5G & Satellite Connectivity: A Perfect pairing for emergency services

Cradlepoint Australia Pty Ltd
Monday, 01 July, 2024

5G & Satellite Connectivity: A Perfect pairing for emergency services

Emergency services in Australia have some very unique challenges that combine to require a unique solution. These challenges include keeping data secure for moving vehicles that traverse many kilometres of diverse terrain, a vast number of rural areas that have little or no cellular connectivity, and often operating in extreme environments. Emergency services with fixed sites and vehicles need reliable and flexible connectivity to ensure they provide services in the most efficient and secure manner. Because of these unique challenges, when choosing between satellite or cellular for the most reliable solution to provide connectivity for emergency services, the answer could be simple: use both.

What are LEO Satellites?

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite internet systems, such as Starlink by SpaceX, are tailored for organisations operating in rural or remote areas lacking cellular infrastructure. Starlink provides an alternative connection when cellular service is spotty or not available. However, there are limitations surrounding LEO satellite capacity and cost. Set up costs and ongoing subscription fees, plus impacts from weather can make satellite as primary connectivity a challenge for emergency services that have vehicles moving between urban and rural areas.

The combination of LEO satellites and 5G provides enhanced connectivity by creating a more resilient network and supplying more bandwidth. Combining the strengths of Starlink’s expansive coverage and the advanced capabilities of 5G, emergency services can maintain operations, no matter the location. Pairing the two technologies offers high-performance, reliable, secure WAN access.

Use Case: Multi-WAN network failover

For organisations with fixed sites, relying on wired connectivity as the primary link is common. However, ensuring reliable backup solutions are in place is crucial for maintaining uninterrupted operations. If a wired line goes down due to infrastructure or weather issues, using 5G as the failover link can mean zero connectivity loss for an organisation. Should the cellular link become unavailable, network traffic can then fail over to the satellite link.

Use Case: Failover from cellular to satellite

Consider an emergency services base with a fixed site that needs to be online 24/7 but operates in a remote location with some cellular coverage available. Where wired lines are not available, cellular becomes the primary link. While the cellular link handles traffic under normal conditions, it automatically fails over to satellite if the performance declines or the link is inaccessible for any reason.

Use Case: Critical communication in moving vehicles

Given that wired connectivity isn’t feasible in vehicles, leveraging a dual-modem router that supports multiple cellular carriers for wireless-to-wireless failover is optimal. Satellite can also be deployed as a third backup option where cellular isn’t available. For example, a fire truck battling a wildfire in a remote region might encounter limitations in cellular coverage. In such cases, satellite connectivity can serve as a failover link, ensuring continuous connectivity for mission-critical communications.

But what if there is no cellular coverage at all in the area that an organisation is operating in? It is still important to deploy an enterprise class router for security and to provide advanced networking if dual Starlink connections are deployed. But which router and how connected devices are managed, is important.

Why Cradlepoint?

In addition to requiring an enterprise grade router that has the capability to manage complex link failover scenarios, there are three other key requirements to consider, especially for emergency services operators:

  1. Simplified Management: Often emergency services organisations are under-resourced in IT and networking. Having a sophisticated network that can be easily managed by a small technical workforce is critical.
  2. Security: While 5G cellular networks are well known for providing extremely secure connections based on intrinsic encryption, most LEO satellite systems have limited inherent security features.
  3. Link Bonding: In some instances, it makes sense to combine several links into a single virtual path, so it is important to have a solution that provides flexibility for all types of architectures.

Cradlepoint 5G routers offer users connectivity with cellular, LEO satellites, and even wired connections. Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager portal provides centralised management and visibility of all connected devices — including geolocation, connectivity status, and troubleshooting.

Even though the 5G network provides inherent security, Cradlepoint also offers comprehensive security to protect the connected IoT devices, users and applications connecting to the network. This includes a zero-trust network to replace traditional VPNs and private APNs. Zero-trust SD-WAN enables resilient WAN links with link bonding and through fast failover to a secondary link: for example, switching from one cellular carrier to another that has a stronger signal, or switching from a cellular link to a satellite link. Advanced web security protects users from email and web attacks.

A key differentiator is that Cradlepoint’s security is deployed and managed using NetCloud Manager, so lean IT teams are not required to manage and deploy a separate security stack. These solutions are quick to deploy and easy to manage from anywhere.

Cradlepoint provides a portfolio of rugged and reliable wireless router solutions and cloud network management software for in-vehicle, headquarter offices, and IoT connectivity — helping teams stay safer, respond faster, and perform better. Cradlepoint vehicle routers are ruggedised for extreme conditions, built to withstand humidity, movement, and temperatures ranging from -30 to +70°C. They are also IP64 rated for dust and water protection.

Regardless of the approach your organisation may take, the powerful pairing of cellular and satellite promises a more resilient network for seamless connectivity.

Image credit: iStock.com/Stuart_Shaw

Related Sponsored Contents

Police Department Deploys Axon's Next Generation In-Car Video System Connected by Cradlepoint

Axon's Fleet 3 is the latest connected in-car camera system that integrates seamlessly with...

Green Light for Blue Light Mission Critical Broadband: Simoco Launches Vehicle as a Node Solution for Public Safety

The VR-950, a combined multi-bearer router and onboard computer, effectively turns the response...

Forging New Horizons — The Road Ahead with Hytera

Leading PMR provider Hytera is actively evolving its product development strategy to shape and...

  • All content Copyright © 2024 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd