Push Forward Blog

Get More Out of Your LMR Network with Broadband Push-to-Talk (PTT)

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 As the LMR network manager, you’re being asked to connect more people, in more places, with a smaller budget than ever before. So, what do you do when: 

  • Your radio system doesn’t have the capacity for any more users but dispatch just informed you they just added more radio equipped vehicles;

  • Workers complain they are dispatched to areas where network coverage is poor or non-existent;

  • Your budget is shrinking but your calls for service are increasing?

You could call your LMR vendor and ask what it would cost to upgrade, expand, or replace the existing network, but why bother when you know there is no budget. Or, you could take a different path. Why not look at what some of your colleagues have been doing with great success, that is augmenting their existing LMR network with carrier-integrated Broadband PTT. A few examples of how LMR augmentation can help include:

  1. Explosive growth inside your organization has caused the LMR system to reach capacity much sooner than expected. You can follow what several of your colleagues have done, and move some users to Broadband PTT to free up LMR channels for more critical users. Anyone already using a smartphone to access productivity applications in the field is an ideal candidate to move to Broadband PTT, and LMR interoperability provides them with seamless PTT communication with those users on the LMR network.

  1. If your users frequently assume the “Statue of Liberty” pose to reach dispatch, it might be time to improve LMR coverage with Broadband PTT augmentation.

The Statue of Liberty pose                                                The Statue of Liberty pose

When LMR systems are built, they are often designed for 95% coverage based on a portable LMR radio on the belt of the user because designing for 100% coverage is incredibly expensive and seldom possible. In outlying areas, impaired radio reception may occur when the radio is inside or behind a building, near a large vehicle, or even shaded by the body of the user. Augmenting LMR with carrier-integrated Broadband PTT can provide an overlay of coverage, ensuring that the user has PTT communications in otherwise marginal coverage areas.

  1. When calls for service increasingly come from outside your LMR footprint, Broadband PTT can help with the problem.    

Calls_for_Service_area_versus_LMR_Footprint                                       Calls for Service area versus LMR Footprint

With time, coverage requirements change as growth takes your users to the edge, and sometimes beyond the range of your LMR system. While developers are often nimble and can quickly build out a new light industrial park or subdivision, upgrading an LMR system typically takes a several years from the time the need is validated to the solution is in place. The good news is carriers quickly add coverage as new areas are developed, and likely already have Broadband PTT coverage where you need it. Augmenting your existing LMR system is easy with a one call to your carrier.

  1. Your maintenance budget is shrinking but your costs are going up. You can’t afford to repair and replace all the radios and site equipment you need. Shifting users to Broadband PTT can relieve stress and cost of maintaining an aging LMR system. Call your carrier, download the app, get the LMR gateway, and talk!

  1. Your staff needs to stay in touch when they travel outside the LMR footprint, and augmented Broadband PTT keeps them connected. Your staff can remain in contact anywhere your carrier has coverage, and can add additional talkgroups to support their needs.

In summary, LMR and Broadband PTT complement each other very well.  Augmenting an existing LMR system with additional capacity, coverage and features at a lower cost provides relief from expensive upgrades. Augmentation also allows more time to consider future solutions, and can drastically reduce capital funding issues. Together, LMR and Broadband PTT provide cost effective communications solution with high interoperability levels, low cost and the flexibility to easily add or remove users as needed.

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