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E911 Implementation in the U.S. - Technology Decisions, Deployments and Deadlines

  • ID: 5503
  • January 2003
  • Region: United States
  • 38 pages
  • Telecom Trends International (TTI)
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With a tight E911 deployment timeline, US carriers are faced with crucial technology choices. One wrong step and they would be locked in a technology choice that could be costly not only in terms of deployment but also in terms of lost opportunity of not being able to fully benefit from commercial revenue-generating services. This study, “E911 Implementation in the US: Technology Decisions, Deployments and Deadlines,” provides a comprehensive exposé of wireless location technologies and analyzes trade-offs, and has applicability beyond the US market.

E911 Implementation in the US: Technology Decisions, Deployments and Deadlines highlights continued carrier concerns about the technology’s current readiness as a GSM solution to meet impending FCC implementation deadlines.

The report also details how long running carrier issues with the impact and cost of Tdoa equipment deployment on existing network infrastructure remain unresolved and whether as a proprietary solution it can be deployed rapidly.

The creation of two levels of caller safety is also highlighted as a major concern. E911 callers on those GSM and Cdma networks deploying handset-based READ MORE >

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Contents<BR><BR>1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4<BR><BR>2. INTRODUCTION 6<BR><BR>3. BACKGROUND 7<BR><BR>3.1 Carrier Network Technology Choices 7<BR>3.2 The FCC Mandate 7<BR>3.3 The Hatfield Report 9<BR><BR>4. TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS 10<BR><BR>4.1 The Core Technologies 10<BR>4.1.1 The Principles of Positioning 10<BR>4.1.2 Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) 10<BR>4.1.3 Angle Of Arrival (AOA) 12<BR>4.1.4 Enhanced Observed Time Difference (E-OTD) 13<BR>4.1.5 Assisted GPS (A-GPS) 14<BR>4.2 Technology Performance 16<BR>4.2.1 Performance Attributes 16<BR>4.2.2 Known Performance 17<BR>4.2.3 Potential for Future Service Development 17<BR>4.2.4 Cost Considerations 17<BR>4.2.5 Compliance with Standards 18<BR>4.2.6 Technological Issues 19<BR><BR>5. MARKETPLACE DEVELOPMENTS 20<BR><BR>5.1 Carrier Deployment Plans 20<BR>5.1.1 GSM/TDMA 20<BR>5.1.2 CDMA 24<BR>5.1.3 iDEN 25<BR>5.2 Industry Cooperation 26<BR>5.2.1 Snap Track’s Test Groups 26<BR>5.2.2 E-OTD Industry Groups 26<BR>5.3 Technology-Related Developments 27<BR>5.3.1 Technology Roadmap 27<BR>5.3.2 Ongoing Patents Infringement Disputes 27<BR>5.3.3 Hardware Availability 27<BR>5.3.4 Handset Availability 28<BR><BR>6. CONCLUSION 30<BR><BR>APPENDICES 32<BR><BR>Appendix I:Waiver Requests 32<BR>Appendix II:E-OTD Carrier Trials 35<BR>Appendix III:Nextel Handsets Usage Guidelines 35<BR>Appendix IV:Hatfield Report Highlights 36<BR><BR>Tables<BR><BR>TABLE 1 — ACCURACY REQUIREMENTS OF PHASE II BASED ON WAIVERS GRANTED TO CARRIERS 8<BR>TABLE 2 — SUMMARY OF BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF POSITION-LOCATION OPTIONS 17<BR>TABLE 3 — FCC PHASE II HARDWARE AVAILABILITY 28<BR>TABLE 4 — DEPLOYMENT BENCHMARKS FOR CARRIERS USING HANDSET-BASED SOLUTIONS FOR PHASE II (BASED ON WAIVERS GRANTED TO CARRIERS) 32<BR>TABLE 5 — DEPLOYMENT BENCHMARKS FOR CARRIERS USING NETWORK-BASED SOLUTIONS FOR PHASE II (BASED ON WAIVERS GRANTED TO CARRIERS) 34<BR>TABLE 6 — RESULTS OF E-OTD CARRIER TRIALS IN THE UNITED STATES 35<BR><BR>

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<P>The United States leads the way in the network deployment of high accuracy wireless location technology to improve public safety. While commercial locationbased services have been launched in several countries, nowhere else in the world is there such a mature Government-driven policy to mandate wireless carriers to provide national coverage within a strict timeline.</p><BR><P>The Federal Communications Commission’s E911 mandate has placed considerable demands on wireless carriers in terms of cost, technology selection, equipment vendor support, deployment and rollout. In a market characterized from the outset by intensive political and commercial lobbying, carriers are under intense pressure to make clear commitments that, in technology terms, may be short term and expedient. The FCC’s recent imposition and continued threat of fines on carriers who fail to meet deployment deadlines has made this choice very public.</p><BR><P>Clearly, however, progress is being made. Technology is being deployed, location-enabled handsets are commercially available and the first Public Service Answering Points are now being connected. As the FCC-sponsored report on E911 by their former technology chief Dale Hatfield notes: “The center of attention of the industry has clearly shifted from discovering, developing, evaluating, and selecting ways of locating mobile units in wireless systems to integrating the location information into the existing E911 system.” </p><BR><P>However, our analysis of the current situation – particularly in the GSM market - raises a number of important issues concerning technology choice, its likely success, and potential challenges for carriers, vendors, and ultimately, the<BR>E911 user. In particular, the recent decision to trial and deploy a largely untested and unproven technology – called TDOA – to meet the E911 mandate in the GSM market raises particular issues which this report addresses.</p><BR><P>Our conclusions include the following:</p><BR><P>· Deployment of network-based solutions will create a “two class” E911 service with operators offering different levels of accuracy with handset-based solutions offering a higher level of accuracy</p><BR><P>· TDOA may impact on carrier network performance at a time when consumer concerns about capacity on carrier networks are already prevalent</p><BR><P>· Small proprietary vendors’ ability to roll out their products is questionable when the technology remains unproven and in some cases not yet in large scale production</p><BR><P>· There remain significant practical concerns among carriers about physical deployment with problems already identified with urban zoning and siting on existing towers</p><BR><P>· Concerns exist among the carrier community about proven TDOA performance in the GSM environment</p><BR><P>In light of this, we believe that using a non-standardized solution that is not supported by the major equipment vendors may jeopardize the wide scale and rapid deployment required by the FCC mandate. Seemingly unresolved patent disputes between the two major suppliers of TDOA-related technology also remain an issue.</p><BR><P>Returning to the “Hatfield Report”, the ability of the TDOA to support future commercial location-based services, in line with report recommendations, is also uncertain.</p><BR><P>This study also concludes:</p><BR><P>· E-OTD, the standardized GSM high accuracy location technology, has delivered known performance and is already consistently meeting FCC 2002 accuracy targets in trial sites in the US.</p><BR><P>· A-GPS, developed by Qualcomm subsidiary, SnapTrack, ideally suited for CDMA networks, appears to have a captive market in terms of deployment by CDMA carriers.</p><BR><P>· E-OTD and A-GPS have the backing of market-share leading infrastructure and handset vendors. TDOA and AOA solutions are<BR>generally provided by independent equipment suppliers.</p><BR><P>· In the medium term it is those technologies – such as E-OTD and A-GPS - that enjoy significant industry backing from within the vendor community that are likely to provide readily deployable and scalable solutions</p><BR><P>· Technologies such as E-OTD and A-GPS will provide not only the personal security and safety service required by the E911 but in the long term provide the platform for high accuracy location-based services which, ultimately, will help carriers recoup their immense investment</p><BR><P>There is also a broader longer-term issue concerning location technology choice. If technologies are to develop and deliver improved performance over time then they require sustained investment. History tells us that this comes through widespread adoption by the equipment vendor community who can deliver the economies of scale and the research and development capability to drive technology forward. It is our conclusion that the long term global high accuracy location choice will be divided between A-GPS and E-OTD. While the United States takes its rightful place in the vanguard of public safety provision through the E911 mandate, in order to protect and preserve that position in the future it will also need to lead the world in the take-up of globally accepted standards and technologies.<BR></p>

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