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Why first responders should care about rugged mobile gateways

21 Nov 2017 7:44 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Group Mobile, an Official IPSA Supporter

First responders rely on today’s technologies. The latest hardware and software are allowing them to do their jobs more efficiently than in previous years, however, this efficiency is becoming a dependency. It is ingrained in civilians to call on first responders when crisis occurs. They're the first line of defense. Often unaware of what's going on behind the scenes, civilians expect responders to arrive quickly, take charge and work seamlessly together to resolve the situation.

When public safety systems are brought into the Internet of Things, sensors and signals push relevant information to dispatchers and fellow mobile responders so that everyone in the field can respond quickly and appropriately. To harness the power of IoT, in-vehicle connectivity is crucial. In-vehicle connectivity enables the functionality for a wide variety of first response-specific applications on multiple wireless devices. Rugged routers and mobile gateways achieve this connectivity by supporting machine-to-machine communications and connected devices.

Though agencies can expect to see extensive benefits from these devices, here is a run-down of applications most commonly used in the field. Here’s what to expect from rugged mobile gateways and routers.

Consolidated, reliable connectivity

Harsh mobile environments, where first responders are often needed, are a breeding ground for lost connectivity. Not only are obstacles like this potentially life threatening, but there usually isn't a quick fix for handling them. For instance, with consumer grade routers, the management platforms make it impossible to locate the source of the issue remotely. This means emergency vehicles are forced to go back to the station to resolve the error.

Mobile gateways and routers address this problem by providing a multi-network solution, connecting to multiple networks, switching between them in sub-second timeframes. This also leads to less modems and antennas, providing connectivity for wired ethernet, USB, and serial in-vehicle devices. Various configurations are often available for different application environments.

Safe, fast communication

The consolidated connectivity from gateways and routers also delivers secure and fast communication for dispatchers, IT teams and first responders. The 3G network often available with consumer routers causes in-vehicle application to function poorly. This increases downtime and reduces productivity. The number of networks suitable for rugged mobile gateways and routers, however, utilize IoT to also enable scalability. Not only does this improve communication in ways impossible without, but it also dramatically increases downlink speed, meaning teams have fast access to real-time data and mission critical applications, like federal criminal records and pertinent incident location data.

This improved communication is at the core of empowering first response teams to make the best decisions based off real-time information.

Reporting, alerting

First responders leverage an assortment of technologies to improve functionality and efficiency, such as body-worn cameras, license plate recognition and Bluetooth that provide geolocation capabilities. When all these technologies run through one source of connectivity, triggers send messages to nearby responders and dispatchers, ultimately creating a clear timeline of events.

Such connectivity makes it possible for dispatchers and team leads to manage rather than just track. If a police officer pulls over a speeding car, for instance, the Bluetooth in his badge will send a message to dispatchers when the officer leaves the patrol vehicle and approaches the pulled over car. Such messages put nearby responders on alert for potential triggers prompting back up. This allows emergency personnel to assist one another without the officer in need of assistance stopping what they're doing and verbally alerting those nearby.


In-vehicle mobile gateways and routers require ruggedness. They need to be built and designed to endure temperature changes, exposure to dust and sand, as well as shaking and vibrations. Improved connectivity can only perform as well as the hardware enabling it. Rugged mobile gateways and routers ensure the durability to withstand hazardous environments commonly associated with locations experiencing crisis.

Utilizing rugged mobile gateways, routers

Agencies can install routers and gateways in emergency vehicles to provide new tools for their teams to focus on the situation at hand, know when to aide nearby responders and reflect on a clear timeline after the fact. Increased connectivity, advanced communication, access to real-time data and the durability to withstand hazardous environments set rugged mobile gateways and routers apart from commercial routers.

About the Author

Group Mobile works closely with Sierra Wireless to offer the world a comprehensive offering of hardware, software and services for connected devices and machine-to-machine communications. Together, Group Mobile and Sierra Wireless provide innovative, reliable and high performing solutions. Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, request a free personalized quote. Group Mobile is an official IPSA Supporter.

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