This white paper is designed to help first responders and the local governments that support them understand why
choosing FirstNet Ready™ equipment from Peplink sets them on a course for success. The benefits Peplink brings to
public safety organizations include:
● Peplink Unbreakable SD-WAN for public safety
● The combined power FirstNet and commercial LTE
● A wide range of Peplink models to suit every deployment
SD-WAN strategies and benefits for FirstNet by developing a robust FirstNet strategy and working with the right partners like GetWireless and Peplink, public safety organizations across the United States can help save lives and better protect their communities.
FirstNet grew out of the devastating losses from the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The attacks exposed glaring weaknesses in our communications
systems. Cell service was spotty. Countless emergency response teams could not communicate using their trusted radios. And many first responders
lost their lives. So, Congress established the First Responder Network Authority and charged it with building a nationwide dedicated broadband
The First Responder Network Authority contracted AT&T to build and deliver this innovative ecosystem, creating a unique 25-year public-private
partnership. In December 2017, all U.S. states opted into FirstNet, but individual cities, towns, and municipalities still had the option to decide if they wanted to participate and if yes, when. The federal government allocated a high-quality band of spectrum within the 700MHz range know as Band 14 for the use of public safety subscribers to FirstNet. This spectrum helps provide coverage to rural areas of the county.
AT&T’s strategy for FirstNet involved adding this spectrum to its overall spectrum pool, ensuring that FirstNet is available to public safety organizations anywhere the AT&T commercial network is active, even before the completion of the FirstNet network. This pooled spectrum means first responder agencies—911/emergency communications organizations, police, fire, EMTs, hospitals, and other emergency personnel—can sign up and begin using FirstNet nearly immediately. In fact, by the end of 2019 there were over 1 million active FirstNet connections from over 10,000 agencies, giving proof that public safety needs a dedicated communications platform.
For municipalities, public safety entities, and other authorized agencies, the decision to switch to FirstNet is an important one and requires the assessment of a variety of factors. GetWireless, a leading distributor of cellular solutions that connect the Internet of Things (IoT), understands this planning process and can provide these agencies the guidance they need regarding budgets, timelines, and specific equipment, to ensure a successful implementation.
Emergency responders require 24/7 connectivity to be successful in their daily jobs. Examples of how a first responder would use connectivity in their
daily work include:
● Applications like video streaming from body and dash cams
● Real-time location coordinates
● Transmission of images, such as a suspect’s photograph or a building’s blueprint
● Automatic license plate readers
● Searching outside databases for medical information
However, there are times when a first responder needs to have a network for emergencies. The need for a dedicated network for first responders is
crucial when the network becomes overrun by hundreds or thousands of people trying to use it at the same time. Some examples would include:
● A multi-car accident on a busy freeway
● Disturbance at a concert
● Shooting on a college campus
● A natural or human-made disaster, such as the California wildfires, during which dozens or even hundreds of people are making calls, updating.
Even large-scale events where there are smaller emergencies—such as a heart attack by a Super Bowl attendee—can slow down the response of first responders if communication channels are blocked.
The need for a dedicated network for public safety organizations came to light as part of the September 11 terrorist attacks back in 2001, and the idea
for FirstNet was born. The applications have changed from the phone calls and texts that overwhelmed networks nearly two decades ago, but FirstNet is designed to handle today’s high-bandwidth streaming applications as well as traditional calls and texts.
PUBLIC SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
Public safety agencies and other organizations eligible for FirstNet need to select the FirstNet rate plans, devices and applications that meet their requirements and budget.Some organizations are staging their FirstNet rollouts department by department, while others are taking an all-in approach in a single budget year.
To make it easier for public safety organizations to select the equipment that works best for their implementation, FirstNet requires handsets, laptops, connected devices, such as in-vehicle routers, and accessories that are compatible with the FirstNet Evolved Packet Core.
In general, some essential requirements for equipment used by public safety organizations include:
(1)Environmental hardening: Public safety officers
often work under challenging conditions, and
equipment must be able to operate seamlessly in
conditions with smoke, heat, dust, humidity, rain,
snow, and other conditions. For mobile vehicles,
equipment must be hardened to withstand significant
shock and vibration.
(2)Simple management for both mobile and fixed
applications: Management platforms are the nerve
center of emergency response. Public safety teams
need a straightforward management platform for
both fixed and mobile devices to monitor devices
remotely, make configuration changes, or update the
firmware or software.
(3)Reliable connectivity: Some equipment is impacted
by the vehicle’s on/off status, where the material
ties to the vehicle’s battery. Communications
equipment should be in an always-on state, which
requires a reliable battery backup for when the car is
(4)High levels of security: Public safety organizations
often deal with highly sensitive information, such as
processing criminal records or searching FBI
databases. To be able to access the information from
the database, a secure link is required between the
mobile or fixed device.
(5)Support for vehicle area network (VAN)
applications: The vehicle is often the hub of activity,
and applications are needed to support the daily
activity. Some of these applications would be body
cams and dash cams, DVRs, e-ticketing, and
telemetry for vehicle diagnostics and driver behavior.
It is imperative that solutions can connect to the
vehicle, without any network congestion or lag time.
Although not a FirstNet requirement, equipment that can also integrate with and extend the bandwidth and reach of legacy technologies, such as two-way radios that are still in use in many first responder environments, is a bonus.
PEPLINK FOR FIRSTNET
Using Peplink products and technology can provide several significant
benefits for mobile deployments, including seamless failover to
commercial LTE , bandwidth bonding, traffic steering, and protection of
data/security. Combining the power of FirstNet and commercial LTE,
Peplink applies the “unbreakable” software-defined wide area network
(SD-WAN)approach it brings to enterprise-grade networks to its products
and solutions used on FirstNet.
Peplink’s market differentiator is its patented SpeedFusion™ technology.
SpeedFusion aggregates internet connections to create a single bonded
data pipe that’s budget-friendly, ultra-fast, and easily configurable to suit
any networking environment. In a public safety environment, that means
First Responders using Peplink products with multi-cellular connectivity
can aggregate and bond the data throughput of multiple mobile carriers
for any application. These solutions transpire in command posts, rapid
deployment systems, or any place where connectivity saves lives.
With its SD-WAN solution, Peplink has developed three technologies with SpeedFusion designed to address specific networking problems, and incorporated them into its FirstNet Ready™ products:
WAN Smoothing utilizes intelligent algorithms to
fill in connectivity gaps, WAN Smoothing minimizes
latency and reduces the impact of packet loss—in
essence, trading bandwidth for greater connection
resiliency. This technology is useful for times when
connection reliability and responsiveness are more
useful than speed.
In the event of a WAN disconnection, a hot failover
transfers traffic to another connection while
maintaining session persistence.
SpeedFusion takes multiple LTE links and
combines them into a single connection that is
ultra-fast, ultra-resilient, and has the highest
HOW IT WORKS
By using intelligent algorithms, the Peplink device
builds and delivers individual packets that the
receiving Peplink device uses to reconstruct the
lost packets to ensure that communications remain
consistent. At the same time, WAN Smoothing
attempts to assign traffic to the WAN connection
with the lowest latency. Thus, the latency of the
SpeedFusion tunnel becomes the latency of the
most conscious WAN connection.
Traditional WAN failover terminates existing VPN
connections, resulting in costly downtime.
SpeedFusion Hot Failover maintains secure
tunnels over all available WAN links to keep users
up and running when a connection drops out. If a
WAN link fails, SpeedFusion Hot Failover instantly
and seamlessly routes traffic to a working tunnel
for uninterrupted VoIP sessions, unbreakable
VPNs, and continued connectivity and
Bandwidth bonding combines data at the packet
level, enabling users to bond the speed of
limitless connections . This method is useful
for situations where bandwidth is scarce, such as
at a remote site, or in a moving vehicle. This
technology also enables branch offices to
connect to the head office at higher connection
Peplink has a wide range of routers on the market, with right-sized options for any environment, including mobile, indoor, outdoor, etc. In conjunction with a Peplink router at headquarters or a cloud provider, Pepwave multi-cellular routers can combine commercial LTE, FirstNet LTE, and radio networks to create seamless connectivity for first responders. Every Peplink device that is FirstNet Ready™ supports connectivity to Band 14 as well as other LTE bands on which leading commercial networks operate.
The following Peplink devices are FirstNet Ready™: