Verizon and Motorola Offer LTE Modem for Public Safety (8/7/13)
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 | Comments

By Michelle Zilis
Verizon and Motorola Solutions delivered the VML 700 LTE Vehicle Modem R1.1. The modem is designed to operate on the Verizon 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network and LTE-based public-safety broadband networks, including the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network once built.

The modem operates on both band class 14, the spectrum dedicated to the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network, and on band class 13, the Verizon commercial 4G LTE network.

The modem offers public-safety agencies several use cases. First, if an agency, such as one of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) recipients, is deploying a small private network and uses the device on the Verizon network, they could transition to the private network for mutual-aid purposes, as well as testing proof of concept, said Dominic DeMark, area vice president, public-safety markets, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

If an agency’s private broadband network is ubiquitous enough to support its needs, the agency can then transfer off the Verizon network, he said. The third use case is for agencies that don’t have a private broadband network and are not BTOP recipients, but instead are waiting for FirstNet to be built, which could take years, said Deep Grewal, senior director, sales strategy and business development, Motorola Solutions. For these agencies, they can buy the modem and fully enable it on Verizon’s network. The device wouldn’t roam, instead remaining on the Verizon network full time, until FirstNet services come to their area.

Harris County, Texas, which received an extended special temporary authority (STA) waiver to operate a 700 MHz public-safety broadband network, is using the modem with the roaming feature on its network. Other private broadband network operators are using an older version of the VML modem that works on the Verizon 3G network as well.

“With the modem’s availability today, it allows agencies to future-proof their investment,” DeMark said. “Buy today and function on the Verizon network now, and as their private network or FirstNet starts to deploy, they’ll already have that capability and won’t have to do anything that would cause them additional funding.”

A connection manager application within the device handles the roaming between bands 13 and 14, so when the modem ventures out of the coverage area of band 14, it will then go onto the Verizon 4G network, said Grewal. In addition, third-party software from Radio IP Software and NetMotion Wireless provides session persistence via mobile virtual private network (VPN) to make sure that applications don’t break connections and re-engage when the modem goes across networks. The combination of the connection manager and the session persistence applications provide an elegant hand off, DeMark said.

As far as security concerns, the LTE network is a mechanism of transport, essentially a pipe of bandwidth, said Grewal. “Today, if someone is accessing electronic health records, the security that has to be on the laptop, on the mobile client and on the backend will be the same that comes into play on the LTE network,” he said. “The only difference we’re providing is the wireless spectrum — a bigger pipe with more bandwidth.”

In addition to broadband connectivity, the device can also serve as a mobile hot spot, enabling first responders near the modem to connect their own Wi-Fi-enabled 4G LTE devices. The modem was designed for the public-safety market, specifically for use in police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines. The device also offers a fleet management aspect with capabilities to send GPS coordinates to command centers.

“This unit is a very hardened device,” DeMark said. “It incorporates an integrated chipset that allows a single chipset with a single subscription, rather than having to have multiple subscriptions, which we believe is a real benefit.”

“Public-safety agencies across the U.S. are actively looking to upgrade aging equipment and deploy advanced mobile broadband technologies to meet increasingly complex challenges,” said DeMark. “Verizon and Motorola Solutions are working together to deliver a powerful, custom-built mobile broadband solution for first responders that enables the information sharing and collaboration capabilities critical to effective emergency response.”

Verizon’s 4G LTE network, available in 500 markets across the U.S. and covering more than 298 million people, delivers speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G, meaning that large data and video files can be accessed and shared for quick action. Verizon plans to have its 4G network fully built on the company’s 3G network by the end of the year, said DeMark.

The launch of the device is part of the Motorola Solutions Verizon Wireless alliance, an initiative announced in 2011 whereby the two companies collaborate to enable first responder connectivity via Motorola’s public-safety LTE solutions and the Verizon 4G LTE network.

Your comments are welcome, click here.


Post a comment
Name: *
Email: *
Title: *
Comment: *


No Comments Submitted Yet

Be the first by using the form above to submit a comment!

Site Navigation