Motorola launches mobile VPN product for public safety, government
Motorola this week introduced a Windows-based mobile VPN 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, 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. 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,” he said.
Fabbri added that the Multi-Net Mobility platform’s authentication and encryption applications meet government standards, while the session persistence capability eliminates the need to restart applications when users encounter short-term lapses when moving 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,” Fabbri said. “So, users can create profiles for the various networks based on speed or, potentially, cost. They might not want to send a high data-intensive application over a network that costs them per kilobyte or megabyte.”
Of the three 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, adding that the less officers in the field have to think about the applications they’re using, the better. “It needs to be where [first responders] don’t have to do anything. … They have more important things to do.”
Fabbri said Motorola sees application for the Multi-Net Mobility platform in the enterprise sector in the future, but mobile VPNs chiefly are a public-safety and government play right now, Forrester Research analyst Rob Whitely said.
“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. “But. if you look at municipal-level government and first responders, … they absolutely require mobility to perform their primary functions, rather than just to do their jobs better.”