Public Safety Wireless Network Challenges December 2014

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1 Public Safety Wireless Network Challenges December 2014 The future of your most critical applications is real-time wireless mobility. You re not ready. Information technologies we are on the verge of today promise to revolutionize the way we do business, travel and serve the public. Ten years ago, there was the often-derided thought of every machine capable of connecting to the internet -- remember the internet toaster jokes -- but that reality has largely come true with the proliferation of inexpensive computing, household wireless and widely available broadband. The next frontier for wireless communications is real-time application delivery while we drive our cars, work machines or patrol vehicles. Today, we are on the cusp of applications moving from a less critical consumption model to something much more demanding. The next generation of mobile wireless applications will necessitate our wireless providers and systems have a very high success rate of delivering bits and bytes to and from the field while machines and people are in motion. It sounds easy -- just throw up a few towers and trailers with access points or base stations here and there -- but this is an incredible challenge and takes an immense effort to set up and maintain. Once a demanding application upon which you depend becomes mobile and needs constant connectivity, the care and feeding of your wireless network becomes paramount. Wireless mobility quickly exposes the problems in how the wireless network your application uses is designed and maintained.

2 The Public Safety Proposition Let s look at a how the situation is changing in the public safety field. In the past (and even into today in many areas), public safety got by on very low bandwidth greenscreen type applications for data in the field. These systems largely used connectivity based on packet radio piggybacked on the voice radio network. With extremely low bandwidth, these networks and applications were reliable with good propagation characteristics (meaning few antenna or infrastructure changes) and were relatively easy to maintain. The downside, of course, is that these networks are slow and the information they can send and receive is not what we would call rich in today s world; basically a text-based database interface. Fortunately, the technology became available to do much better. The next phase in the public safety connectivity evolution was to a rich data network, backed by either a public safety wireless network in the bands, the 700MHz first responder LTE network, or a contract through a cellular company. With this increased bandwidth, it allows our first responders to start to exercise basic rich data while on the go in their vehicles, wirelessly accessing visual information and web-based resources. At this point however, the stresses on the wireless network occasionally start to become apparent with areas often found that the network is slow or doesn t function at all. Antennas and power levels need to occasionally be adjusted to keep up with the changing environment. This is a problem for two reasons; it could potentially keep first responders away from the data they need when they need it, and it starts to bring significant maintenance concerns into the picture. Tomorrow s world for public safety connectivity is on the way and will be here as fast as you can plan for it. Some of the key features that the next generation of public safety applications will include for invehicle consumption include rich mapping capability, real-time video from unit-to-headquarters and video from unit-to-unit. Think of all the advantages when an officer is in a threatening situation and both headquarters and responding officers are able to not only see his or her exact location on their screens, but to see exactly what is going on by watching that officer s dash or body camera in real-time. Mobile applications like this will very quickly become too valuable to live without. At the point applications like this are deployed, the availability of the wireless network in all areas that public safety vehicles traverse becomes paramount. When the safety of our first responders is on the line and lives of the public may be impacted, all of the tools in the toolkit need to work and work well. So the wireless network becomes a critical link, just as voice communication is today. This means the wireless network must support real-time video and data traffic to and from a vehicle, often while moving at high speed. And once the network is in place, operations and maintenance must occur to support networks at this level. Even if public safety networks are sourced to a carrier, it is still the duty of the department to apply the same rigor to ensure that the coverage, availability and quality is as expected to support the first responders.

3 Few public safety organizations are ready for this near-term eventuality from a network operations or technology standpoint. Keep in mind this isn t science fiction -- it is an adaptation of things that are already going on in private industry today and will be ready for the public sector very soon. You Need Help Managing rich two-way data and video over mobile wireless is a difficult proposition which few information technology teams have been faced with to date. In today s world, mobile wireless delivery success is largely determined from field reports and occasional drive tests where common routes are driven with a spectrum analyzer and mapped. This is a slow process and fraught with the problem that issues are usually only found after they are causing a disruption and are apparent to the end user. In the public safety example above, this simply shouldn t happen when lives are on the line --- and no one knows where lives are going to be threatened ahead of time. This means we will expect the mobile wireless network to function well everywhere. 24Wave Traveler was built as a next-generation wireless sensor and diagnostic tool with these problems in mind. 24Wave is not a wireless service; it is the most advanced means available of evaluating and maintaining your current and future wireless network. Created by architects with experience in designing and maintaining cutting edge mobile wireless systems in mining and industry, 24Wave Traveler is designed to predict mobile wireless problems before a failure occurs. Mining and industry drive this point home because every missed inventory turn or load of ore dumped in the wrong pile are dollars lost; public safety will soon drive this home by the importance of keeping our first responders connected at all times. The 24Wave cloud-hosted application works in a non-intrusive fashion over your existing mobile network. All an information technology staff needs to do is install mobile sensor units on a subset of the vehicles that frequently cover the areas in which you operate. The 24Wave Traveler application simulates a version of the traffic generated by the applications you depend on, and uses data collected by the sensor units to build a picture of the areas of application delivery concern in your mobile wireless network. Combining the collected data on application traffic availability, 24Wave Traveler creates a statistical model that shows not only the areas where problems exist today in your network, but where problems are going to soon occur if not addressed. Information technology staff or your carrier can easily use this information to take action by adjusting power levels of infrastructure, moving antennas or -- if necessary -- adding base stations or access points to towers or trailers. The effect of these changes will become apparent on 24Wave Traveler within hours, so the problem can be verified to be solved even before it was noticed by the end users. In the public safety world, this means safer first responders and a safer public because access to real-time data was never lost in the first place.

4 Figure 1: Sample 24Wave Dashboard Display As demands change, the 24Wave Traveler system s flexibility to report and predict every aspect of the network can grow with your needs. While the 24Wave Traveler sensor system doesn t need to be installed on every vehicle in your fleet to get an accurate picture of your network conditions, there is in-depth data available on each vehicle that has a sensor onboard. This means that you can use the 24Wave Traveler system to see which vehicle radios are performing in degraded fashion and direct staff to do proactive maintenance to antennas and connections -- again, well before problems occur. Maintaining a fleet of vehicle wireless radios suddenly becomes a routine and simple task. In order to get the most out of your investment in a mobile wireless network today and to help prepare for what the future is going to bring, contact 24Wave. Our mobile wireless experts are ready to bring their years of experience to bear in being a trusted advisor to your information technology staff and a partner in deploying the 24Wave Traveler sensor system to meet your needs.

5 Demonstration sensors and deployments are available for organizations to evaluate 24Wave Traveler with no commitments required. Contact us today to discuss these opportunities. 24Wave, LLC Telephone: Web:

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