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Modernizing law enforcement: taking the pathway to 5G


In-vehicle networks are becoming mainstream for modern public safety applications

The modern police cruiser is no longer just a means of conveyance for patrolling towns, cities and highways. It’s now a vital hub that provides real-time communications in and around the vehicle and links devices, sensors and cameras to the station and the cloud applications critical for an officer to do his or her job. As cruisers evolve, the speed, connectivity, reliability and security of the in-vehicle network must also evolve.

In-vehicle networks are becoming a mainstream option for first responders to effectively leverage modern public safety applications and to take advantage of national public safety broadband networks. Therefore, officers can no longer rely on consumer-grade MiFis, or “puck” devices, to execute these mission-critical communications and applications. They need pervasive and secure network connectivity solutions and services that are purpose built.

In some major cities across the country, 5G is already available, and soon, the rest of the world will be able to experience its impact. As 5G gets closer and closer to reality across the U.S., public safety officials are asking how 5G will impact modern policing. 5G enables low latency applications and provides high-bandwidth resolutions, both of which help technology such as body and dash cameras, facial recognition, and AI perform at its best—and in real-time. However, keep in mind that there will be no switch that flips and suddenly makes 5G available to every police force. Instead, think of this as a pathway to 5G that starts with the already available Gigabit LTE. Gigabit LTE is the ongoing expansion of 4G LTE. This higher-performance technology is based on three key developments, each of which is a component of 5G:

  • Spectrum Efficiency — The addition of 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) allows more bits to flow through the available spectrum.
  • Expanded Capacity — 4×4 Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) allows the splitting of transmission across many antennas, which multiplies the capacity of an RF link.
  • Wider Channel — Carrier aggregation or melding various pieces of licensed and unlicensed radio spectrum into one wider channel. This expedites the flow of data.

Agencies can take advantage of these Gigabit LTE today in their in-vehicle networks and beyond. Cradlepoint also offers a personalized consulting workshop that is designed to help CIOs and senior IT leaders take understand the take advance of emerging 5G services within their next-generation WAN strategies. This workshop will educate leaders on the state of 5G networking today, which carriers are offering what, and how to get on the pathway to 5G today. The goal is to help agencies understand how they can leverage these technologies to offer better services and policing to their communities.

Learn more about the Pathway to 5G.

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