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Emergency workers with 4G walkie-talkie technology can operate even if the infrastructure goes down, said Emil Olbrich, lead project engineer for the office of law enforcement standards at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He talked about 4G walkie-talkie technology at the 4G World show in Chicago last week.

Qualcomm is “taking the lead” in developing a push-to-talk technology for public safety LTE that can allow communications even if the network goes down, Olbrich says.

“In the event that that happens, the public safety radios can be switched so they work like walkie-talkies, talking to each other without the need for infrastructure in between,” he explains.

Olbrich says LTE Release 10, also known as LTE Advanced, will bring Self Organised Networks to the fore.

“The ability to have SON will be a unique opportunity going forward. For example if you have a football game or a large scale events with hundreds or thousands of people located within a specific geographic area we can then tune the system to support public safety responders in that area to support the first responders appropriately and then retune the network once that event is done without having to physically send people out.”

Major operators including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint offer VoIP-based P2T using technology from Kodiak Networks and Qualcomm.

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