Thursday, September 9, 2010

Enabling Smart Cities through a Unified Communication Platform

Ashish Sharma, VP Marketing, Alvarion

There is rapidly growing interest among municipalities and public safety agencies worldwide to invest in multi-purpose, city-wide broadband networks, thereby creating a “Smart City.” The goal for these “Smart City” initiatives is to provide a cost-effective and efficient approach for managing the city’s day to day operations. The technology of choice for the “Smart City” is the 4G WiMAX wireless network, which allows cities and municipalities to invest in a single scalable network infrastructure that can satisfy the diverse requirements of multiple city agencies. For a cost-effective “Smart City” solution, municipalities require a single, multi-purpose network for a wide range of applications and services including public safety and security, mobile broadband connectivity for first responders, intelligent traffic systems, connecting multiple city buildings and agencies and more.

The shift from multiple single-application solutions to a common platform that can be shared by multiple agencies for diverse citywide applications and services is a dominant trend among cities and municipalities. A common multi-purpose network approach based on Point-to-Multipoint (PMP), Mesh, and Point-to-Point (PtP) wireless topologies for optimal coverage leads to lower initial investment, lower operating costs and better overall performance.

WiMAX technology, based on the IEEE 802.16e standard, has the features and attributes necessary to meet the cost, performance and coverage demands required for a wide area cost-effective, all-inclusive broadband municipal network.

Alvarion’s complete portfolio of wireless broadband products are ideally suited to meet the demands and challenges of a broadband municipal multi-purpose network and support a full range of network topology options, including PMP, PtP and Mesh. This offers considerable flexibility in deploying a network for complete citywide coverage.
  • PMP provides the majority of coverage with each base station supporting multiple stationary or mobile terminals. It is very easy to add or adjust terminal sites to address changing conditions. Even temporary terminals can be installed in a matter of hours within the base station coverage area to provide added surveillance for special events or planned gatherings or demonstrations.
  • Line-of-site PtP links can be used to provide a dedicated high capacity link to a business or educational campus, a shopping center or any other venue where the traffic volume is expected to be high. A high capacity wireless PtP link is also a preferred option for the backhaul connection to the core network. This will most often be more cost-effective than leased lines.
  • Coverage within the campus or shopping center environment can be achieved with a Mesh or Wi-Fi network.

In general, in most municipalities all three topologies along with Wi-Fi will be utilized for optimal coverage, performance and cost.

Municipalities have already realized many of the benefits of broadband connectivity for public safety applications and video surveillance with limited, application-specific solutions. To cost-effectively extend this capability, improve performance and support additional and more diverse citywide applications and services it is necessary to consider alternative network solutions. A citywide broadband wireless access network based on the 4G WiMAX global standard provides a common infrastructure with all of the attributes and features required for a high performance, cost-effective, multi-purpose municipal network.

If you’re interested in learning more about “Smart City” initiatives and the how to cost effectively build communication infrastructure, please sign up for our upcoming free webinar on Wednesday, September 15. The webinar will highlight a case study from City of Houston, a leading US city that is at the forefront of one such initiative. Additional details and registration information are available here:

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