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Connect Devices in Patrol Vehicles

When a law enforcement officer makes a traffic stop, correctly identifying the subject is a key safety measure. Officers need an easy way to check a person’s identity if a valid photo ID is not provided.

A county sheriff’s department had been using laptops with cellular PCMCIA cards inside their patrol vehicles to access the state’s criminal information system via an encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) over the Internet. They utilized handheld biometrics readers (fingerprint scanners) to identify subjects without proper identification. The handheld biometrics readers were also cellular-enabled so that fingerprints could be instantly compared to the state fingerprint database for quick identification. In this application, two cellular cards were being employed—one for the laptop and one for the biometrics reader—which caused the sheriff’s department to receive a separate cellular bill for each device.

Digi offered an alternative solution using the ConnectPort WAN VPN, an Ethernet- to-cellular (GSM GPRS/EDGE/HSDPA or CDMA 1xRTT/EV-DO) router. This wireless device is connected to the laptop inside each vehicle. Its inherent routing capabilities provide wireless Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity over the cellular network, enabling the laptop to communicate to the state database. To eliminate the second cellular bill for the biometrics reader, the sheriff’s department decided to connect the handheld device to the laptop using the laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) port. Using the network bridging functionality built into the laptop’s operating system, the data coming from the Wi-Fi port on the handheld device was bridged to the cellular WAN connection, linking it with the state fingerprint database.

Migrating to the ConnectPort WAN VPN also enables the sheriff’s department to aggregate the WAN connections for multiple devices. By installing a switch on the network between the laptop and the ConnectPort WAN VPN, other Ethernet devices such as printers and scanners can be connected easily in the future.

Benefits of the new architecture for the county sheriff’s department include:

  • Multiple cellular bills eliminated
  • Persistent “always-on” connection with Digi SureLink™ technology
  • Installing a switch provides easy expandability for other devices
  • Multiple Wi-Fi and Ethernet-based devices can be used on the same WAN cellular gateway
  • Internal PCMCIA cards replaced with Digi’s rugged, commercial-grade hardware
  • Ability to interface easily between two applications (criminal and fingerprint databases)
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Problem:
Consolidating cellular billing for devices connected inside patrol vehicles

Now you can...
Leverage an Ethernet to cellular gateway to aggregate the WAN connections for multiple devices

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