IGEN Networks introduces portable wireless-networking solution
First responders and others needing communications coverage in areas where fixed networks are not available can opt for InstaNet, a new portable-network offering recently announced by IGEN Networks, according to Neil Chan, CEO of IGEN Networks.
Traditionally, wireless networks leverage fixed base stations that require considerable footprint and planning, but InstaNet is designed as a networking solution that can be deployed quickly in areas where fixed coverage is not available, such as during the aftermath of a disaster, Chan said.
“Envision all of that — the core network, the base station and even the power amps that go into the base station — all housed into one unit,” he said.
“You’ve got the exact same networking capability of a core network that a Verizon or Sprint would need to deliver with a 3-watt radio instead of a 20-watt base station. And it’s all self-contained — the base-station controller … and all the network components that would fill a very large room is shrunk down into this self-contained package that you can put in the trunk of your car.”
Demonstrated at a trade show in May, the InstaNet package — weighing less than 60 pounds with an 8-hour battery and small enough to be carried on foot or to fit in the trunk of a vehicle — attracted attention from several first-response groups, particularly SWAT teams, Chan said.
They were so e “ xcited about it, because it is essentially a mini-Verizon or a mini-Sprint,” he said. “You turn it on, and — within three minutes, you have one-and-half-mile-radius coverage with a 3-watt radio … within a closed network.”
In addition to first-response organizations, Chan said he believes the InstaNet solution will be useful in the mining industry. If deployed on the same frequencies of existing fixed network, the InstaNet could create interference, but Chan said InstaNet is designed to be used where other networks are not available.
“This product is intended to be used in emergency scenarios where there is no coverage,” he said. “If you go into an area where there’s no coverage, then the thing that’s compelling about this is that their phones that they normally carry with them become part of a closed network.”
Currently, the InstaNet provides coverage using EV/DO, but an LTE version is expected to be released by the end of the year, Chan said. In addition, IGEN Networks hopes to introduce versions with WiFi and WiMAX capability in the future.