3T Communications looks to the future of TETRA networks

3T CEO Thomas Haschberger outlines the company’s development strategy and future roadmap to James Atkinson following its acquisition by Sepura in May 2012

3T Communications looks to the future of TETRA networks

Sepura’s acquisition of 3T Communications in May 2012 gave both firms the ability to provide customers with end-to-end TETRA systems and products. 

Sepura has established a strong reputation in the TETRA mobile and portable terminal market, while 3T Communications, founded in 2005 as a spin-off of Frequentis, designs turnkey TETRA systems and products, as well as providing components for OEM partners. 

Speaking to Wireless at OMR Expo 2012, Thomas Haschberger, CEO at 3T Communications, says: ‘Becoming part of Sepura was a good strategic move for us too. We’ve always had a good relationship with Sepura. Sepura is used to working with the indirect channel through distributers, especially in continental Europe. 

‘We have worked with them in the past,’ he continues. ‘Around 90% of the terminals we distribute are Sepura ones and they now have a complete terminal portfolio following the introduction of the ATEX terminal, which fulfils our requirements, especially in the oil and gas market.’

While 3T is usually perceived as supplying small to mid-size TETRA networks, its largest deployment in fact comprises 170 base stations. Haschberger says 3T can deliver unlimited numbers of base stations if necessary. ‘We can supply a network architecture of up to 128 base stations, but sub-networks can be connected to larger networks, so we can provide larger ones. But up to 50 base stations is the sort of size we normally supply.’

3T product portfolio

3T’s main TETRA infrastructure product is the eXTRAS system, which it designed, developed and manufactures. It is aimed at small systems and regional networks using full IP technology. It comes with network and subscriber management systems and a full set of components including IP-switches, base stations, dispatchers, gateways for SIP, ISDN, VoIP and analogue and recording facilities. 

The company’s standard eXTRAS FR400 TETRA base station can handle up to four carriers in a 35HU cabinet or up to eight carrier in a 39HU cabinet. 

At the other end of the scale, the eXTRAS SOLO is described as a cost effective single carrier base station, which can be operated stand alone or in an eXTRAS network. 

It comprises a 25W transceiver with two-way diversity and all the antenna network, power supply and controller in one box. It can be installed in a 19" rack, mounted to a wall or deployed in a vehicle for use as a mobile network as part of 3T’s eXTRAS Deployable system with the addition of a mobile mast.

The company also supplies a broad range of dispatcher products including line dispatchers, radio dispatchers and dispatchers for deployable systems. Full digital recording means all the call data records are logged together with TETRA coded voice. Data can be recorded as well.

Applications integration

Haschberger says 2013 will see a software upgrade for both the small and large eXTRAS base stations to provide full integration of various applications such as dispatch, AVL and Sepura’s STProtect indoor tracking and location solution. ‘All of this will be integrated into our new dispatcher application, which comes with a touchscreen interface.’

3T is also looking towards the evolution of unified LTE voice and data networks for mission critical use. ‘It won’t happen in the next five years, but we are developing a road map, as it will happen sometime,’ says Haschberger.

In the meantime, he can imagine a strategic partnership or an OEM product to provide an overlay on existing systems to enable the use of broadband LTE apps on TETRA networks.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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