Considerations for selecting in-vehicle network solutions

In our increasingly mobile-first world, wireless access is also viewed as a vital component of everyday life. In fact, according to a 2016 wireless study by Deloitte, four out of five Americans consider wireless service indispensable. (Source: Deloitte). With the explosive growth of Cloud Applications, it has changed the way companies do business.  The Cloud can leverage real-time management and 3rd party applications pushing the need for In-Vehicle Networks. It’s no surprise that businesses and transportation providers are looking for smarter and more cost-effective ways to deliver secure wireless accesses to their customers, partners, and employees. In-vehicle or fleet vehicle Wi-Fi services can be used for several different applications, such as courtesy Wi-Fi services, processing credit card payments remotely, accessing databases securely from the road, powering in-vehicle command centers for safety and policing operations or to actively monitor vehicle locations via GPS.

Organizations relying on in-vehicle networks have special considerations when shopping providers and evaluating network solutions. These mobile networks need to be ruggedized and extremely reliable, even in remote areas and in challenging conditions. Powering the equipment is also a consideration, and it should be thoughtfully considered. When deploying mobile connectivity solutions, the organization should also consider these factors:  

  • Consider cloud options to fit the mobile-network model – For fleet vehicles, transit services, emergency response or mobile businesses; it’s imperative that wireless routers do not need to be physically linked to a corporate network or headquarters to receive updates, configuration, maintenance or troubleshooting.  Those vehicles need to be on the move to be working efficiently. A software-defined cloud-managed routing platform eliminates this burden because software/firmware updates and maintenance of wireless devices can be done remotely, and much more efficiently. Cloud security software and remote cloud management also help IT managers to customize content rules and traffic settings, blocking specific sites or traffic to keep the network secure.  Not only that, transit teams should ask providers if using a non-cellular WAN connection is an option as well. This is particularly important when video capture or surveillance is used in or around the vehicles because users can send large files quickly and securely to minimize vehicle downtime.
  • Look for multi-carrier network solutions to provide reliable broadband everywhere-  When wireless service is offered on a high-speed train or on a fleet vehicle that travels across vast distances, it’s extremely important that the wireless router can support carrier aggregation with LTE and SIM-based auto-carrier selection. Not only that, but the mobile router should also support carrier switching so that vehicles can stay connected during their route. When working with broadband providers, it’s also critical that they offer reliable coverage and multiple carriers options to ensure that regardless of where vehicles are traveling, they will be connected. The right combination of a wireless router that supports carrier aggregation and carrier switching, with multi-carrier 4G LTE broadband coverage will deliver the most secure and reliable network connectivity. Ultimately, this will help users keep mission-critical vehicles and solutions connected and moving.
  • Ensuring network reliability and security- Keeping data secure and accessible on the go can be a challenge for first responders, police officers or professional drivers. Traditionally a Virtual Private Network (VPNs) is used in these situations to give employees access to important data and applications that are housed at the corporate office, headquarters or data center, where ever they are working from.  However, a VPN can sometimes have a slow connection because it must reconnect every time the LTE signal temporarily drops. For that reason, teams should consider deploying a software-defined virtual overlay network instead of a VPN. This can function as a mobile LAN, and it will keep information and applications secure and users connected even when an LTE signal is temporarily interrupted during transit.

If your organization needs in-vehicle or mobile wireless connectivity that provides instant, reliable networks that can be managed and secured remotely, talk to us. Broad Sky Networks and advanced mobile router options from Cradlepoint can help. Email us or give us a call at (877) 291-9575.