Deployment Strategies

Public safety takes front row in network infrastructures.

As the necessity for public and personal safety increases, the demand for surveillance solutions requiring the most rigorous, video-based security standards continues to grow. One of the biggest challenges security professionals face today is the deployment of viable, cost-effective security network infrastructures over multiple sites, stretching from city centers to remote rural locations.

The Limits of Wired Infrastructure

Until recently, CCTV deployments were limited to wired infrastructure, which presents a number of challenges when deploying video surveillance networks. One common challenge is availability. In many cases, video surveillance cameras need to be placed in areas where the terrain makes it too expensive or inconvenient to lay wireline. Moreover, the majority of wired infrastructure was deployed before the Internet revolution, and its integration with DSL requires the availability of digital subscriber line access multiplexers. Another drawback of wired infrastructure is that a commonly used public network may compromise security, quality of service and availability, all of which are essential for video surveillance applications.

With the development of wireless technologies, particularly OFDM/OFDMA, non-line-of-sight WiMAX-based wireless networks are a viable alternative and, in many cases, a preferred option. Whether in areas where wireline is unavailable, or as a complementary solution for existing wired networks, wireless technologies extend capacity and coverage and offer new possibilities for modularity and mobility.

The development of wireless networks also has introduced advanced radio technologies to the market, offering faster, easier to deploy and more cost-effective networks with increased bandwidth, QoS and security, which are all critical for video surveillance applications. These advanced techniques facilitate the use of license-exempt frequencies that minimize operational costs. Furthermore, the integration of sophisticated encryption techniques has jump-started the use of wireless technologies for sensitive military and other equivalent applications.

Once a broadband network is deployed, the municipality can use it to drive economic development, increase educational excellence, attract business investment, provide municipal services and improve quality of life for residents. Moreover, the same muni-wireless networks that are ideal for safe city deployments offer compelling revenue-generating opportunities, such as traffic control, transportation security, automatic meter reading and e-services for citizens.

Just the Beginning

Rolling out a private safe-city network creates opportunities to deploy a myriad of applications and services that can generate actual revenue for municipalities, enhance services to residents, reduce municipal expenditures and ensure a compelling ROI. Some of these applications include managed video surveillance services for commercial customers: municipal access and broadband for the council providing inter-building connectivity and mobile workers support.

The network also eliminates the need to lease or maintain costly public networks, while intelligent remote traffic management balances traffic loads, reduces accident rates and provides driver alerts on road conditions. e-Education services can provide interactive remote education via shared or dedicated networks, enabling remote school connectivity. Residential Internet access can offer residents an Internet solution when other alternatives are not available or a lower-cost alternaive to other services.

New wireless technologies, such as WiMAX and mesh Wi-Fi networks, address many of the requirements for safe-city network deployments and applications. Wireless networks can be deployed quickly and are very flexible. Once a base station is operational, services can be provided in a coverage area of up to several dozen kilometers by using customer premises equipment, which only requires one power source. Peripheral equipment, such as video cameras, sensors and computers, is connected to CPEs, and the data between them is easily transferred. Wireless technologies make deployment changes and expansion very easy, such as installing new CPEs or changing CPE locations, and provide the added value of mobility.

The Mobility Factor

Wireless broadband networks create a new and more efficient paradigm for public safety agencies to work together, save money and optimize the use of existing manpower. Wireless systems link disparate devices and systems of the safe city in a network that is independent of landline infrastructure. This enables real-time, mobile broadband access to critical databases, seamless voice services, live video feeds from geographically spread surveillance cameras and a host of other services in a single, reliable network, while easily supporting mobile broadband for officials on the move.

Mobile video and other broadband services enable police and first responders to receive and send video and critical information while on the go. Quicker, more efficient responses and decision making is the key to effective public safety and security.

Ad-hoc network creation also enhances video surveillance flexibility. When a crisis occurs or a public event is planned, wireless broadband provides the base for setting up proper video surveillance and command center capabilities rapidly. In the case of a presidential inauguration, an ad-hoc video surveillance system was set up for ensuring the safety of the participants.

Deployment Considerations

While broadband wireless solutions are becoming increasingly popular for customer- made safe-city connectivity, municipalities must consider several key factors when evaluating wireless safe-city infrastructure options. These include breadth and depth of the solution portfolio, including both licensed and license-exempt products; the degree to which solutions are optimized for safe city and municipal wireless connectivity specifically; and the ability to support and enable creative revenue streams with the addition of commercial applications and services for a compelling ROI.

A safe-city project incorporates multiple applications, some of which are time critical, such as traffic management. The safe-city wireless infrastructure must include QoS networking elements to set appropriate priorities for different applications and users. This will minimize data latency and guarantee a certain level of performance by reserving bandwidth for more critical applications. Furthermore, safe-city applications require the highest level of security, as does the network infrastructure that supports it. The security mechanisms within the network must not burden performance, which could negatively impact revenuegenerating applications.

Safe-city network infrastructure must provide seamless interoperability between disparate applications to communicate critical incident information and ensure collaboration between agencies and jurisdictions. Moreover, the network infrastructure should be able to leverage future investments in surveillance equipment and revenuegenerating applications, as well as adhere to open standards that enable the integration of emerging devices, applications and technologies. Providing IP-based network infrastructure solutions ensures a future-proof implementation, lowering total cost of ownership while enabling adoption of new services and devices.

Carrier-class, standards-based wireless broadband technologies, such as WiMAX, support complex video surveillance deployments within safecity networks. Wireless technologies make it possible to add cameras in locations previously inaccessible and offer the QoS, high-capacity, highavailability, built-in data encryption mechanisms and low-latency connectivity essential for real-time high-resolution video streaming over large geographic areas.

Broadband wireless solutions are fast becoming a de-facto standard for safe-city connectivity. They provide a range of benefits that answer municipalities’ technical, application and business demands. With myriad broadband wireless solutions available today and significant variation among them, municipalities must carefully consider several key factors, including the breadth and depth of a vendor solution portfolio in both licensed and licenseexempt products, flexibility and agility to support rollout of revenue-generating applications to achieve a compelling ROI and expertise in radio frequency planning.

Municipalities should seek vendors that possess core competency in providing WiMAX and broadband wireless solutions designed for private and alternative networks. Secure carrierclass, standards-based solutions that uniquely support complex video surveillance deployments within safe-city networks are ideal. Easy-to-install solutions that provide quadruple play mobile voice, video and data coverage are vital to handle the unexpected and provide revenue-generating opportunities for astute operators.

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