Wireless broadband 101

A look at a few players in wireless broadband services for city wifi and municipal surveillance

For agencies seeking enhanced surveillance technology and superior broadband connectivity, BreezeAccess VL offers a reliable, cost-effective solution. Wireless cameras transmitting heavy bandwidth provide optimal security, while NLOS (non-line of sight) capabilities ensure seamless connectivity in environments dense in buildings or foliage.

The BreezeAccess 4900 solution offers optimum flexibility and superior technology. Capable of both point-topoint and point-to-multipoint configurations, it can be integrated with any number of Alvarion's fixed and mobile solutions. BreezeAccess 4900 supports 5 and 10 MHz channel options, allowing for a minimum of interference and flexible network planning. In 2003, the Pratt, KS Police Department deployed Alvarion's BreezeACCESS SU-M radio system.

BelAir Networks

Already deployed in hundreds of networks throughout the world, BeLAir's proven technology supports public safety personnel by providing multi-agency interoperable communications. Its advanced wireless mesh technology is used by law enforcement emergency medical personnel to facili- tate recovery efforts in both natural and human-made disasters.

The BelAir 100T Wireless Mesh Node offers a cost-effective multi- radio platform readily integrated for multiple configurations of access and backhaul. Primarily used for municipal and public safety deployments, the BelAir 100T provides support for a number of networks that include Wi- Fi, Wi-Max, and 4.9 GHz Public Safety.

In August of 2007, when a large section of the 35W Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, an emergency operations center (EOC) was activated in the basement of City Hall, about 1 mile from the disaster site. High-performance, high-bandwidth, and low-latency mobile networking capabilities were needed for the immense rescue effort.

With the Wireless Minneapolis network, deployed a year earlier, providing video surveillance, cameras were hooked up to BelAir wireless mesh nodes, which enabled remote monitoring from the EOC to ensure that emergency personnel had ongoing visibility of the bridge site. The high-resolution video with remote pan-tilt-zoom capabilities improved the response time by helping the EOC prioritize its resources throughout the rescue and recovery period.

Breakaway Communications handles public relations and marketing communications for BelAir Networks. Managing Partner Pam Preston points out that BelAir can accommodate any size of police agency or municipality. The example she cites is that of Richmond, CA. In the city of Richmond, a public safety network was established with 70 BelAir Networks nodes for high-performance video transmission with 4.9 GHz access and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi access.


Founded in 1999 by Amir Makleff, BridgeWave began as a wireless LMDS (Local Multipoint Distribution Service). Although LMDS showed great promise at the time, within a ew years, the technology was nearly obsolete. In 2003, Makleff, the presi- dent and CEO, redirected the focus of the company to high-capacity point-topoint high MHz. By 2004, the company offered an unlicensed wireless broadband of 60 GHz, and in 2006, it was awarded the license for 80 GHz.

The narrow beamwidth of 60 GHz and 80 GHz signals provides a natural defense against signal interception, which offers a higher degree of securi- ty than utilizing fiber optic cables through conduits. According to Makleff, BridgeWave currently has 80 percent of the market share in 60-80 GHz broadband.

In addition, BridgeWave 's Advanced Security Options provide another layer of security through a 256-bit key length AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). The strongest data encryption available, AES meets "Top Secret" security standards and eliminates the need for costly, less efficient external box solutions.

BridgeWave works with partner companies such as Sony and Firetide to design a workable solution specific to each agency. Police administrators generally begin the upgrade process through local systems integrators who analyze their needs and refer them to the appropriate vendors.


One leader in wireless mesh and access networks is Firetide, whose corporate headquarters are located in Los Gatos, CA. Its HotPort mesh nodes and HotPort access points provide a seamless wireless infra- structure for munici- pal and public safety agencies.