Connectivity built for vehicles: addressing reliability, security and remote management
For fire, police and ambulance services that cannot afford downtime, LTE and 5G networking solutions are a reliable, secure and cost-effective means to ensure always-on connectivity.
A requirement that is unique to emergency services is that of uninterrupted in-vehicle connectivity, which presents challenges: traveling along bumpy roads, traversing service areas, and powering devices using a vehicle battery require special consideration and planning.
Selecting in-vehicle network and connectivity solutions requires several considerations:
Intermittent connectivity can prevent emergency service vehicles from connecting to the cloud and tracking a fleet’s location, meaning data is both inaccurate and unreliable. Emergency services base sites, utilising apps that track vehicle locations for example, will be incorrectly informed about where and when a vehicle will arrive at specific emergency sites.
Any in-vehicle solutions must also maintain the highest levels of security, ranging from security of personal data of civilians being attended to by emergency services personnel, to security of vital information passing between vehicles and headquarter sites.
Vehicles used in urban environments and cities will have vastly different physical conditions to deal with than vehicles used in rural environments. From cold and wet to high heat and humidity, weather conditions will play a role in how in-vehicle networks function at any given time. Likewise, vehicles traveling on bumpy, rural roads that are not maintained as well as urban streets will require different features and adaptability from their in-vehicle networking solutions.
While routers that operate in a traditional office building can simply be plugged into a wall outlet, in-vehicle routers often depend on vehicle batteries for power. Ensuring that in-vehicle solutions do not compete for power with other onboard systems — or even the vehicle itself — is an important factor.
The most suitable solution for emergency services organisations will be determined by that organisation’s specific situation. Solutions can include:
- Constant connectivity. Constant, reliable 4G LTE or 5G connectivity is essential for everything from vehicle location tracking to remote medical records access, to criminal history data. Constant connectivity also ensures that emergency responders and IT personnel within those organisations can expect and rely on highly accurate, real-time data.
- Distance tracking. With robust telematics data gathered from connected vehicles and AVL solutions, vehicle trips and distance travelled can be tracked. This also allows emergency services organisations to continuously develop and implement more efficient routes.
- Geofencing. If an in-vehicle GPS system is reliably working and producing accurate data, organisations can not only track where its vehicles are at all times, but also receive alerts when the vehicles have gone beyond predetermined boundaries.
- Cloud management. Being able to troubleshoot connectivity problems via the cloud rather than going aboard each vehicle can significantly decrease costs, staff time and user frustration.
- Dual-modem and multi-carrier options. For vehicles in more remote areas, multi-SIM or even dual-modem options for wireless-to-wireless failover are more of a need than a luxury. In such regions, carrier flexibility is essential.
Scalability. Dual-modem functionality and cloud management are major boons for scalability.
Cradlepoint for example offers 4G and 5G solutions for fixed locations, temporary locations, mobile vehicles, and IoT installations, making it an ideal solution for an organisation’s entire edge. By having a solution that has been proven for all types of locations, including branches and other fixed sites, it allows mobile networks to take advantage of networking technologies such as SD-WAN, SASE and analytics that are more prevalent in the branch but just as important for vehicle networks.
Case study: Nevada Highway Patrol leverages cloud-managed LTE to keep tech. tools and CAD system connected
Challenge: Nevada Highway Patrol equips its vehicle fleet and highway patrol officers with a range of technologies that help them save lives. However, keeping those devices and applications connected to headquarters is no easy task, especially with hundreds of vehicles serving every inch of a rugged and sprawling state.
Solution: Since deploying Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for mobile in its vehicles, Nevada Highway Patrol’s IT professionals have begun making fleetwide network adjustments with point-and-click ease — and from anywhere. NetCloud Service includes a WiFi access point, content filtering, GPS and telematics integration, WiFi-as-WAN, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via an in-vehicle LTE router.
Benefits: Remote management and reliable, carrier-flexible LTE connectivity for technologies such as computer-aided dispatch (CAD) allow highway patrol officers to focus on their mission: to promote safety on Nevada highways.
“Our officers have removable tablets. If they’re outside the car and need network access, they use WiFi provided by Cradlepoint to issue citations, complete and send accident reports and fulfill other mission-critical tasks — which really increases efficiency.” - Lt. Chris LaPrairie, Commander of NHP’s Research and Planning section.
Explore additional in-vehicle considerations and Cradlepoint’s built-for-purpose solutions in this Networks on the Move white paper.
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