BelAir Networks recently announced the availability of mobile mesh nodes that can operate in the 4.9 GHz frequency allocated for public safety and the 5.9 GHz band for Intelligent Transportation Services (ITS) that meet connectivity requirements in vehicles traveling as fast as 150 miles per hour.

While mesh technologies have enjoyed increasing acceptance in many markets, many existing solutions work effectively only in fixed or low-mobility environments, because mobile connectivity requires a “handover,” or handoff, of the signal from one access point to another access point.

These signal exchanges are not part of existing 802.11 standards, so BelAir developed the BelAir 100M, a vehicle-mounted mobile router that is designed to address the problem, said Stephen Rayment, CTO and co-founder of BelAir Networks, during an interview with MRT.

“As [as a vehicle with the BelAir 100M] goes from access point to access point, it will make sure that the interruption lasts 10 milliseconds or less,” he said.

Rayment said BelAir engineers determined that developing a mobile mesh node was critical to achieve reliable and robust mobile performance.

“To really optimize the handover performance, we found it was important for us to control both sides of the [wireless] link,” Rayment said.

A key to the solution is BelAir’s “make before break” feature. In most 802.11 solutions, the device continues to try to reach the access point that provided its last connectivity, even if the access point is out of range. When this happens, application sessions are at least interrupted and often lost entirely.

With the BelAir solution, the 100M continually seeks signals from all access points and quickly transitions to the access point delivering the strongest signal at that location and time, enabling handoffs between access points while traveling at high speeds, Rayment said.

“With the BelAir solution, the handovers are seamless,” he said. “[The BelAir 100M has] already done the scanning, in the background, while data packets are being transmitted.”