Motorola introduced a Windows-based, mobile virtual private network solution developed specifically for public-safety and government users — dubbed Multi-Net Mobility — that provides the triple play of intelligent routing, session persistence and secure connectivity as users roam between multiple wireless data networks, including Wi-Fi and mesh networks.

The key to the platform is its unique ability to provide all three attributes, said Mike Fabbri, director of Motorola Data Solutions Operation, who added that competing platforms at best offer two of the three.

“We have a whole wireless broadband business targeting government and municipalities, both public safety and government services,” Fabbri said. “And what our customers were saying is that the mobile routers out there today don't provide all three of the key things that Multi-Net Mobility will provide.”

The introduction is a significant development because most VPNs aren't built for mobility, according to Rob Whitely, analyst for Forrester Research. “There are three shades of VPNs — those that are ‘friendly’ toward mobile devices; those that offer one, maybe two, of the important distinctions; and a much smaller subcategory that offers all three,” Whitely said. “Mobile links are, by nature, low bandwidth, high latency and quirky. … You need all of those tricks to make the mobile VPN work.”

The system consists of a client application that resides in the customer's ruggedized laptop and a server application that resides in the core network, Fabbri said. The client application constantly monitors the wireless applications available and facilitates intelligent routing as the user moves between networks. Meanwhile, the server application ensures the connection is secure.

Fabbri added that the Multi-Net Mobility platform's authentication and encryption applications meet government standards for secure connectivity, while the session-persistence capability eliminates the need to restart applications when short-term lapses occur as users move between networks. Also, the intelligent routing capability lets users better manage applications across multiple networks.

“For example, you wouldn't want to send a high-bandwidth requirement, such as streaming video, over a lower-bandwidth network,” he said. “Users can create profiles for the various networks based on speed or, potentially, cost.”

Not only does the client application select the proper network based on application, it also will make certain adjustments on the fly.

“Depending on the size of the pipe, the software might throttle back [on video] from good quality 15 frames per second to a more moderate three or four frames per second,” Fabbri said. “So the footage gets choppier, but at least there still is some level of video.”

Of the three primary capabilities, session persistence is most important to first responders, according to Steve Devine, patrol frequency coordinator for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“Session persistence has been kind of problematic … and I think Motorola's goal is mobility that's seamless to the end user,” Devine said. “It needs to be where [first responders] don't have to do anything. … They have more important things to do.”

Although Fabbri said Motorola sees application for the Multi-Net Mobility platform in the enterprise sector in the future, Whitely said mobile VPNs chiefly are a public-safety and government play now.

“Most enterprises already have invested in a VPN infrastructure of some kind, and while they also have mobility plans, they don't have their businesses absolutely dependent on mobility — it's a productivity enhancer,” Whitely said.

Base station for broadband networks

Nokia's Flexi base station is designed for broadband wireless networks operating in frequencies from 1700 MHz to 2100 MHz, including wireless-CDMA (W-CDMA), HSPA (high-speed packet access) and WiMAX. The device will be available for W-CDMA and HSPA (2100 MHz, 1700 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1700/2100 MHz) in the second half of 2006, with additional frequencies (including 850 MHz, 900 MHz and 1900 MHz) scheduled to be added in the first half of 2007. A 700 MHz version eventually will be added as well, the company said.

Plug-and-play RFID reader

Sirit unveiled a line of radio frequency identification products that use integrated antennas and readers, as well as standard SDIO (secure digital input/output) and USB interfaces that enable them to be plugged into laptops, PDAs and hand-held devices, subsequently turning those devices into low-cost RFID readers and writers, the company said./

RFID tag for harsh environments

Savi Technology unveiled a version of its legacy RFID tag for use in harsh operating environments. The ST-656 clamps onto the left door of a shipping container, which enables the RFID electronics to be protected on the inside of the container, the company said. A low-profile plate on the outside of the container incorporates an antenna that transmits to fixed or mobile readers. In addition, the external plate contains a beeper that provides audio alerts regarding the tag's location and status.

GPS/AVL device

Pyramid Communications added the Model 3012 to its line of Fleet Tracker GPS/AVL products. The device incorporates a larger and enhanced graphical display compared with the Model 2012 and features a 240-character text-messaging display, 10 programmable status keys and 1024-position GPS memory. An optional 16-channel GPS receiver board provides vehicle-position updates. The device interfaces with the company's Centry II AVL solution as well as with conventional or trunked radio systems.

Intelligent RFID reader

Symbol Technologies and IBM have embedded the latter's WebSphere RFID device infrastructure in the former's XR series of fixed RFID readers to create an “intelligent” reader that automates the routing and management of incoming data, the companies said. The WebSphere platform provides on-demand decision-making and reduced network traffic by filtering redundancies and sending only pertinent information to a user's application server. It also integrates and reconciles collected information with data used in other areas of a business.

Intelligent battery backup

A battery backup module developed by ICT resides between the base station and the battery to provide uninterruptible power to 12 V devices. A microprocessor control prevents over-discharge of the battery by disconnecting the load should voltage fall below 10.5 V. In addition, the module ensures that the base station receives adequate power while the battery recharges after commercial power returns, the company said. It is available in both stackable and stand-alone designs.

Lightweight, hand-held base station analyzer

Anritsu introduced the MT8222A BTS Master, a hand-held base station analyzer that weighs just 8 lbs. It incorporates the company's Site Master cable and antenna analysis technology to deliver “highly accurate” return loss/VSWR, cable loss and distance-to-fault (DTF) measurements, the company said. In addition, the device conducts two-port measurements — such as gain, isolation and insertion loss — to verify sector-to-antenna isolation. Such measurements are necessary because of the proliferation of diplexers, duplexers and tower-mounted amplifiers in many 3G base stations. An optional built-in bias tee eliminates the need for an external power supply.

Low-power WLAN module

Conexant Systems and Sharp have collaborated on a compact, power-efficient wireless LAN module that complies with the 802.11b/g standard and is targeted for use in cellular/Wi-Fi handsets. The companies combined Conexant's CX3110X integrated circuit and Sharp's micro-packaging technology to deliver a module that measures just 100 mm square. In addition, Conexant's PowerSave technology delivers more than 600 minutes of talk time and 300 hours of standby mode, the companies said.

GSM/GPS module

Italy-based Telit Communications' Wireless Business Solutions unit launched two machine-to-machine modules that incorporate both GSM and GPS platforms. The devices are targeted to the automatic vehicle location and asset tracking and monitoring sectors. The key component of the modules is a 20-channel single-chip GPS receiver that combines a digital baseband processor with an RF front end. The devices measure 7×10 mm (0.28×0.39 inches) and acquire signals down to -159 dBM, making real-time navigation possible in challenging environments such as urban canyons and dense foliage, the company said.

SDR platform for electronic warfare

Spectrum Signal Processing's software-defined radio (SDR) platform is designed for electronic warfare applications. The off-the-shelf SDR-3002 EWRDP is designed to speed the deployment of systems used for fixed and mobile signal collection and jamming applications. The device covers up to 480 MHz of bandwidth over six coherent intermediate frequency input and output channels and is designed for harsh environments, operating at temperatures up to 50° C (122° F), the company said.

Intrinsically safe digital portable radio

RELM Wireless's BK Radio DPHx digital portable radio has received an intrinsically safe (IS) certification from the Factory Mutual Research Corporation. This certification means the radio meets the requirements of the National Electric Code and the National Fire Protection Association for IS operations in hazardous environments in the U.S. and Canada, the company said. However, the IS certification is valid only when the radio is used in conjunction with an IS-certified antenna and battery, according to RELM.

Spectrally efficient modulation platform

Photron Technologies announced that its Ultra Spectral Modulation (USM) technology is entering the final implementation stage, where the company hopes its solution will prove to be the first communications technology to deliver data rates up to 100 bps/Hz.

According to Photron, USM is a spectrally efficient modulation platform that enables wireless data rates of 5 Mb/s using just a 50 KHz channel.

Wireless system alerts crew of ‘man overboard’

Ember's ZigBee networking technology is now featured in Raymarine's LifeTag personal wireless “man overboard” system. The system protects boats with up to 16 crewmembers by wirelessly communicating each member's status to a LifeTag base station. For example, when a person or animal has gone overboard, saltwater rapidly degrades the wireless signal on the LifeTag device and triggers an alarm to alert the crew. The LifeTag alarm also is activated when a member moves beyond 30 feet of the boat, as well as through manual activation by pressing and holding a red button for 3 seconds.

Each LifeTag system consists of a base station and two wearable LifeTags. The base station handles communication with each LifeTag and provides outputs for external alarm sirens and relay contacts.

Upgraded legacy network extension device

Raytheon announced that its JPS Communications division introduced the NXU-2A network extension unit, which replaces the legacy NXU-2. The NXU-2A uses voice-over-IP technologies to send and receive digital voice messages, according to the company. New features include the ability to delay transmit and receive audio, and a selectable 20 dB audio input gain boost. The device is designed for use with radios and radio communication consoles, in addition to JPS's ACU-1000 interconnection device and SNV-12 signal-and-noise voter.

*spotlight: Amplifiers, filters and repeaters

Bartley Manufacturing

The Ultra-Q is an active band-pass filter designed for use with two-way radio and SCADA systems that mitigates interference by eliminating unwanted signals before they get to the receiver. The device eliminates adjacent channel interference as close as 6.25 kHZ, is field-programmable and offers low noise figure (as low as 2.5 dB) and eight-pole filter response. The device also features programmable passband frequency and gain to amplify desired frequencies while giving maximum attenuation to all interferers, the company said.


The OneBase is a tower-mounted amplifier that improves capacity for 3G networks and can be deployed at a tower site or within a remote electrical tilt-enabled base station antenna. The device is compliant with the Antenna Interface Standards Group (AISG) specification that ensures basic interoperability of antennas and control infrastructure. It also is antenna-line independent and backward-compatible with non-AISG UMTS sites and fits all original equipment manufacturer base station transceiver system (BTS) configurations, the company said.

Daniels Electronics

This briefcase repeater is housed in a compact, lightweight (about 5 lbs. when empty) case constructed from high-density polyethylene with reinforced walls. The case also accommodates the company's standard radio modules, as well as an optional battery backup and duplexer. An interface connection on the side of the case provides access to the RF, DC and AC inputs.


ICT Noise filters are designed for use with 12 V in-vehicle mobile radios. They filter differential and common mode noise as well as both positive and negative leads of the electrical system. Also available are surge protectors that also filter both positive and negative leads to protect 12 V equipment from power spikes and surges.

TPL Communications

The Smart SRXRF-PS continuous duty power amplifier offers the following features: feedback controlled output level, amplifier protection, local failure monitoring and outputs for remote monitoring. It accommodates all bands from 35 MHz through 960 MHz and provides VSWR and over-temperature protection. In addition, it operates on 120 VAC or 240 VAC, exceeds FCC specifications for harmonic attenuation and can operate over a temperature range from -30° to 50° C (-22 to 122° F).