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City of Roseville Connects Emergency Response Vehicles

With an estimated population of 105,000 residents, Roseville, California is located along the eastern edge of the Sacramento Valley and is 16 miles east of Sacramento. The fire department and police force are charged with the important task of maintaining the safety of the community and its property. Effective communication between the 911 dispatch center and the police officers and firefighters is critical in coordinating the departments’ efforts.

The City of Roseville relies on its Computer Automated Dispatch (CAD) system as an integral part of its dispatch center. The system is used to communicate call information such as names, phone numbers, addresses and details of a particular incident to firefighters and police officers in the field. The system previously used a county-wide RD-LAP wireless data system for connecting CAD terminals located in police vehicles, and Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) technology followed by 1xRTT CDMA via PCMCIA cards in fire vehicles. The system was slow and the CAD terminals were not TCP/IP based. To improve system speed and overall performance, the City of Roseville turned to Digi International for its ConnectPort™ WAN VPN high-speed cellular routers to connect police cars and fire trucks via high-speed EVDO 3G cellular networks.

“The old system wasn’t TCP/IP based so it worked only for CAD and it was extremely slow,” said Dave Applebaum, telecommunications manager for the City of Roseville. “The new system is much faster. Now with a TCP/IP based system, police officers and firefighters can access email and other information like photo lineups online from their vehicles.”

The Need for Speed
When calls come into the 911 dispatch center, they are dispatched out via the CAD system. Vehicles connect using the ConnectPort WAN VPN which provides high-speed connectivity via CDMA/EVDO cellular networks.

Prior to the current setup, police cars relied on an antiquated county wireless data system that provided connection speeds between 10-12 kilobits per second. Using the ConnectPort WAN VPN, police cars and fire trucks now experience connection speeds that provide 10 to 100 times the throughput of legacy networks.

“The biggest problem with the old system was the slow response rate caused by the slow connection speed,” Applebaum stated. “With the new system, you type a command, hit a button and get your answer back quickly.”

A Strong Partnership
The City of Roseville tested several cellular routers throughout its selection process. It chose the ConnectPort WAN VPN largely because of its administrative and user interface, ease of configuration and provisioning, and outstanding technical support.

“The Digi routers were the easiest to get up and running,” Applebaum said. “They also have great logging capabilities. The event log shows what the radio has been doing. If you’re getting connectivity issue reports, the Digi box makes it easier to get an idea of what the radio in the modem is doing to make resolving any issues easier.”

Another feature the City of Roseville finds of great value is the built-in Ethernet switch. The ConnectPort WAN VPN features four Ethernet ports that are used to connect the police cars’ Ethernet-based digital video recorders. The additional Ethernet ports saved the City of Roseville thousands of dollars by eliminating the need for an Ethernet switch in each vehicle.

The City of Roseville has purchased about 100 ConnectPort WAN VPNs. It began using the product in early 2007.

“Throughout the relationship, Digi has constantly been working to improve its product,” Applebaum concluded. “Digi has worked closely with us to solve our problems and provides excellent support. They are a large established company that builds industrial grade products. We looked at other smaller companies and worried they didn’t have the experience to support a large deployment.”

Featured Products:

"The Digi routers were the easiest to get up and running."

- Dave Applebaum, telecommunications manager, City of Roseville

Application: Network Connectivity for Emergency Vehicles

Industry: Government/Emergency Response

Company: City of Roseville, California

Challenge: The City of Roseville needed to replace its antiquated, slow county wireless data system that connected its fleet of police cars and fire trucks to the 911 emergency dispatch center.

Solution: ConnectPort WAN VPN, an upgradeable, commercial-grade 3G cellular router, replaced the slow connection with a high-speed CDMA/EVDO cellular connection, enabling faster data connection speeds in police and fire vehicles.

More about ConnectPort WAN VPN
The ConnectPort WAN VPN is an enterprise-class 3G high speed flexible-function cellular router that provides secure wireless connectivity to remote sites and devices. It can be used for primary wireless broadband network connectivity to equipment at remote locations, as well as for a backup to existing landline communications. Integrated IPsec VPN support ensures true end-to-end data protection.

    Key Features:
  • High-speed 3G primary or backup network connectivity
  • Integrated VPN support
  • Ethernet, serial and USB ports
  • Wi-Fi and GPS options
  • Easily replaceable cellular modules or PCM/CIA Cards
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