Government Technology

Mesh Network Bolsters Border Security

Border Patrol agent places a Mexican National under arrest for transporting drugs into the U.S.

July 2, 2007 By

In a rugged environment along a remote national border, field personnel have new access to vital applications thanks to a pilot network testbed operating over MeshDynamics MD4000 Wireless Mesh Nodes. A series of fixed-location MD4000 mesh nodes provides connectivity to additional MD4000 mobile mesh nodes in security vehicles where agents may access a variety of applications.

Wi-Fi link distances up to fourteen miles with mobility

The network consists of both fixed and mobile nodes operating at both 5.8 GHz and 2.4 GHz using 802.11a, and -b. The fixed nodes are located on towers along the border and some are deployed with sectored antennas for long-distance connections. Backhaul node-to-node distances range up to 14.4 miles, although most are in the three- to four mile range. Some of the wireless mesh sites are so remote that there is no AC power supply, so solar arrays, wind power, and batteries power the equipment. Specialized support in the MeshDynamics wireless mesh nodes for long distance 802.11 connectivity allows even the longest links to operate at up to 54Mbps.

The mobile nodes are mounted in security vehicles and provide connectivity to agents' data terminals. The MeshDynamics mobile wireless mesh nodes include a scanning radio, which offers make-before-break connectivity in the moving vehicles. The scanning radio allows the vehicle to travel through the network at high speeds while maintaining uninterrupted connectivity for security applications.

Node mobility: a Third-Generation challenge solved
High speed node mobility is one of the key benefits of MeshDynamics' Dynamic Distributed Radio Intelligence technology. Combined with the company's industry-leading Third Generation support for high performance over many hops, the network provides a reliable framework for security personnel communications. "Over many hops, only Third-Generation architectures provide enough bandwidth with low jitter and delay at the distant end of the network," noted Francis daCosta, founder and CTO of MeshDynamics. "But most Third-Generation solutions depend on fixed link and channel configurations. The border network's high-speed mobility requirement mandates more channel management and topology intelligence in each node, which only MeshDynamics delivers."

The pilot network has recently expanded since its production deployment in January 2006 and future phases will include wireless connectivity to agents' PCs and PDAs. The MeshDynamics wireless mesh network provides a solid foundation for these expanding border security applications.

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