Wireless broadband 101

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

Firetide 's HotPort High Performance Mesh Network provides maximum versatility to conform to any environment. The MeshBridge feature allows interconnection of multiple networks, even those operating on different frequencies and applications.

The MultiMesh application can cost effectively accommodate both singleand multiple-administrator management of the networks. With HotZones and HotRegions mesh technology, agencies can expect consistent connection of multiple HotSpots for Internet access indoors and outdoors, availability of both restricted-access private networks and open-access public networks, real-time video monitoring and surveillance for enhanced public safety and a highly portable network that can easily be moved to another location.

What Ksenia Coffman, marketing manager for Firetide, hears most often from customers is the flexibility and ease of deployment offered by mesh wireless. Firetide also delivers the highest bandwidth for evidence-grade video, reducing the number of radios needed by almost half. Firetide utilizes systems integrators to present a complete solution to each agency, from deployment of new projects to integration into existing systems.

In early 2007, the Dallas Police Department implemented a wireless video surveillance system in an effort to reduce crime in the Central Business District. Dallas-based BearCom was the overall manager of the project and brought in Firetide, Sony, and several other wireless companies as strategic partners. Sony's Model 550 cameras with pan-tilt-zoom capability were installed at major intersections that cover more than 30 percent of the total downtown area. These cameras connect to Firetide wireless mesh nodes that form a resilient mesh network, resulting in guaranteed camera connectivity.

General Dynamics Wireless

With more than 40 years of experience in public safety and emergency response, General Dynamics Information Technology provides law enforcement with reliable and interoperable wire- less communication. The company offers cost-effective, cus- tomized IT solutions for government agencies on the federal, state, and local level. Some of the capabilities include data and command center integration, network construction management, performance analysis and program management. It also offers site evaluation and wireless infrastructure modernization.

General Dynamics' state-of-the-art virtual training system readies police personnel for handling real-life situations in the field. Through live simulation, exercise planning, and computer- based training, officers can prepare themselves for any eventuality. Also included is policy and management training, as well as software and system development.

When contacted for information on possible solutions, a GD Wirelesss customer team, generally consisting of a business developer, program manager, and a lead engineer, meets with the agency. As an independent, turn-key integrator with no allegiance to specific manufacturers, its solutions are designed to meet the specific needs of each customer. Its expertise enables the company to deploy large numbers of sites for all the major wireless common carriers, provide superior radio frequency design services and deliver reliable quality services quickly and cost effectively.

According to Peter Howard, vice president of engineering, General Dynamics stands above the rest because it offers "a unique combination of commercial back-haul and public safety expertise, technical leadership and best practice program management, enabling on-time, on-budget results for projects of any scale or scope."


In 1989, Qualcomm introduced Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), an unparalleled technology for wireless and data products. Initially developed for commercial use, CDMA allowed more efficient voice and data transmissions between mobile devices and cell sites than comparable technologies. Qualcomm's latest version is CDMA2000, which exceeds third generation standards for improved peak rate download and upload speeds.

Eventually expanding its technology to the public sector, Qualcomm launched an initiative in 2006 to assist in recovering abducted children. Working with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the AMBER Alert Highway Network, Qualcomm's satellite-based mobile communications system collaborates with professional truck drivers nationwide to locate missing children.