Mobile device overcomes ‘black hole’ communications problems for emergency services
New communications system developed by Newport-based technologists
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Combines mobility, security and simplicity of operation in a unit the size of a cereal box
March 2012 - Cassidian in Newport has developed a totally secure mobile system which overcomes problems for emergency services operating in areas around the world with communications ‘black holes.’
Limited cellular coverage in some areas, including parts of Wales, has traditionally posed communications difficulties for police, fire and ambulance services.
Now, technologists at the UK headquarters of Cassidian in Newport have succeeded in encapsulating in a case the size of a cereal box a mobile device that optimises and maintains a communications network in problem geographical areas or severe weather conditions.
Cassidian has chosen the Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales as the ideal testing ground for the system, known as Mobile Internet Protocol Node.
The system has been designed to make it easier for military and emergency response services to communicate using voice, data and video. It can be carried in ground vehicles or, for example, in helicopters, and does not need a skilled operator.
Dr Mark Bentall, Chief Architect of Cassidian, said: “Existing communication technology used by military and emergency services consists of radios that operate over multiple wireless networks. During peak traffic times or in extreme weather conditions these networks can become congested, restricting flow and impeding operations.
“This system takes a holistic view of all routes from sender to destination, taking into account external conditions, message file size, priority, security level and physical location. It then decides on an optimum route for the information. Users can be confident that a message will reach its intended audience regardless of conditions.”
Cyber security is now essential for modern military and emergency services, and the device incorporates Cassidian’s latest encryption technology.
Dr Bentall added: “We have combined network mobility, security and quality of service delivery in a highly integrated, functional package. It is designed to remove complexity from the user and reduce the need for communication planning. A Mobile IP Node-based system can provide high levels of trusted communications without the need for skilled operators or users – they can simply send a message and know that the system will efficiently deliver it.”