Cisco Systems recently introduced the Metropolitan Mobile Network, comprising its Aironet Wi-Fi outdoor infrastructure and 3200 Series routers, which have been upgraded with an integrated 802.11b/g-compliant wireless mobile interface card that supports wireless LAN and WAN access. Cisco is targeting city, state and federal agencies, public safety, transportation and public works for the solution.

According to Cisco, the wireless mobile interface card enables laptops, personal digital assistants and video surveillance equipment to maintain connectivity between cellular and Wi-Fi coverage and across the community. In addition, the 3200 Series routers can be deployed in fixed locations on light poles and rooftops to create citywide wireless coverage.

The ability to maintain connectivity is particularly important for law enforcement personnel, said Shah Talukder, Cisco's director of marketing for public safety. “You can't log onto a network when you're going 70 miles per hour,” Talukder said. “This solution allows seamless migration from access point to access point, and between networks, without losing application sessions. It's sort of like roaming.”

The Metropolitan Mobile Network is built upon a standards-based Internet Protocol architecture. Cisco has been promoting the architecture for the past three years as the way to achieve interoperable communications between agencies operating on disparate mobile radio systems. The company believes partnership and collaboration between infrastructure developers is necessary for interoperable communications to develop.

“The industry has been guarded for too long. Proprietary solutions aren't the answer. Standards-based solutions allow networks to talk to each other,” Talukder said. “There is no single solution that will solve interoperability. We need a series of seamless solutions.”