FOCUS: Mobile Router Guide
For those who rely on field forces and mobile networks, like first responders and transportation departments, secure and reliable long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity is always essential. Vehicles and mobile command centers have recently become the field communications hub, allowing users to access mission-critical applications and the Internet from anywhere, and keeping data flowing to the cloud from on-board telemetry, sensors and surveillance cameras.
Top 7 Things
Here are some important considerations when selecting a mobile router:
Public safety routers need the ability to operate on a wide range of frequency bands because cellular technology is evolving, and carriers can operate on different bands. Ensure compatibility with those bands relevant to your operation and ask about upgrade potential as your systems change and evolve. Also, consider whether you need dual-sim capability, which allows for switching between cellular carriers. This is particularly useful for agencies that cover large geographic areas where carrier coverage may vary depending on location. If your agency is moving to FirstNet or contemplating doing so, then you’ll need a FirstNet-ready router.To ensure reliable, always-on mobile connections, a mobile router should be capable of taking advantage of more than one WLAN link using user-configured criteria (network priority, signal strength, cost, etc.) to determine the most effective option. Flexibility is key for most police departments.
What’s available now?
“This is different from most VPN solutions, because it needs to be able to deal with switching networks, as the police car moves around,” says Anatoly Delm, director, product marketing, Motorola Solutions.
For example, the car might connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot when it’s near a city building, and then switch to the cellular network when it drives away. If you tried that with the VPN on your laptop, you’d lose your connection, because most VPNs don’t allow network changes. But ACM is a mobile VPN, so it has no problem with switching networks, according to Delm. The result is that all communications between the vehicle and headquarters are secure and uninterrupted, even as the vehicle moves around.
Also, ACM is FirstNet Ready for all First Responders in North America. No special work is required on the part of the IT teams for static IP addresses or certificates. ACM will fully operate with FirstNet addressing schemes and requires little (if any) work for adds, moves and changes within the enterprise. Also, applications and/or devices can be seamlessly added to vehicles without the need for touching a VPN client on the laptop, which can be a huge time savings for organizations.
Cisco (cisco.com) offers a mobile networking platform that addresses the communications challenges that public safety and homeland security agencies face. Police, fire and emergency first responder organizations require a network communications infrastructure that can securely transport the rich multimedia applications to and from an incident. Public safety vehicles become a network extension to headquarters, offering access to network resources that were once available only when at headquarters. By creating an “office in a vehicle,” the remote police officer can make better decisions more quickly using network resources in real time.
Cisco’s 829 routers deliver enterprise-class features, including highly secure data, voice, and video communications to stationary and mobile network nodes across wired and wireless links. They can deliver enterprise-grade, wireline-like functionality such as Dynamic Multipoint VPN, Quality of service for cellular, Multi-VRF for cellular, and Voice over LTE.