Public Safety Communications above 6 GHz: Challenges and Opportunities

Marco Mezzavilla, Michele Polese, Andrea Zanella, Aditya Dhananjay, Sundeep Rangan, Coitt Kessler, Theodore S. Rappaport, Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advanced public safety communication (PSC) services call for fast, reliable and low-latency communication technologies, capable of supporting diverse communication modes (aerial, unmanned, vehicular, and peer-To-peer), fast channel dynamics, and ad hoc or mesh structures. For this reason, PSC has been identified as one of the key potential uses cases for the next generation of communication systems, the so-called 5G. In this scenario, the millimeter wave (mmWave) bands and other frequencies above 6 GHz are particularly interesting, since they are largely untapped and offer vastly more spectrum than current cellular allocations in the highly congested bands below 6 GHz, thus enabling orders of magnitude greater data rates and reduced latency. For example, new PSC networks in the mmWave bands could support high-definition video, virtual reality, and other broadband data to large numbers of first responders. Surveillance drones or ambulances could also be provided high-speed connectivity along with machine-Type communication for remotely controlled robotic devices entering dangerous areas. However, the way towards this ambitious goal is hindered by a number of open research challenges. In this paper, after a brief introduction to PSC services and requirements, we illustrate the potential of the frequencies above 6 GHz for PSC and discuss the open problems that need to be solved in order to pave this way. Finally, we describe the main components of a test platform for mmWave systems that is functional to the study of such complex scenarios and that we plan to develop as an invaluable tool for realizing mmWave PSC networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2018


  • Public safety and emergency communications
  • channel sounding
  • mmWave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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