Voice, video and data

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...


Capturing video is usually restricted to a video recorder in the vehicle. Consequently, video images captured by the dashboard camera are recorded directly into the DVR in the trunk, and no one but the officer can see the video until it is downloaded at headquarters. His radio data is restricted to a very low-bandwidth communication device that does not enable him to push maps, high-resolution photos, video or any other big files that you would normally be able to manage at headquarters and that would be highly useful in the field.

Today, if a policeman responds to a traffic accident or bank robbery, only an aerial platform such as a helicopter flying over the scene can broadcast video. We see it at home on our televisions during a newscast, or it might be broadcast back to the police station so that police leadership can see it. The officers or first responders on the ground cannot see it, and there are many instances in which they could do better, safer work if they could.

Implementing mobile ad hoc networking allows video to be seen by the police officer from the field in real time. For instance, the aerial view from the top or side of a building, behind a row of trees, or down the block -- now seen only in headquarters or on your living room television -- can be seen in the field. That marks a distinct advance in communication that provides law enforcement with the ability to respond differently to an event because an officer has more visual information on the scene.

With mobile ad hoc networking, an officer will be able to see video in real time, which can make him safer and more effective at stopping crime.

This is indeed a positive operational change that is an outgrowth of ad hoc networking.

Technical advantages

Ad hoc networking does not change the capability of any radio such as land mobile radio (LMR), also known as voice push-to-talk radio. However, it does allow systems that integrate land mobile radio networks to integrate into the network and capture non-LMR communication nodes. (One such system is Cisco IPICS, which provides a full spherical view, up to 360 degrees, for surveillance.)

Ad hoc networking allows a communication system to be one of many by integrating satellite, cellular and radio technologies. It expands LMR rather than replacing it.

For instance, if an officer is outside land radio communication links, the network opens a satellite or cellular connection or routes traffic over a neighboring officer’s vehicle if it provides better connectivity. The officer does not have to be a networking engineer, since this is done automatically. No action is necessary to stay connected.

Self-healing networks and meshes

Ad hoc networks deliver IP-based voice, video and data beyond the reach of a traditional fixed-network infrastructure. An ad hoc network has to be smart enough to manage and control large amounts of data so that the required information can be easily passed through.

Ad hoc networking allows the network to see all of the nodes as they move in or out of coverage areas and interact with the nodes via routers to find the best path to transmit the data.

With ad hoc networking, convergence is down to about five milliseconds. Because the network can see link quality dropping off, it can anticipate and make changes instantaneously. For instance, a phone call might jump from satellite, to radio, to fixed cell, to land mobile radio and back to satellite. The officer on the call never knows the complexity of the communication nodes; all he knows is that the phone call works.

Core competency

By adopting ad hoc networking, police and law enforcement benefit from the research and development of the Defense Department and ministries of defense around the world, who are already using and relying on ad hoc networking for their daily life-and-death operations.

Ad hoc networking does not affect established security; it maintains the same security standards currently in place. Law enforcement can be as confident in their ad hoc networking implementations as they are with their fixed-infrastructure networks.

Every police department’s network is different and designed to its specific needs. If architected properly, operation will be cost-effective and efficient.

There are four basic components to an ad hoc network:

  • Routing platforms.
  • Radio Aware Routing (RAR) protocols enabling networks to talk to a radio.
  • Radio routing protocols for ad hoc mobility that run in the network.
  • Applications and services.

Routing Platforms

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