Ad hoc networks deliver Internet Protocol (IP)-based voice, video and data to users operating beyond the reach of traditional fixed-network infrastructures. Mobile ad hoc networks provide law enforcement with greater flexibility to update normal operational procedures across the board and modify the fundamental way that business is done. In the same way that putting networks in the office changed the way we normally do business, so will mobile ad hoc networks change how effectively law enforcement professionals can do their job. With minimal user training, the very same capabilities available in the office can now be deployed for use in the field.
For instance, imagine an officer is out on patrol and identifies a suspicious person. The officer stops the suspect and, with a mobile ad hoc network, is able to use facial recognition software to determine that this is a wanted felon. Even though he is away from headquarters, he maintains contact, so he sends a constant video stream of his interaction with the suspect back to headquarters. Not only can headquarters monitor the interaction in real time, but the officer can also access all the applications available on that network. In this case, he uses facial recognition and fingerprint identification data from the system to identify the felon. The police officer can take the suspect into custody, and headquarters can give disposition instructions, all on the scene.
Ad hoc networking offers compelling advantages in many environments, but there are still some challenges. Foremost among these challenges is the need to efficiently merge IP routing and mobile radio technologies.
Or take the example of emergency workers responding to a natural disaster. If the entire traditional infrastructure is destroyed, no one can get a cell phone or radio signal to save their life – or anyone else’s. The hurricane, earthquake or flood has decimated communications for miles. What can first responders do?
Ad hoc mobile networks are available today
Law enforcement can take advantage of the next generation of scalable mobile ad hoc networking to improve their communication capabilities by combining voice, video and data applications into a single platform.
A mobile ad hoc network is a collection of mobile nodes, which are distribution or endpoints in a communication system that can dynamically and continuously create connections. New embedded services routers that enable mobile ad hoc networks can provide highly secure communications to both stationary and mobile network nodes across wired and wireless links to improve law enforcement’s effectiveness and increase public safety.
Mobile ad hoc networks strengthen capabilities
Mobile ad hoc networking has a major impact on the daily operations of law enforcement agencies, introducing measurable and distinct operational capabilities. This new technology significantly improves how officers or first responders in the field can communicate with each other and with headquarters.
Law enforcement professionals with a mobile ad hoc solution have access to their network regardless of where they are. No longer are there communication coverage restrictions, since the ability to access all the capabilities they have in the office are with them all the time. Many of the normal day-to-day capabilities and features used in their fixed, in-building network, such as access to databases and communication systems, are available to each and every officer or first responder wirelessly.
Wirelessly available in the field
The three critical components of information that the network makes available are voice, video and data.
Currently, an officer typically receives and transmits data in two ways - by push-to-talk radio (a 40-year-old technology) and, more recently, by cell phone.