Emergency Services Command & Control Vehicle Connectivity


An Emergency service has a fleet of command and control vehicles that are deployed for major incidents.
The command and control vehicle acts as a central communications hub (Radio / VoIP / Video) for the local staff and enables cross service communication via a secure VPN to the services Datacenter.


The intelligent use of multiple cellular and satellite internet connections depending on the vehicle’s location (and cellular availability). With the cellular WAN connections being prioritised over the more expensive satellite link. This is to reduce the use of the satellite internet connectivity where bandwidth costs are high in comparison to cellular.
WiFi network coverage for multiple LAN side devices.
Secure VPN connectivity back to the emergency service datacenter using whatever WAN connectivity is available, with the option to bond multiple cellular links to increase the total available bandwidth.
The solution must allow for High Definition video transmission back from the vehicle to headquarters to allow commanding officers to evaluate the situation at the incident.
Support for reliable Radio Over IP (RoIP) and VoIP connectivity between the vehicle and the core Radio Access Network (RAN) / VoIp Server.
Enough bandwidth to allow for rapid transmission of large files such as building plans, maps, and digital images.
Support for dedicated public services private LTE radio network, with future expansion possible to use point to point microwave links.

Recommended Solution:

To allow for as much versatility as possible (including the use of restricted specialist cellular radio modems) a balance 580 is installed in the command vehicle as the core network router.
Cellular Modems (such as the BR1) are connected to the WAN ports of the 580 along with the VSAT internet connection.
WAN priority is set to achieve lowest cost routing based on WAN availability (Satellite is only used if there is no cellular coverage).
The Balance 580 has directly connected PC’s and servers on is LAN that support core activities (such as Radio Over IP dispatcher equipment) as well as an AP300 access point for smart device connectivity.
The Balance 580 acts as an AP controller for the deployed APs, providing centralised management and configuration of the deployed wifi network.
User Group bandwidth management and application QoS is used to guarantee and reserve bandwidth for core business requirements.
The remote Balance 580 creates a secure encrypted VPN connection to the balance 1350 in the datacenter using SpeedFusion.
SpeedFusion VPN supports bandwidth aggregation, packet level failover and WAN smoothing to provide the highest possible bandwidth, with the most reliable connectivity possible over the connected WAN links.

Additional Notes:

There is a spare WAN port available on the Balance 580 in this design to allow for the deployment of point to point microwave links if desired.
Additional AP300 Access Points can be added to the network to extend its coverage, as well as externally mountable AP One Flex access points that have software selectable directional or omni directional antennas - allowing for extended wifi coverage outside of the vehicle .
The BR1s used on the WAN of the B580 can also connect to any available WiFi Hotspot in the vicinity when available as an alternative to cellular.
The Balance 1350 can support upto 800 remote vehicles (dependent on concurrent bandwidth requirements).

Devices Deployed: Balance 580, Balance 1350, BR1 LTE, AP300.


Why MAX-HD4 didn’t use in the vehicle?

To allow for the use of specialist restricted public safety data radios. These present on ethernet, so a balance 580 was used so that up to four of them could be combined (along with the VSAT connection).

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I just stumbled onto these forums and this is very similar to my deployment.

Our mobile command vehicle which we call Goliath has a Balance 710 as the primary router. The WAN connections are as follows:
ge0/0 DHCP Terrestrial Ethernet
ge0/1 DHCP 2000 foot Tactical Fiber
ge0/2 VSAT Terminal (1.2M C-COM)
ge0/3 HD2 IP67 (unit A) connected to ge0/0 supplying Verizon
ge0/4 HD2 IP67 (unit A) connected to ge0/1 Sprint
ge0/5 HD2 IP67 (unit B) connected to ge0/0 AT&T FirstNet
ge0/6 HD2 IP67 (unit B) connected to ge0/1 T-Mobile

Each HD2 IP67 is running a cellular modem to a dedicated VLAN. We are not using the internal SpeedFusion of the HD2 rather allowing the Balance 710 to handle all routing functionality. You are probably wondering why we didn’t use the The Max HD4 or the newer Max HD4 MBX. The answer is a little more complicated than you might think. The first is we needed the bandwidth and we needed additional WAN connections not available, I needed a minimum of three Ethernet WAN connections which is not possible on the HD4. Additionally, we had a cable chaseway issue. Goliath is a very large Mobile Command/Communications Platform and even then space is a premium. The biggest issue we had was pass through from our equipment rack to the cable chaseway on the roof, there frankly was not enough space to pass two coaxial connectors for every carrier through the penetration and adding another penetration was not possible. Antennas could not be placed inside vehicle as the body is a pretty effective faraday cage.

Thus the reason to go this route. In addition, our setup has been determined to be very robust compared to the HD4, where we have had massive bandwidth pushing through the Balance 710 the HD4 was not able to keep up with the needs.

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@EM724 raises good points.

The antenna cable management rapidly becomes a nightmare in these kinds of deployments. What we see now is the HD Domes being used on the roof with POE ethernet runs down to a SDX in the rack that can power the domes on its 8 WAN ports - and this is likely the highest possible performing approach using todays products.

Peter West does these kinds of installs stateside in medical imaging trucks and is the originator of that as an installation approach I think.

The HD4 MBX supports more VPN throughput now than the current B710 and is 5G upgradable so it is still a great option so long as you can manage the 16 coax cables its needs for the CAT18 model (17 with GPS, 19 coax runs if you want to use WIFI externally).


Yes the MBX is a great product, we have four of them. Unfortunately, it would not work in our deployment on this vehicle without great added costs. I’ve been very interested in the HD Domes, I would like to see more “modem” type devices that are in the Peplink architecture.

I still have the issue where I needed the 3 Ethernet WANs (I believe the MBX may have a software purchase option for an additional WAN). I am also running the 3 LAN Aggregated which the MBX does not support. It would be nice with the increasing speeds in these devices if some faster ports were available. Feeding the SD Switch with 3 Ethernet LAN instead of being able to feed on the SFP+ port.

Hello Eric (@EM724),
I’m with @MartinLangmaid on using the SDX models? These have two SFP+ ports (can be programmed as WAN or LAN) and you can use the FlexModule giving you the choice in upgradeable options, depending on if you go with the SDX or SDX Pro you can have one or two FlexModule slots.
Here are some previous forum posts and links on these SDX options.

Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:

You are absolutely correct and in a few years when we are ready to consider a major hardware upgrade we would consider that equipment. However, the SDX just very recently became an available option and the MBX not too long before the SDX. We have a very unique setup going due to limited cable pathways and the fact we are operating in a Mobile Environment. We have been operating the B710 in the above configuration for more than three years. However, even the MBX would not handle the WAN connectivity we require. Likely an SDX will be the way if something else that is better is not released by then.

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