How Can You Make a Smart City a Genius? A Look at Network Requirements for Critical Infrastructure and Services

by Kevin Fitzgibbons

For municipalities around the globe, making cities smarter is no longer a luxury or a long-term goal – it’s a necessity, and it needs to happen now.

There are plenty of applications and devices that can enable better city management, faster and safer mass transit, better equipped first responders and automated machine-to-machine functionality – but simply implementing these devices and applications is not enough. To fully leverage technology, smart cities must consider a wide-area, high-bandwidth private mobile network as much a part of their core infrastructure as roads and bridges and the electrical grid.

A fully optimized mobile network gives a city a number of critical capabilities:

• Quick-deploy ad hoc networks for public safety
• Wi-Fi in subway, trains and stations for passenger use as well as dynamic advertising and other revenue-generating opportunities
• Real-time CCTV for first responders and mass transit
• Intelligent traffic systems
• Energy and water management devices
• Payment and information kiosks
• Connected city infrastructure

However, the functionality of all of these applications is contingent on a network’s ability to communicate in real time. This demands a unified and secure network that connects in-motion and stationary people and assets and ensures reliable and continuous wireless communications between public transportation, command centers, public safety personnel and others.

You might be asking: Does this kind of network even exist? Will it be reliable in the event of an emergency? How secure is it? Is it adaptable to various needs and applications? Is it scalable and flexible?

One communications network that meets and exceeds all of a smart city’s requirements is Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh.

This is a type of wireless network that is truly mobile – a “make, make, make and never break” approach establishes and maintains connections with every radio, or node, it sees to instantaneously route data via the best available traffic path and frequency. Each node serves as singular infrastructure, which enables all devices and the network itself to be mobile – it can move around a city with no loss of connectivity.

The network enables the nodes to manage interference, working in concert with networking software to deliver data via the fastest available path; routes are evaluated on a packet-by-packet basis, with no need for input from the network administrator. The nodes seamlessly integrate with each other as well as cellular data/LTE networks and third-party satellite.

If one path becomes unavailable for any reason – such as power loss – the network routes around it, eliminating any downtime. It is not uncommon for a node to have several hundred peer connections, giving it the ability to use any link at any time. This allows Kinetic Mesh to be scalable; the more nodes in a network, the better the performance.

It’s also highly secure; Kinetic Mesh offers the same type of encryption that wireless clients require for WiFi as well as end-to-end encryption. When encrypted information flows through the mesh and comes out another node, it stays encrypted all the way through, and is not decrypted until it is delivered to its final destination, ensuring privacy.

At each hop in the network, Kinetic Mesh provides a per-hop authentication for each packet, as well as secure authentication of message. This detects whether data has been tampered with while ensuring a packet of information received by a node came from a trusted peer – protecting from a type of cyber-attack called packet injection, when attackers try to “throw” packets into the network to disrupt traffic.

Despite the immense amounts of data now at our fingertips, we’ll never be able to truly predict the future, but using Kinetic Mesh as a communications network for a city means all devices and applications are always connected, increasing overall network redundancy and ensuring continuous functioning of applications such as emergency services, water and electricity, transit and traffic systems – even the event of a natural or manmade disaster.

Does this sound like something your city or municipality could use?

To learn more how Kinetic Mesh is fulfilling the needs of smart cities by ensuring mission-critical applications never fail, join us for a webinar on how to implement a Kinetic Mesh communications systems for mass transportation systems, smart city initiatives and public safety within a city or region. I’ll cover current network infrastructure shortcomings, an analysis of key applications that will make cities smarter and more resilient, and the significant role mobility plays in today’s smart city and transportation environment.

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