Cisco Systems this week announced Mobile Ready Net, a standards-based ad-hoc networking solution designed to ensure communications even when fixed infrastructure is not available.

At the heart of the solution is Cisco’s embedded services router (ESR), which can be used to turn any subscriber communications device into a node on an ad-hoc network. In a standards-based architecture, the Cisco ESR can route communications through a node on the network in 5 milliseconds, said Brad Boston, Cisco’s senior vice president of global government solutions and corporate security programs. The solution also can work with proprietary systems, but the routing time may be slower, he said.

With its radio-aware routing capabilities, the ESR can link devices automatically creates network links without the need for fixed infrastructure, said Murray Duff, mobility programs manager for Cisco.

“If a fixed infrastructure [network] is there, obviously, we’ll take advantage of it, but we really don’t have to have fixed infrastructure,” Duff said, noting that the router is intelligent enough to transmit packets along the best routes and to allow seamless networking among mobile users. “The router can anticipate link degradation and can switch to another radio unbeknownst to the user.”

An ESR in a Compact PCI version is expected to ship in the spring of 2010, while a PC/104 version is scheduled to ship in fall of 2010, Boston said. The Cisco ESR has been embedded into the Harris Highband Network Radio as part of a military trial, and Cisco is talking with several other device manufacturers about including the ESR in their gear.

“Many of the vendors have been building their own routers, but they’ve been telling us, ‘It’s not our core competency,’” Boston said.