The City of Providence, R.I., will deploy a $2.3 million 2.4 GHz mesh network developed by Motorola that will provide high-speed mobile data capability to the city's public-safety agencies. The purchase is funded by a variety of grants, with the largest coming from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice's COPS (community oriented policing services) program.

The city expects the system — which will cover 18 square miles — to be fully deployed in the first quarter of 2006.

The system uses military-grade mesh-enabled architecture radios that transmit data at speeds up to 100 times faster than the analog radios they are replacing, which transmitted data at about half the speed of a home dial-up modem, according to Motorola.

System nodes will be installed primarily on city light poles, but in-vehicle radios will act as routers and repeaters to provide redundancy. Should a node fail, a vehicle can be parked next to that light pole to restore capacity or clustered at an incident outside of the coverage area to create an ad hoc network.