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The Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is exploring the 5G test bed space, seeking lab systems (rather than commercial solutions) for public safety applications and use cases.


As 5G launches, the technology can afford first responders with new and improved ways to use mobile technology for public safety applications. The PSCR group at NIST needs to be able to test these technologies in the lab so that first responders can maximize their use in the real world. Specific use cases include:

  • Alignment of Devices and Infrastructure available in licensed and unlicensed bands
  • Support for AR/VR devices
  • Support for Device-to-Device off network (Sidelink)

The PSCR Division is the primary federal laboratory conducting research, development, testing, and evaluation for public safety communications technologies. It is housed within the Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) at NIST. It addresses the research and development (R&D) necessary for critical features identified by public safety entities beyond the current generation of broadband technology.


The ideal solution is:

  • Focused on public safety applications and use cases
  • Able to test on unlicensed, private networks
  • Unlicensed 60GHz mmWave is the highest priority
    • 5G NR gNodeB
    • Base station and radio
    • User Equipment (mobile devices including phones, tablets and modems)
  • Also of interest:
    • Licensed spectrum (24GHz – 29GHz or others)
    • Infrastructure and device availability
    • Sub-6 (Band 66 or others) for cabled testing
    • Open RAN (O-RAN) is of lower priority
    • Overall test bed designs and solutions
    • Forward thinking capabilities are of interest as well

Field of Use and Intended Applications

5G voice and data communications for first responders and public safety applications including AT&T FirstNet devices.

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