Navigating explosion-hazardous zones with 5G push-to-talk

Online Editor

Kathrin Geisler explores the transition from conventional radio technology to 5G push-to-talk over cellular in explosion-hazardous areas.

Private mobile radio networks (PMR) have been around for years. In consideration of the advantages of digital formats, companies are steadily switching to digital PMR technologies. With 5G, it is now possible to rethink PMR and offer more flexibility, functions, and security, a key priority in an explosive-prone area.

Because of the investments, however, not all areas of a company will be fully converted immediately. Private 5G mobile networks will better fulfil the growing connectivity needs of companies that have higher coverage, bandwidth and security requirements. This is the case, for example, for team communication in companies with large industrial campuses, where reliable and efficient connectivity is required everywhere on the company premises – both indoors and outdoors, including hazardous and non-hazardous industrial areas.

One advantage of the private 5G network is the possibility of E2E network slicing – the division of the end-to-end 5G network. Companies can form different classes with different priority levels within the network. For example, they can assign applications for critical communication to their own network section, maximising security. The combination of different radio technologies will also enable the daily use of employees who are on the move and want to communicate with other mobile or remote workers in the group.


With its recent development, the IS440.1 5G radio, the company is supporting customers who want to adopt an industrial digitalisation strategy. Companies can integrate the new mobile device, with the look and feel of a conventional radio, into group communication with existing devices, such as two-way radios (TETRA, DMR and analogue PMR) via a PoC bridge server. This allows companies to digitalise communication efficiently and cost-effectively step-by-step. With the new technology, Mobile will focus on data protection, security, flexibility, quality of service and reliability.

The new 5G radio supports 3GPP Release 15, has the reliable QCM6490 chipset from Qualcomm Technologies on board, as well as a powerful, replaceable battery (2,400 or 4,800mAh), a high-performance front speaker (>105dB) especially for noisy environments, large operating elements (PTT button, rotary knob for PTT channel selection, SOS button), an eight-pin interface for connecting headphones and heavy-duty headsets (HDHS) as well as dual SIM (with automatic network switching).

Workers can mainly use the 5G radio in the campus network, but they can also insert an alternative public network SIM to have a fallback in case of an emergency. Another fallback is, of course, the connection via Wi-Fi.

In terms of connectivity, the device is equipped with Wi-Fi 6, NFC (for access control, data transfer between two devices, and reading of NFC tags) and Bluetooth 5.2. Besides all major public 4G/5G frequency bands, the IS440.1 supports the CBRS spectrum and B68 for public safety applications. A rugged version of the device (RG440) is also available from RugGear, Mobile’s partner.

Because of the move to 5G within companies, and the fact that the demands on the devices, especially in explosion hazardous areas, are increasing, the new 5G radio from Mobile closes a gap and is tailored precisely to the needs of users in the field.

Kathrin Geisler is with Mobile.

Recent Issues