responders to talk radio-to-radio when there either is no supporting infrastructure or when the infrastructure has been damaged. This capability is baked into the LMR systems including conventional analog and digital LMR , P25 and TETRA. Unfortunately, until now this capability did not exist in broadband radios such as LTE and 5G.

Working with Qualcomm, the TAMU ITEC tested a prototype of this new capability at the International Mission Critical push-to-talk plugtest in Spain in October of 2023. This plugtest represented the first public demonstration of this new capability.

Sidelink conforms with 3GPP standards and could be embedded in all public safety, defense, utility and transportation devices in the future. Unlike the LMR version of device to device, sidelink supports mesh networking which allows devices in the middle of the mesh to relay communications to the edges.

This session will discuss potential use cases, the status of sidelink, spectrum considerations and the status of sidelink across the globe.