ETELM LTE Glue Binds TETRA, DMR and Analog Worlds
ETELM provides radio systems for critical communications networks. The company's premier offer takes a radical approach that uses an LTE core network to interconnect base stations supporting legacy trunked and analog radio technologies including TETRA, P25 and DMR. The result is a unique approach that aims to get the best of both LTE and legacy technologies during a long period of technology transition.
Company Origin: Established by its President, Pierre Minot in 1981
Company Location: Les Ulis, France (30km southwest of Paris)
Size: Under 50 employees
Company Type: Private company
Revenue: €5 to 10 million
ETELM provides network elements required to deploy TETRA, DMR and analog radio access networks. The central thrust of ETELM innovation is a capability to interconnect a technology's base stations by leveraging the standard LTE S1 base station interface to the core network.
ETELM recognizes that not all customers operate LTE networks today. For those customers without an available LTE core network, the company offers its 4G Linked Solution that incorporates all needed Enhanced Packet Core (EPC) elements. For a small private system with approximately 100 subscribers, ETELM offers its LTE Core LITE.
The company's flagship e-TBS TETRA base station offer uses an LTE S1 interface for the link to an LTE core network that contains Application Servers hosting software supporting the technology protocols.
With its use of TETRA servers hosted on LTE core network Application Servers, ETELM enables direct integration -- no gateway required -- of smartphone-based applications designed to provide TETRA push-to-talk communication. Beyond the e-TBS base station for native TETRA radios, ETELM offers its e-LBS LTE eNodeB small cell to supply a classic LTE radio air interface for smartphones.
Of course, many customers may look to operate without LTE as an interconnect mechanism. ETELM offers a proven line of TETRA components including its NeTIS-B 25 Rackable Basestation, the NeTIS-BOX Portable Basestation and the NeTIS-FAST Transportable Basestation. These systems can operate as fully autonomous TETRA sites thanks to a built-in software switch that supports up to three base stations (local or remote over IP). For more than four nodes, ETELM offers its NeTIS-N Switch. A customer that migrates to an LTE-based interconnect architecture can upgrade any NeTIS B25 variant to an e-TBS and eliminate the requirement for the NeTIS-N Switch.
Like its TETRA offer, ETELM provides base stations for DMR and analog systems that interface directly to an LTE core network over the S1 interface. For DMR, the company offers e-DBS DMR basestation. Application Servers in the LTE core network handle the direct communications between the DMR subscribers and LTE subscribers running push-to-talk applications on LTE user equipment.
Traditional DMR configurations are provided as well. The company provides its DMR Management system for network control and DMR Dispatcher for console functionality. For networks that do not include an LTE core network, the ETELM XD serves as a standalone DMR basestation.
ETELM provides the e-ABS Analog basestation to interconnect analog radio signals using the LTE core network S1 connection. As with TETRA and DMR, the analog system allows customers to extra gateway boxes to interconnect disparate technologies.
By terminating TETRA, P25, DMR and analog protocols on software-based Application Servers in an LTE Core Network, ETELM helps agencies avoid complex gateway translation mechanisms.
ETELM offers a broad set of functionality including radio access network base stations, console systems, voice recorders and network maangement.
With its independently developed communications protocol stacks for TETRA and DMR, ETELM provides an offer that serves as an alternative to dominent equipment suppliers. The company has a natural interest in open standards and user equipment interoperability that competitors may lack.
ETELM's use of a core network to interconnect base stations and host higher level elements of the trunked radio system protocol stack means that network operators can leverage existing LTE EPC footprint for economic deployments.
ETELM can point to a long history of serving communications needs in the French market. Experience gained in TETRA deployments supporting transport, oil, gas and utilities boost confidence in the portfolio's stability and interoperability.
Compared to industry giants, ETELM operates at a smaller scale, raising questions about the company's capabilities supporting large-scale national deployments. That said, the company's strategy is to take its offer that is designed to scale for large national networks, and focus it towards smaller regional systems and vertical segments such as transport, utilities and oil/gas.
Using the LTE S1 interface to interconnect TETRA nodes calls for new operational skill sets that may give prospective customers pause. To offset potential concerns, the company's needs to demonstrate how its architecture improves network quality and Total Cost of Operations (TCO).
We take a positive stance on ETELM's creative approach towards addressing the growing role non-TETRA terminals have in TETRA deployments. Smartphone-based applications supporting TETRA functionality help reduce the number of devices personnel must carry while making it easier for TETRA users to retain access to a TETRA network when away from a job site. By moving TETRA system functionality into the LTE core network Application Servers, ETELM provides an elegant interoperability capability. The integrated functionality in the LTE core eliminates the need for external gateways that can reduce communication quality and add to system costs. But the ETELM solution may not be for all deployments. LTE core networks can be a challenge to configure and operate. The skill sets required may be too much for some traditional professional mobile radio (PMR) customers. Recognizing this issue, ETELM smartly continues to offer a non-LTE system.