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Communications Inc. Public Emergency Alerts Over Cellular Phones …The Challenges. Gyles Panther 6 November 2003. Basic Alerts, Requirements. Primary Notification (Alert) Instruction / Direction Calm and Inform Interactive Management Situation Analysis. Basic Alerts, Suitability.

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communications inc

Communications Inc

Public Emergency Alerts Over Cellular Phones

…The Challenges

Gyles Panther

6 November 2003

basic alerts requirements

Basic Alerts, Requirements

Primary Notification (Alert)

Instruction / Direction

Calm and Inform

Interactive Management

Situation Analysis

basic alerts suitability

Basic Alerts, Suitability

Primary Notification (Alert) 

Instruction / Direction 

Calm and Inform 

People Management 

Situation Analysis 


The Issues

  • What constitutes Wireless
  • Addressing Geographical Regions
  • Network Issues (Carrier)
  • Alerting Issues (Alertee)
  • HandSet Issues (Phone)
  • Implementation
wireless networks
Wireless Networks
  • Cellular- GSM / TDMA / CDMA / IDEN
  • Paging- One Way (POCSAG / FLEX)- Two Way (REFLEX / Data Networks)
  • Data Networks- Mobitex / Ardis
  • New cellular data capabilites- GPRS, 1xRTT
  • Chosen Focus is Cellular

Normal (Voice) communications

  • Network : locates handset by registration
  • Control channel sets up comms
  • Single phone Address i.e. One to One
  • Cannot address One to Many
  • No intrinsic mapping of cells to location
  • Cells variable in size

Alert Transmissions

  • Address ALL, i.e. Broadcast
  • Registration irrelevant
  • Geographical Address
  • Alert Message Transmitted Digitally
  • Message Content :- Displayed Text ( Language? ) - Spoken ( Language?) - Displayed ( Video +Speech, language? )
data over wireless
Data Over Wireless
  • GSM

GPRS…Packet data service 170kb/s raw; 40kb/s Usable ? EDGE…Enhanced GSM packet data 384kb/s raw; 60kb/s Usable?UMTS…3G Packet data service: 2Mb/s raw; 144kb/s Usable?

  • CDMA1xRTT…Basic CDMA packet: 144kb/s raw; 60kb/s Usable?3xRTT…Enhanced CDMA packet, 2Mb/s raw; 144kb/s Usable?
  • IDEN(?)
existing message service
Existing Message Service
  • e.g. SMS- Implemented by all carriers- Interoperable between carriers- Text Messages- Approximately 160 Character limitation
  • EMS, MMS- Large data files- spooled voice- photographic Picture quality (needs display!)
  • but….
    • All are Point to Point
gsm cell broadcast
GSM- Cell Broadcast
  • Cell Specific BroadcastsPoint to MultipointShort messages, limited to 15 * 93 Characters (SMS-CB)Up to 64k CB “Channels”
  • Optional ETSI Standard (1993)Software upgrade to GSM networkNot widely implementedLimited / no commercial payback.
  • “Cell Broadcast Forum”Standardized handset requirementsUser Opt IN-OUT service selectionSMS-CB can trigger data “pull” ( via WAP )
geographic addressability
Geographic Addressability
  • Return path for 2-Way devices inherentlyrequires network location
  • Cellular handsets continuously located through“registration” process
  • Supposition of network geography on networklocation
  • Geographic resolution depends on cell size,likely poor
cell broadcast limitations
Cell Broadcast – Limitations
  • Cell Resolution is variable,
    • Network to network,
    • Place to Place
selective area reception
Selective Area Reception
  • Assuming………- A broadcast capability, regional or wide area- A population of network assisted GPS handsets…
  • A Broadcast alert message with…. - “Network assist” GPS data- “Geographic Address” (targeted area)- Emergency alert Message- Enunciation control data- Plus control fields…
  • Phones located in Geographic address respond…
handset function
Handset Function
  • Special Alert- Display Standardized Message- Streaming Audio File
  • Probably amenable to commerce
  • Cellular networks now data “pipes”
  • Alert / Handset function- Through Network definitions (eg CAB) ?- Through Handset Software ?
limitations and liabilities
Limitations and Liabilities
  • Some Handsets will miss alerts:- Poor local coverage- Handset in use
  • Handset use while driving banned some places
  • Warned user might consult display while driving- Injury may result- Who owns legal liability?
  • Much preferred to send voiced message- text to voice, or- Streaming audio file
a cas system
A CAS System
  • A CAS Server application- Highly reliable, Redundant architecture- Authentication on Clients, direct users
  • Message Gateway to each carrier
  • Client population- Generator sites (Police, EMO, Environmental Agencies)- GUI / GIS capability- Overlay of Sensitive Sites- Authentication of Users (generators)
  • Cell Broadcast Alerts- Now available GSM, Coming for CDMA- less than Ideal system could be built- Limited system, Patented
  • Selective Area Reception- New Message Types- Handset software required- Better System, no patents
  • Funding- Commercial Applications ?- Subsidies ?
  • Neither Do-able on Present Networks
  • CAB requires:- CAB Network Implementation (Expensive?)- Public take-up of CAB capable phones- Network development (Geo overlay on Network Topology)
  • SAR requires:- Extensive lobbying of specifying entities- New system message types (broadcast)- New generation of handsets/handset software
  • Implementation must be International
  • Government -Industry group to define

- Method of selective area access

- Broadcast Message spec

    • CSAAC network requirements
  • CAS system Design- Server system and Application S/W- Client Application Software
  • CAS administrative functions- System management, Training, public awareness,
challenges 1
Challenges (1)
  • 5 year horizon may require mandate
  • Formation of common intent
  • Complex service behaviour
    • Through Handset Software?
    • Through Network Standards?
  • Agree on CAS method
    • Cell location
    • Selective Area Reception (GPS)
  • Commercial Applications
    • Traffic, Geo-referenced Advertising
thank you
Thank You

Communications Inc

Gyles Panther

Wi-Sys Communications Inc.

308 Legget Drive,

Ottawa, Ontario

K2K 1Y6