Stillwater Public Safety

Instead of driving 15-20 minutes, I can check the network status wherever I am. I’ve never had to contact Peplink support because we’ve never had a problem. The BR1 offers substantial value over the competition.

Aaron Kelly, Public Safety, City of Stillwater

A Rugged Solution that Can Take the Heat

When you’re working in weather with average summer highs of 95℉ – and the occasional spike into the hundreds — how do you keep mission-critical electronic devices from overheating? This is exactly the challenge Oklahoma’s Stillwater Police Department faced when outfitting 50 patrol vehicles with cellular-powered fleet networking.

Initially, consumer-grade solutions were used for the mobile connectivity deployment. These worked fine for a few months. But then the punishing Oklahoma heat began picking them off one at a time.

A crippled communication system puts lives at risk. So Stillwater Police decided it was absolutely crucial to replace the gear at the heart their fleet communications solution with reliable professional-grade equipment. It was time to call Peplink.

Success Factors

To fit the needs of the Stillwater Police Department, a solution needed to meet the following requirements:

  • Rugged
    Hardware must withstand the heat and elements of Oklahoma.
  • Multiple Connections
    Communications must be maintained by seamlessly switching between cellular WAN, wireless, and wired LAN.
  • Ease of Management
    All units must be monitored and managed remotely from a central location.
  • Low Power Consumption
    Units must have multiple power options and run on vehicle batteries.

Proof of Concept

After putting the Pepwave MAX BR1 through its paces, officials at Stillwater Police loved the unit and decided it would not only uniquely satisfy their requirements but also remain fully functional where no others could. With a rated operating temperature of between -40℉ and 149℉, the MAX BR1 was more than enough to handle Oklahoma weather.

The BR1 offered Stillwater Police the crucial ability to monitor connection health and signal strength. It was also versatile enough to allow them to lock down their wireless access and manage different SSIDs, fully meeting Federal security requirements. Because the BR1 supports fast roaming on Wi-Fi, they also plan to integrate it with their mesh network around the city, effectively creating a failover solution between cellular and Wi-Fi.

Simple Solution, Huge Benefits

With a 4G LTE SIM in place, there’s enough cellular bandwidth to serve their purposes. But the BR1 is also capable of using a Wi-Fi connection in WAN mode, so it’s also been configured to connect to the internal city Wi-Fi network. Using this connection as an additional layer of resilience is already under consideration for the next rollout phase.

This simple setup is distributed across Stillwater’s 50 patrol vehicles. Custom mounts were put in place to adapt to each vehicle’s layout. The MAX BR1 has its own independent power supply and is wired to a convenient power button on the center console. Thanks to the MAX BR1’s relatively low power demands, it will work using the vehicle’s battery alone, without having to engage the ignition.

Stillwater Police manage virtually every aspect of the fleet network via the cloud, using Peplink’s InControl2 and the Router Utility app. From firmware rollouts to individual device status to usage reports, everything can be accessed remotely.