How To Choose An Industrial Wireless RouterFor most urban dwellers, most of the time, internet connectivity can seem ubiquitous. But even today, when carriers have built out their 4G LTE infrastructures and are rapidly deploying 5G service, the truth is there are places in most cities where it can be hard to get connectivity.
For a mom driving her kids to soccer practice, a construction worker on some remote job site or a business woman inspecting a project, poor or no wireless connectivity is an inconvenience.
However, for first responders like firefighters and police, emergency agency managers and even TV news crews, not having reliable internet connectivity is a far more serious matter. In the case of the former, it can mean the difference between keeping those responding to an emergency safe and needlessly putting them in harm’s way. In the latter, a lack of connectivity can deprive the public of vital breaking news and information that in many instances can keep them safe.
Even when life and limb are not on the line, reliable remote internet connectivity can be essential. Consider remote production of a live entertainment program like an awards show or a sporting event. Thousands of people attend these events—many with smartphones in their pockets or purses.
Wireless networks serving these locations can be crushed by the volume of internet traffic generated as people shoot and post video and pictures, leaving television producers scrambling for connectivity to handle their data requirements, regardless of whether there’s a separate circuit for their contribution feeds.
The Solution: An Industrial Router
An industrial router should be able to take bandwidth wherever it can get it. In other words, it should be able to access the various networks of multiple carriers. In the United States, that means AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, whether it’s 4G LTE or 5G. It should also have Ethernet connectivity, the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks and even leverage satellite sources of bandwidth, such as BGAN and Viasat satellite service.
For qualified first responder agencies, it should also be able to source wireless bandwidth dedicate to their needs, such as FirstNet and Frontline.
Having multiple sources of bandwidth means an industrial router has a good chance of delivering the reliable internet connectivity needed by these organizations.
Aside from the ability to aggregate multiple sources of bandwidth to enable this level of connectivity, the other distinguishing characteristic of an industrial router is ruggedness. In many instances, that means the ability to mount the router in an equipment rack in a vehicle that will be onsite. That also means the router’s enclosure should be rugged and its internal electrical components designed to handle temperature extremes, dust and other harsh environmental conditions.
How To Choose Your Router
Second, what provisions, if any, are available to enhance the range and strength of the connection to the cellular sites of wireless service providers? How difficult is it to integrate the industrial router with an external wireless antenna system or satellite antenna?
While industrial routers typically are equipped with an internal antenna, having the ability to add an external antenna not only makes it possible to connect to cell sites located farther away but it also will enhance signal strength, meaning greater reliability.
Third, how simple is the industrial router to use? Ease of use is particularly important for first responders who must be able to focus their attention on the situation at hand and not spend precious moments fiddling with technology to establish a connection.
Similarly, the router should make it easy for multiple people to connect to the hotspot it creates so that setting up a two-way data exchange with firefighters, police or news crews is fast and painless.
Fourth, is the router built to stand up to the harsh environments in which it may routinely be used? Finally, is there an internal battery system that can be used in the event that an onboard generator fails or shore power is unavailable?
The TVU Router
With the optional IP67 external MIMO antenna atop a vehicle, users can maximize their signal strength and wireless connectivity.
Built for rugged field use, TVU Rack Router is designed to be mounted in an equipment rack. It also can be mounted in flypacks to support broadcasters and rental houses that frequently ship video production technology to far-flung locations.
Like other TVU Networks products, the TVU Rack Router leverages the company’s IS+ technology. With IS+, wireless network links remain stable and reliable. Further, data is transported in a way that ensures optimal performance regardless of the wireless provider.
Users can manage the TVU Rack Router to strike the right balance between performance and cost. The router makes it possible to prioritize which connections are used to ensure the cheapest are put into service first. Users also can cap link usage to control costs.
As the workflows of emergency responders and media organizations increasingly rely on internet connectivity, the need for reliable links –even in harsh environments—has never been greater. Industrial routers like the TVU Rack Router can provide the connectivity these users can rely on when they’re in the field.