Associate Magazine - FBINAA - Q4 - 2022

F B I N A A . O R G | Q 4 2 0 2 2

Continued from "Public Safety & 5G – What You Need to Know, on page 12

4G networks. The wide set of spectrum bands available to be stacked together are unique to 5G, allowing network flexibility and effective functionality in a variety of operational environments. THE LARGEST 5G NETWORK ADVANTAGE After the 2020 merger with Sprint, T-Mobile deployed a great variety of spectrum to create America’s largest 5G network. This 5G capability is becoming increasingly beneficial to public safety and the potential is clear: first responder agencies can expand operational capabilities and improve overall information access and exchange. Because of 5G, many agencies are already seeing significant opportunities and realizing operational advantages in ways that would have been difficult to envision only a few years ago. The widespread adoption of 5G by public safety will be both transformational and revolutionary, with new capabilities continuing to evolve as agencies communicate their operational requirements to public safety technology vendors. DATA PRIORITY IS NOW A REALITY Access to mission-critical data is essential for first respond ers and T-Mobile recently announced an important develop ment regarding data prioritization on its network. During the recent FBI National Academy Associates Annual Conference, T-Mobile Sr. Vice President George Fischer told conference attendees that effective immediately, first responder agencies who have voice priority and preemption as a result of their enrollment in the Wireless Priority Service (WPS), will also have priority for their data on smartphones, hotspots and tablets. And in a situation where a natural disaster or major incident may impact service, T-Mobile will provide network resources to them first. Similarly, if a first responder is using data in a low-cov erage area, the network will automatically reallocate resources to help maintain that critical connection. A press release was issued

made possible by the high-band frequencies of millimeter-wave (mmWave) transmissions. Although mmWave can deliver remark able speeds, it has limitations. It does not effectively penetrate structures or other physical objects such as glass or even trees, and it has very limited range. This means that the use of mmWave technology is most appropriate for situations like a large stadium where the density of mobile devices is extremely high or on an open street corner with very heavy pedestrian traffic. At the other end of the 5G spectrum is low-band, also com monly known as the “coverage layer” because it is used to deploy substantial 5G coverage effectively across large areas. This is the approach used by T-Mobile to leverage the 600MHz spectrum nationwide and has resulted in the nation’s largest 5G network. A low-band cell site can cover very large areas and it’s very effective at passing through buildings. This makes it a practical and effec tive way to provide solid coverage to rural areas that previously lacked effective broadband coverage. Critical incidents can occur anywhere, including small rural communities. The rollout of the T Mobile 5G network to these underserved areas is remarkable and will allow many agencies to effectively leverage cellular technol ogy to improve operational capabilities. In between the high- and low-band layers is, not surprisingly, the mid-band spectrum and it delivers long range for broad cover age. Mid-band offers a balance of speed, capacity, coverage, and penetration that’s especially suited for densely populated urban areas where connectivity demand is high. This is why mid-band has often been called the “sweet spot” spectrum and it is espe cially well suited for many public safety operations. The high-capacity T-Mobile wireless network makes extensive use of both mid-band 2.5 GHz and low-band 600 MHz frequencies to deliver broad reach with signals that can penetrate structures and provide data transfer rates that are substantially faster than

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