Wireless broadband 101

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

Qualcomm Government Technologies provides reliable, secure solutions to government agencies by adapting and modifying its commercial products to conform to the specialized needs of law enforcement and public safety. Its easily deployed and user-friendly technologies offer clear voice and data communication and end-to-end encrypted security.

In May of 2008, Qualcomm announced its Cryptographic Extension for BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless). The extension provides enhanced security by expanding the base platform to include NIST certified algorithm implementations. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's mission is to build trust in information technology (IT) systems by protecting information systems against threats to confidentiality and integrity of information.

In 2007, the St. Lucie County, FL Sheriff's Office (SLSO) was seeking a solution that would allow two different technologies currently in use to share the same connectivity. Its jail facilities had recently been equipped with The Cross Match MV 100 Pristrak fingerprint identification solution. At the same time, officers had access to in-vehicle laptops with wireless cards working with the AT&T 3G BroadConnect network.

The SLSO found that its solution with the TopGlobal MB8000 MobileBridge router allows a wireless connection with both laptops and fingerprint devices via LAN ports and WLAN signals. This cost-effective solution has helped the SLSO operate more efficiently by optimizing the value of its 3G technology.

Strix Systems

Founded in 2000, Strix offers high performance wireless mesh network systems that support multi-radio, multichannel, and multi-RF mesh network technologies. Its Access / One architecture provides optimum flexibility and scalability for local, state, and federal agencies. Specifically designed to meet the challenges of outdoor environments, the Access / One Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) is protected by 10 U.S. and international patents.

Strix Access / One offers a cost-effective wireless mesh platform that is deployed in mesh sectors of up to 100 nodes from a single Internet backhaul location. Designed for zero configuration, it provides automatic AES encryption and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 security. According to Kirby Russell, director or business development and marketing, Strix Systems offers a unique set of architectures to suit the needs of each police agency.

In April of 2008, Strix Access / One wireless systems were deployed for the city of Pittsburg, Calif. The public safety video surveillance network allows central headquarters to view events live and deploy the appropriate resources more efficiently. Multiple cameras throughout the network are monitored by officers who can follow the people and vehicles leaving the crime scene. The camera's pan-tilt-zoom feature allows close-up viewing so that even license plate numbers can be easily read.

Partnering with Odin Systems, which provided system design and engineering and project management and support, Strix was able to deliver the industry's highest power for multiband that includes 4.9 GHz, 2.4 GHZ, and 5.8 GHz. Deployment of the new system was funded through public safety and Homeland Security grants and is already a proven success. While events captured live on the video surveillance cameras allow police to follow and apprehend the suspects, the system also can provide evidence to disprove criminal allegations.

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