RONKONKOMA, NY – When you work in the field, you want access to real-time information and may find yourself asking, “What is the best data connectivity option – client-based or vehicle-based data connectivity?” For first responders and field services technicians this is a critical question whose answer depends on many factors. Law enforcement officers, first responders and field service techs often have a variety of reports and records, plus more contextual information, that is needed en route or while on scene. This includes incident reports, patient care reports (PCR), wants and warrants, building blueprints, buried gas line maps and historical event tracking for utilities. “The amount and types of data required by field workers is ever increasing,” says Tanya Morrison, Chief Business Development Officer at Island Tech Services (ITS) (www.itsg.us.com), a leading provider of advanced technology, mobility and vehicle solutions. “That’s why it is important to assess the organization’s data requirements, the nature of the information needed and the speed at which it can be accessed.” To help law enforcement, first responder and field service organizations assess the data connectivity options available to them in the field, ITS has identified the advantages and disadvantages of client-based and vehicle based data connectivity options.
Today’s durable and rugged tablets and laptops provide high-performance computing power and data access via LANs, WIFI and cellular networks. This client-based connectivity platform, aka embedded cellular laptop, is often the focal point of all mobile data. ITS views this as a “portable” data connectivity point that users carry to where they need to access and exchange data.
- Client-based Connectivity Advantages: The low-cost, ease of use and portability of these solutions make this a popular choice, especially when bandwidth needs are low or there is less concern about data latency. Additionally, there is a high level of familiarity by users and IT support staff with the mobile devices and connectivity they provide.
- Client-based Connectivity Disadvantages: Client-based devices often lack the reception or signal strength capability of dedicated, vehicle-based connectivity devices. When a client-based connectivity device loses power, all data options are lost as well, including location and safety information. These devices are not dedicated, meaning the same CPU used to provide performance for reporting, records, data entry (computing tasks) is used to provide connectivity tasks as well. Finally, there may be physical hardware challenges and performance limitations when it is necessary to install the laptop in a vehicle with mounting options for dedicated client-devices.
Purpose-built, rugged and secure mobile gateways and mobile routers are designed to deliver mission-critical communications for in-vehicle applications. They are optimized to operate in vehicle environments while providing a variety of LAN and WAN connectivity options. A single wireless broadband connection can support multiple applications providing a platform for field workers and enabling HQ workers to manage fleets and resources more effectively.
- Vehicle-based Connectivity Advantages: Typically, a vehicle-based connectivity device like a mobile gateway or router provides greater bandwidth, performance and security across multiple Ethernet, USB, and serial ports, as well as WIFI connectivity, turning the entire vehicle into a mobile data communications unit. These devices are designed to leverage externally-mounted, high-gain antennas, yielding the best bandwidth and performance on cellular networks. Gateways with true router functionality provide Quality of Service (QOS), enabling critical data communications to take precedence over other data communications, and allow IT staff to extend their security infrastructure to the field. Additionally, these devices provide the ability to proactive alerting, remote device monitoring, management and upgrades.
- Vehicle-based Connectivity Disadvantages: Vehicle-based connectivity devices come at a higher cost for both the device and the installation time required. The devices can also consume precious real estate in vehicles already crowded with life-saving equipment and work gear. They also require experienced technicians to configure and additional IT staff training.
“There is no single ‘best fit’ solution for every connectivity case,” says Morrison. “The associated costs and business requirements will often dictate a specific solution. Additionally, this type of technology is quickly evolving and closing the gap between options. For these reasons, many organizations may choose to take a hybrid approach, deploying portable client-based data connectivity in some situations and mobile vehicle-based data connectivity in others.”
Want to Learn More?
ITS offers a complete range of mobility solutions that bring the power of your office to your mobile environment. Increase productivity and maintain connectivity in the field using mobile data applications and technology. Learn more at http://ow.ly/iTzQ30fMCGf.
About Island Tech Services
Island Tech Services ITS (www.itsg.us.com), is a leading provider of advanced technology, mobility and vehicle solutions to business professionals, first responders and public-sector employees throughout the country. For nearly 20 years, we have helped customers incorporate technology in their work to increase performance, efficiency and security. Our comprehensive and integrated technologies and services span from headquarters, to field techs, to command vehicles. For more information about ITS, please contact us at 888-614-2770 or visit http://www.itsg.us.com/