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Mobile network enables remote control and other new features of Virve 2.0

New opportunities open for safety operators as the Virve 2.0 public safety network begins using Elisa’s broadband 4G and 5G mobile networks. Future applications that can help rescue services and actors critical for the security of supply in the field include remote-controlled tractors used in clearing work and real-time video transmitted by drones. The first testers will begin using Virve 2.0 at the end of 2021.
public safety networks radio networks Virve 2.0

Suomen Erillisverkot will implement the next-generation broadband public safety network Virve 2.0 in cooperation with commercial partners. The overall responsibility for Virve 2.0 is with Erillisverkot Group, the statutory service operator that will also produce services for the network. Elisa will implement the radio network service and Ericsson will provide the 4G/5G Core network.

The latest 4G and 5G technology of Elisa’s network and Internet-connected objects (IoT) will provide security operators increasingly varied and intelligent applications, such as remote control.

“Remote control opens a wealth of new opportunities that can also be utilised in developing Virve 2.0 services,” says Eetu Prieur, Business Director for Elisa.

Eetu Prieur.
Eetu Prieur, Business Director for Elisa.

“For example, we cooperated with the farm equipment manufacturer Valtra to develop a remote controlled tractor that can be used for rescue tasks in difficult locations. The remote controlling does work on a 4G network, but it will be more efficient on the 5G network as it is faster and has a lower latency. It can also transmit video in real time to ensure smooth and secure remote operation. Fast connections also enable transmitting video from a drone in real-time to be analysed by a situation centre or uploaded directly to a cloud service.”

Prioritised connection services for the Virve 2.0 network, such as voice, data and IoT connections will be produced in the first phase and the operationally critical services, such as group voice and a video application will be included in the second phase. The procurement process for the second phase started in October 2020.

New base stations expand the network to cover all of Finland

Elisa’s current mobile network will expand considerably with the Virve cooperation.

“Elisa’s 4G and 5G networks will work for Virve 2.0 everywhere in Finland, with coverage being at least as comprehensive as for the current administrative radio network. We have also committed to expanding the coverage, capacity and redundancy of our mobile network according to the requirements of Virve 2.0. As the new base stations are completed, Elisa’s network will cover practically all of Finland,” says Prieur.

“The reliability requirements for base stations are increasingly strict because the coverage and reliability of the network are a high priority for security operators. Others will also benefit because the improvements concern the entire network. However, in a possible emergency, the traffic of Virve users is temporarily prioritised in Elisa’s mobile networks. Under normal circumstances, the administrative radio network traffic requires nearly no bandwidth from other network users because officials only constitute about one per cent of all users.”

Finland at the cutting edge of development

Approximately 80 million messages are transmitted every week in the current Virve and in the new Virve 2.0 network the number of users and amount of traffic will increase further.

Prieur is happy that Finland chose the innovative solution of using a commercial mobile network as the basis for the administrative radio network.
“The Finnish administrative radio network is at the forefront of development. Creating an administrative radio network in cooperation with commercial partners is a new solution even globally, as only a few countries have done so. As such, Finland is at the very forefront of this development and it is likely that many others will follow suit,” says Prieur.

“Virve 2.0 is being created rationally and economically. It would require considerably more time and money to build a separate administrative radio network from scratch. This solution also provides more network capacity because all of Elisa’s bandwidth frequencies are now available for the administrative radio network.”

Virve is created in cooperation

  •  Suomen Erillisverkot will build the new administrative radio network Virve 2.0 in cooperation with Elisa and Ericsson.
  •  Erillisverkot will be the statutory service operator for Virve 2.0, operating the CORE network as well as producing services for the network. The 5G Core network used by the administrative radio network is provided by Ericsson and the radio service by Elisa.
  • Elisa implements the 4G and 5G radio network service and is responsible for the availability of the network being sufficient and that the geographical coverage of the new network corresponds to the coverage of the current Virve.
  • The Core network, implemented by Ericsson, transmits traffic from the radio network onward to services and manages subscriber data. The Core network ties all traffic together into one logical entity.
  • The first group of users will start testing the Virve 2.0 broadband connection in late 2021.