Sierra Wireless launches AirLink Managed Network Service offering with FirstNet connectivity
Sierra Wireless last week announced its AirLink Managed Network Service that includes FirstNet connectivity via a Sierra Wireless AirLink MP70 LTE wireless router that is designed to give public-safety agencies access to broadband without stressing local IT resources, according to a Sierra Wireless official.
While the MP70 router included in the offer is the same FirstNet Ready device that the company since 2018, the support that comes with the AirLink Managed Network Service addresses a key problem for many public-safety agencies, according to Tom Mueller, vice president of enterprise solutions for Sierra Wireless.
“The truth is that many agencies really don’t have the resources that are required to properly support and maintain these sorts of critical piece of equipment,” Mueller said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The managed-services aspect of this solution is really what we think is the differentiator here.
“Because you can take a mobile router, you can insert and create a connection on the FirstNet network with a FirstNet SIM, and then it begins. How do I deploy it? How do I manage it? How do I make sure that it’s configured for privacy and security? How do I make sure that it stays current over the life cycle, if I have to change my network configurations or some of the equipment that I have deployed in my vehicle changes? You want to have an army of professionals supporting you in that life-cycle management.”
Although the AirLink Managed Network Service is new, Sierra Wireless will leverage significant experience providing a managed-services offering, Mueller said.
“We have professionals who are from our managed-network-services business who monitor systems in various use cases for customers,” he said. “We’ve taken some of that capability and basically stood up a … managed solution for first responders with embedded FirstNet connectivity in an MP70 mobile networking router, offering that as a managed service with a three-year contract.”
Available immediately and offered as a monthly subscription service, the AirLink Managed Network Service typically involves a $200 upfront activation fee and an ongoing cost of $99 per month, according to Mueller.
“What that gets the agency is a brand-new MP70 mobile router,” Mueller said. “It includes FirstNet connectivity. It includes device management. It includes technical support and people watching it, monitoring and updating the equipment on a regular basis.”
Mueller said that Sierra Wireless is in the process of getting its portfolio of wireless gateway products approved for use on the FirstNet system, but the managed-services offering is limited to the MP70 router at this time.
Bob Sloan, AT&T’s chief operating officer (COO) for the FirstNet program, expressed support for the new Sierra Wireless managed-service offering.
“By embedding FirstNet connectivity into the AirLink Managed Network Service, public-safety agencies can enjoy an end-to-end solution straight out of the box—accelerating their access to reliable, unthrottled connectivity and the advanced capabilities they need to help save lives,” Sloan said in a prepared statement.
“This collaboration with Sierra Wireless not only gives public-safety agencies more ways to gain access to the FirstNet communications platform, but it’s also a cost-effective way to equip agencies with the critical tools they need and trust to help them accomplish their mission.”