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Fremont Police Department Adopts General Packet Radio Service Network

Agency phasing out Cellular Digital Packet Data network

FREMONT, Calif.-- The Fremont Police Department has selected Padcom's TotalRoam software to establish a seamless migration path from their Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) network to a new General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network.

The department is using the solution to manage the phase-out of their CDPD network and to equip mobile officers with access to the new GPRS network. The software upgrade provides the department with the static IP addressing needed to meet public safety application requirements while maintaining the ability to seamlessly roam between dissimilar networks. The software integrates easily with systems and applications already in use.

The department uses the software to create a mobile virtual network that allows mobile units to roam seamlessly between their current wide-area networks (GPRS and CDPD) and 802.11b WLAN "hotspots" deployed across the city, facilitating information sharing, providing access to critical applications and enabling high-speed data transfers.

Fremont decided to implement the new network in advance of the actual end of support for the CDPD network to take advantage of the improved speed offered through the GPRS network, and to prepare their mobile fleet for the absence of CDPD. A standard upgrade to the TotalRoam Gateway server allowed the department's IT administrators to equip the first cruiser in June 2003. The first phase of cruiser deployments is now complete, and by the end of August 2003, they plan to equip an additional 80 cruisers with the technology, integrating their databases and current applications with the new GPRS network.

A number of police agencies and mobile workers across the U.S. are currently dealing with changes in wireless communications, specifically the phase-out of CDPD networks.

The Fremont Police Department has worked with the company since June 2002 using TotalRoam Mobile Connectivity Suite (MCS), to create a mobile virtual network. The MCS is a software platform that manages all aspects of wireless data communication from security to the integration of multiple infrastructures to the control over individual applications. The software specifically enables roaming by creating a mobile virtual network capable of supporting any combination of RF; iDEN, initially developed by Motorola; CDPD and GRPS networks as well as CDMA 1xRTT and 802.11 hotspots. Officers in cruisers can stay connected to the department's server and database while roaming between dissimilar networks.
Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
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