Cisco re-targets wireless for municipal enterprise networks

Cisco products and partners focus on public safety, mobile employees

Cisco has bundled together its wireless product offerings with new software partners in a bid to refocus its strategy for municipal wireless networks.

With its Cisco Mobile Government program, the networking giant is working to convince municipalities to think of wireless as an enterprise network for municipal employees instead of a service provider network for residents and businesses. The change reflects a growing disenchantment with large-scale wireless mesh blankets mainly intended to provide municipally supported Internet access.

"We had looked at the existing [municipal wireless] models: mainly free services for citizen access, equal access and economic development," says Morgan Wright, Cisco's global industry solution manager for public safety and homeland security. "Those didn't produce the results people wanted."

Wright argues that successful municipal deployments of wireless are those that treat the technology as in effect an extension of the municipal enterprise network -- the network used by inspectors, police, firefighters and other city employees.

"Successful deployments involve investing taxpayer money to meet a specific need: delivering services to mobile employees and public safety [applications]," Wright says. "This is the basis of successful deployments for outdoor wireless nets. We focus on government first: on untethering workers, both within the walls and then outside them via wireless mesh for services in the field. We're using the net and [wireless] endpoints to allow government employees to work and do things."

But Cisco isn't abandoning the municipal-wide mesh market. For example, it remains as one of the three partners in the massive effort to blanket Silicon Valley in California with just such a network.

The Mobile Government package includes:

  • Cisco's 3200 wireless and mobile router, which mounts in a truck or cruiser for wired and wireless client access and an 11a wireless backhaul link to a metro Wi-Fi mesh.
  • Cisco will release in January for the 3200 an integrated onboard video card (from its 2007 acquisition of Broadware) to let analog video cameras in a vehicle attach directly to the 3200 router, where the analog-to-digital conversion takes place. The resulting digital IP stream can be distributed to anyone else.
  • For the 3200, Cisco's IP Interoperability and Collaboration System 2.0, which is a gateway to interconnect conventional push-to-talk or land-mobile radios and mobile phones with IP devices with the corresponding client code, such as handheld VoIP phones and VoIP software on notebooks.
  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager for VoIP calls.
  • New support for the licensed 4.9GHz band (reserved for public safety use) in the 3200 routers and the Cisco 1520 series two-radio outdoor Wi-Fi mesh access point.
  • A new member of the 1520 series, the 1524 model with as many as four modular radio slots, will be released in January.. The initial model will let 11abg and dedicated 4.9GHz clients connect to it, with an 11a backhaul connection. Later in 2008, Cisco will have a radio for a dedicated 4.9GHz backhaul link.
Also part of the package are partnerships with 3I Infotech and APS for public-safety applications, and with Accela, MobileFrame and Syclo for mobile worker and inspection applications. Other third-party products from Cisco's vertical partnerships bring to municipal users applications such as law enforcement investigations, hazardous materials tracking, facility management, electronic traffic citations, permitting, and sewer repair and maintenance. The applications have been tested for interoperability with the Cisco products and with two hardware partners, Intermec for rugged handheld computers and Panasonic for rugged notebooks.

"With this package, we cover the creation of data, its transport and delivery, applications, partners, financing," Wright says. "We've added Cisco Capital and Leasing, so we can do the entire solution for leasing, with various types of buy options at the end of lease, and for technology refresh."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?