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Your in-vehicle networking questions answered

Aaron Maben

Get answers to four questions from agencies about in-vehicle networks

In this blog, Cradlepoint answers more questions from real public safety agencies looking to gather information about in-vehicle networking.

Question: How do you get buy-in to use LTE within your agency, given the cost to convert from the MiFi? 

Estee Woods: It might actually cost more with MiFis. One of the agencies that we work with here locally was using MiFi’s a few years ago and started logging the troubleshooting tickets – the man-hours spent to troubleshoot MiFis and do their firmware upgrades – and every vehicle that had to be brought in off the street. For smaller agencies, this can mean all hands on-deck for their IT department – costing more over time.  After logging those costs and the time, they found that they were actually paying more. They implemented Cradlepoint and the solution paid for itself in the first year. In the second and third year they were making money back that they could use for other technology upgrades. Part of this consideration is evaluating how much are you really spending, how many man-hours might you save, and if you can create any operational efficiencies by implementing this solution.

Michael Fletcher: LTE is a very easy path to get on in order to obtain connectivity, which will increase efficiencies and officer safety. Having LTE connectivity and a GPS modem can give your dispatch the exact location of where an officer is on a remote road and will allow that officer to call for help if needed. This can make a large impact on efficiencies and safety. It’s easy when you can set the cost aside and first start thinking about the risk liability and the functionality of keeping your staff safe.

Estee Woods: We also have a lot of agencies that are slowly wheeling out technologies as they can afford them, and that works as well. For example, to create an emergency command center, agencies can get a pop-up solution or one of our ruggedized mobile solutions and have it on hand when an incident does happen. Then you have that critical communication that you can create on your own. It could also be a mobile command network that agencies could come together and use for interoperability. Or agencies could put LTE in a few mission-critical vehicles and utilize those. There’s a lot of things you can do to make the transition less daunting. Agencies can also utilize grants that might help get buy-in within the agency. And what we’re finding is as people implement this technology into their agencies, they don’t know how they executed before.

Question: What is the timeline to support CBRS (Citizen’s Broadband Radio Services) in your development path? 

Aaron Maben:  CBRS has not been released yet for public use; however, it is part of our development path. If you go to our Pathway to 5G landing page on our Cradlepoint website, you’ll see that Private LTE is part of that Pathway to 5G along with Gigabit-Class LTE and it is something that Cradlepoint is going to be a leader in. We’ve already conducted several trials with CBRS and Private-LTE, so that is something that will be coming when it is released.

Question: How often are grants awarded for deploying this kind of technology and what is the average grant award amount? 

Michael Fletcher: There’s a process where the money becomes released and a grant is able to be applied for against a bucket of money. Then, it’s reviewed and when the grant application that you’ve submitted gets awarded, it could come to you in 3 to 6 months or it could take a year. I would encourage you to go ahead and apply and submit your grant application in efforts to get it awarded. Then once you get it, you have basically 12 months to get that technology deployed and then they’ll do an audit to make sure that you spent the money on what you said you would. You could get as little as $500 probably in as little as 90 days if that helps answer the question. There are billions of dollars in grant money available and the experts at the grant organization that we have partnered with, Fire Rescue1 and Police1, are going to know the system. They will also know the keywords to use in your grant applications, and based on your needs and where you are in the country, they can research and find the buckets of money that you qualify for.

Estee Woods: In April for instance, the Federal Government announced new grants specifically for law enforcement and public safety agencies for emergency preparedness.

Question: What is the email to get information from the Cradlepoint Grant Assistance Program? 

Estee Woods:  You can visit www.cradlepoint/firstconnect, or email or you can email Either of those emails will get you the link to live event assistance and that information.


              Aaron Maben, Solutions Engineer at Cradlepoint

             Estee Woods, Director of Public Sector & Public Safety Marketing at Cradlepoint

             Michael Fletcher, Business Development Manager at Cradlepoint & retired San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff
Watch a recording of our recent webinar, “IOT Applications & Instant Networks for Law Enforcement”.

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