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Three Use Cases for Routers You’ve Never Heard Of

March 27, 2012 - 3 Comments

Routers are the link to the outside world for retail stores, bank branches, manufacturing plants, small offices, and more. Without them we couldn’t buy our groceries with credit cards, get the banking services we expect, or even do our daily work at our own jobs. As our world becomes more and more connected, the number of use cases for routers continues to grow … as do requirements for performance, security, and availability. At Cisco we are privileged to see the latest and greatest of these unusual deployments, so please read on for three interesting cases that made my head turn, and maybe will turn yours as well.

1. Speeding cameras in Scandinavia

How are Cisco routers related to speeding cameras in Scandanavia? If you’ve ever visited Norway, you know they’re serious about traffic control. Not only must every vehicle entering Oslo pay a toll, currently 26 kroner, but they also have to be very careful not to speed. Today Cisco and TDC have teamed up to connect 700 traffic enforcement cameras run by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.  We did this by placing hardened 819 machine-to-machine routers on traffic poles, using a 3G connection to securely and reliably transmit vehicle photographs.

2. Checking on oil in the Amazon

How are Cisco routers related to oil pipeline monitoring in the Amazon?Oil pipelines must be carefully monitored to ensure a good oil flow. Control centers check the speed, viscosity, and other measurements – problems on these pipelines must be immediately identified, managed, and resolved. One such pipeline in South America runs through dense, tropical jungles, but the oil company still has to take measurements every kilometer regardless of how difficult the terrain may be. The obvious answer is telemetry (remote monitoring), but the tricky part is how to provide high availability in such challenging conditions. We are meeting the challenge with Cisco 881G routers inside a NEMA box that literally have been hung from trees in the jungle, with a protective casing to keep out not just the elements, but also curious monkeys! Now we are testing the Cisco 819 to be used without a NEMA box, given its own ruggedization.

3. Supporting “solar banking” in rural India

Can Cisco routers play a role in solar banking in India? India continues to expand the reach of community services to its population, but infrastructure – roads, electricity, phone – can be a challenge, with more than half the adult population of India lacking access to formal banking. Some innovative banks are now deploying automated teller machines (ATMs) powered by solar panels. We are currently in the process of testing the ability to safely and reliably run Cisco routers solely by the power of the sun, which has looks good from initial validation within Cisco. We are confident this approach will be successful in promoting Green initiatives. It feels good to have a part in bringing banking services to rural villages in India that may not have a stable power grid.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your interest in Cisco. Please comment below if you have ever seen Cisco routers in deployments that are unusual, weird, or just plain fun!

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  1. I’m not a techie, but I am always interested in learning about innovative ways to make our busy world more efficient, especially in places like the Amazon and rural India. These ideas sound really exciting, and I’m impressed that Cisco demonstrates imagination and ingenuity as part of its corporate skill set as well as a sense of helping the world. I’m especially interested in your installation in the Amazon. What other uses for “telemetry monitoring” are in (as they say) the “pipeline”?

  2. Hi. The article is pretty interesting. Didnt realize the vast fields in which these routers can be made useful. Can you please throw a little mote light on the last topic of discussion ir solar banking in India. I would like to be associated with this new innovation. I am from India and would like to contribute to the prosperity of the indian villages by these amazing new technologies. Reply sincerely awaited.

    • Hi Pratul, thanks for your interest! The Cisco 819 is a low voltage, small form factor, ruggedized router so it’s a great candidate for this kind of environment. I will contact you directly to see what is the specific area where you’d like to learn more.