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The objective of this project is the development of a mobile broadband communication gateway for public safety organizations which connects Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs) with different broadband Wide Area Networks (WANs), such as satellite, cellular or terrestrial networks. Therefore, its core feature is the connection of MANETs to different type of WANs. To implement an efficient and reliable connection the gateway needs to perform an integrated mobility and QoS management as well as security functionality.
The development concerning mobility management focuses on providing continuous connectivity between end user devices at the operation site and their respective remote communication partners, while switching the WAN technology or the network point of attachment of end user devices within the MANET. This way the standard connections and, perhaps even more important, the VPN connections to the control centre will remain always active throughout the duration of a public safety operation. The proposed QoS and security functionality has to be adapted to the deployed mobility management scheme.
The figure below illustrates the usage of the gateway to be developed to provide WAN connectivity, e.g. via satellite, to mobile end user devices connected to a MANET during a public safety operation.
For above scenarios MANETs through satellite access provide an efficient and cost effective alternative to public safety organisations requiring mobile broadband communication in any worldwide operation area. MANETs can be used for establishing an autonomous broadband network at the remote operation site. By using a satellite link (or other available Wide Area Networks) the operation site can be connected to a remote control centre. This solution requires no pre-installed infrastructure (e.g. TETRA base stations) and can be easily and quickly deployed, operated and controlled by the organisations themselves during their operation
As public safety organisations often transmit sensitive data, strong security measures are integrated in the proposed solution, dealing with aspects like data integrity protection and data confidentiality. Furthermore in public safety operations not all applications do have the same priority, e.g. a command and control application may need to have priority against access of office applications. Consequently, mechanisms are implemented, which allow different priority classes to be assigned to different applications when using the communication network. The challenge of the activity is to provide all these security and QoS services in a mobile environment, in which end users move between different network access points, and in which WAN connections type may change due to operational needs.
The project started on June 19, 2013. At the beginning of the project the user requirements due to the communication of the target customers have been identified. For the identification of the user requirements IABG interviewed several public safety organizations. The interviews comprised a wide spectrum of interview partners providing an international and comprehensive view of the public safety sector. Due to the output of these interviews a set of requirements have been generated.
Suitable technologies have then been identified for solving the mobility issues in scope of the project. The trade-off between possible technologies to achieve the required functionalities has been outlined.
The gateway prototype system was broken down into subsystems. The subsystems for the mobility, QoS and security solution to be developed have been specified within the final system architecture. The prototype implementing the specified system architecture has been built for the proof of concept.
Finally, the prototype and thus the system architecture have been evaluated in typical user scenarios by performing field tests in cooperation with public safety organizations. The organizations provided the test environment including their specific user devices and their WAN communication solutions.
The project was successfully concluded on December 17, 2015.