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In Case of Emergency, Location Accuracy Matters

emergencyGoing to NENA next week? Join us in Booth 515.

The ability to summon emergency assistance by using a phone to call 9-1-1 has been ingrained in our society for more than 40 years.  For a successful emergency response, it is critical that the responders receive accurate location information.  Traditional wired-line telephony is able to use the location of the physical wires as a source of information for caller location, whereas wireless technologies require more exotic mechanisms to locate a 9-1-1 caller.

Current trends expose risks in the emergency response system as we know it:

  • More and more 9-1-1 calls being made with mobile devices that are not mapped to a physical phone tied to a physical location in a venue.
  • Limited GPS location capability indoors can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a 9-1-1 caller in a multistory building.

Accurate caller location within a building is vital for a timely response to an emergency. With more people using cell phones while indoors, the delays that can occur when emergency responders must rely on outdoor location technologies used inside a building are becoming all too common.  This challenge can be compounded in large buildings with many floors and many rooms on each floor.

TCS and Cisco meet this challenge by using the Wi-Fi network to make emergency response faster and more efficient with:

  • Seamlessly connection of the cellular and Wi-Fi location control planes, providing results within a few meters of accuracy
  • Visibility for accurate mobile 9-1-1 caller location with wireless location mapping specific to the venue

Next week, TCS and Cisco will be presenting this innovation solution at the National Emergency Number Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Come see how we’re disrupting the emergency response space at booth 515. Join us for one of our Buzz Sessions in the NENA Exhibit Hall:

  • Monday, 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

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What, Why, Where, When, How: The New FCC Ruling Around 5 GHz

You don’t need me to tell you to know that we are in the midst of a technology revolution.  It’s mobilizing the internet.  And it’s transforming the way billions of people around the globe collaborate, communicate, and connect to the internet.

•           The education customers I work with are incorporating video and mobile applications into their curriculum with up to a 100 students in an auditorium accessing the Wi-Fi network simultaneously.

•           Healthcare customers are relying on Wi-Fi to connect patients, devices and provide nurses instant access to medical records.

•           Manufacturing customers are increasingly using Wi-Fi to enable workers on the factory floor to have real-time video conversations with experts anywhere in the globe.

What do these things have in common?  They all depend on Wi-Fi for connectivity.  In these areas, and so many more, Wi-Fi has become a central way that people access the Internet.

The FCC released a historic decision on April 1, 2014 (adopted March 31)with regards to the use of 5 GHz spectrum. Although there were many technical aspects included within this decision, one of the most interesting was making the 5150-5250 MHz U-NII 1 band available for outdoor WLAN use. Read More »

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HDX Blog Series #4: Optimized Roaming

Editor’s Note: This is the last of a four-part deep dive series into High Density Experience (HDX), Cisco’s latest solution suite designed for high density environments and next-generation wireless technologies. For more on Cisco HDX, visit www.cisco.com/go/80211ac.  Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here.

If you’ve been a long time user of Wi-Fi, at some point you have either observed someone encounter (or have personally suffered from) so called “sticky client syndrome”. In this circumstance, a client device tenaciously, doggedly, persistently, and stubbornly stays connected to an AP that it connected to earlier even though the client has physically moved closer to another AP.

Surprisingly, the reason for this is not entirely…errr…ummm…unreasonable. After all, if you are at home, you don’t want to be accidentally connecting to your neighbor’s AP just because the Wi-Fi device you’re using happens to be closer to your neighbor’s AP than to your own.

However, this behavior is completely unacceptable in an enterprise or public Wi-Fi environment where multiple APs are used in support of a wireless LAN and where portability, nomadicity, or mobility is the norm. In this case, the client should typically be regularly attempting to seek the best possible Wi-Fi connection.

Some may argue that regularly scanning for a better Wi-Fi connection unnecessarily consumes battery life for the client device and will interrupt ongoing connectivity. Therefore the “cure is worse than the disease”. But this is true only if the client is very aggressively scanning and actually creates the complete opposite of being “sticky”.

The fundamental issue with “stickiness” is that many client devices simply wait too long to initiate scanning and therefore seeking a better connection. These devices simply insist on maintaining an existing Wi-Fi connection even though that connection may be virtually unusable for anything but the most basic functionality. Read More »

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Bringing the Cellular Roaming Experience to Wi-Fi

Today marked an exciting milestone in the continuing convergence of Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) and cellular technologies as the Wireless Broadband Association (WBA) and the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) co-announced  that the industry’s first HotSpot 2.0 (HS 2.0) trials are scheduled for later this summer and the HS2.0 certification test beds will be available in mid 2012.  HS 2.0  is an industry initiative to develop standards-based interoperable Wi-Fi authentication and handoff.  In a nutshell, this enables a seamless handoff between cellular and Wi-Fi networks that allows mobile handset users to roam between the two networks without the need for additional authentication — much as you experience roaming between cellular networks while using your cell phone.

Industry organizations and standards bodies working on the HS 2.0 initiative include the WFA, focused on interoperability; the WBA, the industry group organizing the field trials; and the Global System for Mobile Communications Alliance (GSMA) that ensures the HotSpot 2.0 spec is aligned with the 3GPP framework.

Cisco is a strong supporter of the HS 2.0 initiative and is participating in the upcoming trials with its SP Wi-Fi Carrier Solution.  I will continue to provide updates as we move forward with this timely and critical initiative. In the meantime, take a look at this white paper, “The Future of Hotspots: Making Wi-Fi as Secure and Easy to Use as Cellular,”  which explains the technology behind HotSpot 2.0. 

Sarita Kincaid
skincaid@cisco.com
Twitter: @saritakAR

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