Mesh Without Wires

June 25, 2010

MIMO Wireless Bridge Joins Firetide’s Point-to-point Portfolio

Filed under: Technology,Wireless — kseniacoffman @ 9:31 am
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Firetide MIMO wireless bridge

Firetide FWB-200 (Click on image to visit product page)

Continuing the expansion of its wireless infrastructure solutions, Firetide is launching a new MIMO-based outdoor wireless Ethernet bridge, which will ship in Q3 of 2010. Firetide’s radio technology expertise used in large-scale wireless mesh networks for video, data and voice applications in harsh environments ensures that its bridges are optimized to provide optimal performance, achieving up to 150 Mbps of user throughput (standard 802.11n radio data rate of 300 Mbps).

Why a MIMO bridge?

First off, obviously, the availability of 802.11n MIMO radios has dramatically increased performance. Point-to-point market, while not growing rapidly, is large, if you add in wireless ISPs. Our current channel of networking and security integrators also has been asking for point-to-point products for a while. A new market of wireless offload drives Wi-Fi hotspot interconnect needs for service providers.

Growing portfolio of point-to-point products

The single-radio MIMO bridge fits nicely between the MIMO mesh bridge (using Firetide MIMO mesh nodes) and the non-MIMO bridge that we announced in March of this year. Firetide now has an entire portfolio of point-to-point wireless Ethernet bridges, offering a range of throughput options and price points (throughput numbers are actual UDP user throughput, not theoretical data rate):

Unique capabilities

Firetide would not be Firetide without some unique twists on the MIMO bridge concept. First off, any Firetide’s point-to-point products can be managed alongside Firetide’s mesh nodes and access points through a single network management interface. This provides ease of management (no separate interfaces to check), but most importantly you get system-wide alerts and performance statistics.

Secondly, even though the bridge is single-radio (in terms of data communications), the hardware ships with two radios inside the enclosure. The second radio can be used for scanning and automatic channel assignment, and – in case of the (unlikely) event that the first radio fails, – the second radio will take over. This increases reliability and may save you a truck roll.

For more information:

June 18, 2010

Buffalo NY Wireless Surveillance System at Work

Filed under: Physical Security,Public Safety Wireless,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 10:09 am
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Continuing with the theme of public video surveillance in mainstream press, as well as to document successes of public video surveillance, I’m sharing a few examples from Buffalo NY, where the video security system is networked with Firetide wireless infrastructure mesh gear. The system employs IP cameras from Axis Communications.

[Buffalo] Security Cameras Credited With Murder Arrest

buffalo new york city surveillance

Click on image to view video clip

From the local press:

Buffalo Police Make Arrests In Two Homicide Cases

Buffalo Police have also made an arrest in connection with the death of 72-year-old Lincoln Burks of Cornwall Avenue, who was found dead inside of his home on January 29th. After a month long investigation, 33-year-old April Stone of Buffalo was arrested. Detectives credit city surveillance cameras with playing a key role in solving the case. March-9-2010. (Full article)

City surveillance camera helps police nab 5 in looting

Buffalo police say they caught five looters in the act Wednesday morning — thanks to the watchful eye of the city’s newest surveillance camera. The camera had just been installed Tuesday afternoon. Police say an operator, who was sitting inside the city’s surveillance monitoring room, used the camera to see images of the looters entering a convenience store in the city’s Riverside area. Just nine minutes later, those five burglars were in police custody. May-15-2008 (Full article)

Brief articles from the Buffalo NY Police Department web site:

Cameras Catch Suspected Vehicle In Homicide

Buffalo police are releasing City Surveillance video of a vehicle that might have been used in connection with a homicide on April 1st of this year. The video comes from one of the City Surveillance Cameras that are installed throughout the City. May-10-2010 (Full article)

City Surveillance Camera Video Instrumental in Fatal Stabbing Arrest

Video from a City Surveillance Camera located at Lisbon Avenue and Cordova Avenue played a key role in helping to solve the case. The video, along with information from witnesses and detailed police work, allowed detectives to make an arrest just one week after the incident. Nov-10-2009 (Full article)

Police, Public And Cameras Come Together In Burglary Arrest

Still shot from Buffalo City Surveillance Camera

Buffalo city surveillance camera captured vehicle involved in a burglary

Thanks to good old fashioned police work, the help of the City’s new surveillance cameras and the continued help from the public, Buffalo Police have arrested a man in connection with a burglary of a South Buffalo Senior Citizens Residence. […] Police also worked hand-in-hand with the City’s Surveillance Camera Room. Surveillance video showed the suspect’s vehicle passing through the intersection of Abbott Road and Cazenovia St. shortly after the incident occurred with the stolen items in the back of the truck. Sep-24-2009 (Full Article)

City Surveillance Cameras Lead to Blockbuster Store Fire Arrests

Following the fire, that occurred just after 11:30pm on October 16th; investigators were immediately helped by the city’s surveillance camera system. The camera located at Elmwood Avenue between Auburn and Cleveland Avenues provided authorities with clues that eventually led to the arrests of the two suspects. Nov-12-2008 (Full article)

For more information on Firetide deployments, see:

June 9, 2010

“The Cameras Work”: Denver on Its Wireless Video Surveillance System

Filed under: Physical Security,Public Safety Wireless,Wireless Mesh — kseniacoffman @ 11:11 am
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It’s either luck, or the public safety video surveillance systems (“crime cameras”) are going mainstream. Denver Post recently ran an extensive article on Denver’s HALO (High Activity Location Observation) system. The initial phase of the system included 50 cameras and was deployed in the preparation for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The system uses Firetide’s wireless infrastructure mesh network to interconnect the cameras, and was deployed by our long-term integrator Avrio RMS, which is also behind Firetide-networked muni wireless security deployments for Phoenix PD, Rochester NY PD, and St Paul PD, among others.

“The cameras work”

Even with an obligatory quote from ACLU (“terribly invasive and creepy”), the article is positive overall with quotes from the city council members  and police praising the system. Quoting from the article:

denver HALO video surveillance

Wireless video surveillance 'pod' in downtown Denver (click for larger view)

Denver council members, for the most part, praise the program. Video from a police camera helped in the successful prosecution of gang members who burned down the Holly Square Shopping Center. The video showed that one of the Molotov cocktails rolled off the shopping center’s roof and hit the head of the person who threw it, causing his head to catch fire.

In another instance, police video captured Shannon Stark when he fired a revolver at a Denver police officer after the officer ran a check on him. Stark, now 21, confessed to the shooting after police confronted him with video that showed the police officer ducking to avoid the bullet. Stark now is serving a 16-year prison sentence.

Lt Martinez of Denver PD said the cameras can have other uses beyond crime prevention. In the event of a disaster or terrorism attack, they also can help authorities coordinate evacuation routes and the dispensing of medicine, Martinez said.

“The cameras work,” Councilman Charlie Brown said during a recent briefing. “I welcome them, and so do the neighbors.”

Little room is devoted to the camera system technology (as expected), except to say: “Denver’s cameras have resolution high enough to zoom in and capture an image of something as small as a license plate as far as a block and a half away.” (Pretty impressive for a wireless system!)

I do hope that the local press will start getting into the technology side of things, too. Wireless is gaining acceptance as a reliable transport and an alternative to cable and fiber in municipal video surveillance, transportation, government, education and industrial installations.

It’s is important for the citizens to know that deploying wireless instead of fiber can save up to 90% of network infrastructure costs. This translates to projects moving forward, rather than being bogged down in funding discussions. Even grant funding is very competitive these days, so if a public safety agency can show quick ROI, their application has more chance of being accepted.

“HALO paid for itself within the first 18 months of operation”

Update: This was definitely a lucky week, as another Denver HALO article came out: in Government Video this time. A couple of interesting quotes:

“Identifying suspects and witness through video capture has been very successful,” Lt Martinez said. “On the basis of reduced investigation and prosecution costs—down about 50 percent—we estimate that HALO paid for itself within the first 18 months of operation.”

He said HALO has helped solve the attempted homicide of an officer, assaults, domestic violence, drug dealing, and motor vehicle thefts. “And our ability to monitor large events has allowed us to better deploy our resources, which are limited,” he said.

For more information:

June 7, 2010

Firetide Unifies Wireless Infrastructure Mesh Product Line; Adds Flexible Capacity Options

Filed under: Technology — kseniacoffman @ 7:50 am
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Firetide Wireless Infrastructure Mesh

Firetide HotPort 7000 (Click to go to product page)

HotPort 7000 wireless infrastructure mesh product line has now absorbed the HotPort 6000 product line, delivering a single form factor for both. Until now, HotPort 7000 product line was only available in MIMO 802.11n version. With the merging of the two product lines, customers can now select to purchase 802.11a/b/g single-radio capabilities, and later upgrade to dual-radio, MIMO capacity or both, all through software licenses.

Software Licenses Enable Advanced Functionality

HotPort® 7000 mesh nodes now ship as 802.11a/b/g/n dual-radio capable hardware, with enhanced functionality enabled through software licenses. To illustrate: projects that do not require 802.11n MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) capacity or dual-radio capability can start with 802.11a/b/g-enabled single-radio configuration. Dual-radio functionality can easily be enabled through a software license at an additional cost. Similarly, a separate software license can enable MIMO functionality for operation in 40 MHz channels, and to take advantage of 802.11n technology.

“Pay-as-you-go” Approach Offers Convenient Upgrade Paths and Investment Protection

Ability to build out capacity on as-needed basis makes wireless infrastructure an easier sell. Upgrade options now built into the HotPort 7000 product line will make it easier to cost-justify the investment to end-customers. They will be able to expand the network’s capacity and add new applications down the road, when additional funds are available or new departments come on board.

More Value Across All Options in the Product Line

While the “HotPort 6000 equivalent” version of HotPort 7000 product comes at the same price points as the HotPort 6000 product, Firetide integrated HotPort 7000 features into all of the iterations of the platform, including:

  • Reliability-enhancing capabilities: built-in interference mitigation; intelligent routing; end-to-end QoS on a per-flow basis
  • Deployment tools: integrated spectrum analysis; network capacity planning and antenna alignment tools
  • Flexibility: dual configurable radios in 2.4, 4.9 (U.S. public safety licensed band) and 5 GHz frequency bands; indoor and outdoor models.

New options within the Firetide HotPort 7000 product line will be available in June 2010. With the merging of the two mesh product lines, HotPort 6000 and HotPort 7000, customers planning to purchase HotPort 6000 mesh nodes for fixed deployments are encouraged to opt for the new, equivalent mesh nodes within the HotPort 7000 product line.

HotPort 6000 will continue to be available for infrastructure mobility deployments until Q4 of 2010, when infrastructure mobility is supported on the HotPort 7000 mesh nodes.

Updated product information is available on our web site:

June 3, 2010

Public Video Surveillance and Mainstream Media

Filed under: Physical Security,Public Safety Wireless,Wireless — kseniacoffman @ 8:05 am

Thanks to Smart Camera blog, I came across an extensive article in The Daily Northwestern (a university newspaper in Evanston, Illinois). It’s a fairly good representation of mainstream media coverage of public video security systems, although probably with more pronounced anti-Big Brother approach compared to a local TV station.

Still there are interesting tidbits in the article on camera systems effectiveness, community reactions and costs.

“The cameras the city currently operates have already helped reduce crime, [Evanston Police Department Chief] Eddington said. After police installed a camera in Brummel Park in 2007, calls for police service in the area dropped 39 percent over the summer, he said.

Eddington said he thinks the new cameras will be even more effective. They have better optics, are easier to control and will give police real-time access to footage, he said. Police will be able to obtain images of suspects immediately, before they have time to change their clothes, he said.

The cameras will also help the police force cope with Evanston’s budget crisis, Eddington said. Eighty percent of the police budget pays for personnel costs, and the force can’t afford to hire more staff. Though the grant runs out in three years, funding the cameras’ [maintenance] will be relatively cheap; he estimated all six current cameras combined cost less than $3,000 a year.

Eddington understands residents’ privacy concerns. Though he said police officers have not abused current cameras, he encouraged camera critics to keep asking questions. “Public scrutiny of the Police Department’s actions is completely appropriate,” he said.

But surveillance cameras are now a standard part of criminal investigations throughout the country, he said: “I think there is an expectation in a jury’s mind that we’d have video evidence at some point .”

As expected, there’s very little on the camera system technology, and nothing on connectivity (how are the cameras connected?). Hence we get very few mentions in the local papers – something we are trying to change, but with limited success. By the way, in this particular case, the city has already a lot of fiber installed, so wireless component in the new system, if any, will be small.

City of Chicago public video surveillance camera

Cameras on poles are just tip of the iceberg in public video surveillance systems

The article in Wall Street Journal from November 2009 – Chicago’s Camera Network is Everywhere – is another example. The City’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) has an extensive network of cameras, many of them on Firetide’s wireless network, which the article makes no mention of. Since we had nothing to lose after the article came out, I emailed the reporter offering to provide more details on the wireless component of the network. To my surprise, the reporter responded. He shared these details on their thought process:

“I originally explained wireless mesh networking as part of the story, but the editor thought it got too technical, and unfortunately the idea of wirelessness (is that a word?) and Firetide’s key role got cut out too.”

So the struggle of getting the mainstream media to understand the importance of connectivity in public video surveillance deployments continues.

For more information:

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