Firetide offers fiber-quality wireless network
Wireless mesh network provider Firetide, which counts several public-safety entities as customers, has introduced a new wireless infrastructure mesh, the Firetide HotPort 7000, capable of being deployed on a large-scale basis and supporting some data-heavy and QoS-sensitive applications — such as video, voice and data applications — simultaneously.
Muni-Wi-Fi networks in general are constrained by the lack of bandwidth to support large-scale, multi-service applications such as city-wide video surveillance, traffic management and intelligent transportation systems. They are usually single-purpose networks, designed to support video only or broadband only, but rarely a multitude of services that all have different QoS requirements.
“The approach we took from day one was to offer an infrastructure network, not a muni-Wi-Fi network,” said Bo Larsson, chief executive officer of Firetide. “Our current product has met the requirement of a very demanding application — video. But what is exciting is that you can now realize larger municipal-type infrastructures. You can run public safety with a bunch of video streams, preserve that with QoS and at the same time do traffic management and even broadband services. It is true fiber quality.”
Firetide’s approach to mesh networking is unique in the sense that it has employed mesh topology, a distributed Ethernet switch approach that enables interoperability with IP-based wired and wireless networks, and a dynamic flow management technology that enables end-to-end QoS. Firetide has deployed its wireless infrastructure in several large markets, including Chicago, where the Firetide infrastructure is part of Operation Virtual Shield, one of the world’s largest video-security systems.
Firetide’s new HotPort 7000 mesh infrastructure is designed to offer fiber-equivalent performance by incorporating MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology, designed to increase the data speed, range and reliability of wireless networks. Performance now moves from 70 Mb/s to 400 Mb/s between two wireless nodes, offering fiber-equivalent latency at 0.9 ms per hop, Larsson said. That means every node has the capability of an OC3 (a fixed network line that transmits 155.52 Mb/s), Larsson added.
What does this mean? Larsson said municipalities can now realize their original dreams for municipal wireless: making public safety the anchor tenants while being able to add additional applications, such as Wi-Fi for mobile workers, broadband for underserved areas and traffic management.