Cradlepoint Launches FirstNet Band 14 Support


Boise, Idaho-based Cradlepoint, the global leader in LTE routers, has released the first modem to support the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) Band 14 National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). It is also the first Band 14 solution that when integrated with the All-in-one Edge Routing (AER) system, features full Unified Threat Management (UTM) security. The modem will enable both testing and transition to the Band 14 spectrum for first responders.

Unlike existing Band 14 offerings, which require significant changes to IT architecture, the MC400L2 modem will work with any Cradlepoint router in the network. With the modem, IT departments will be able to deploy Band 14 immediately or later with field upgrades. The routers are secured and managed using Cradlepoint NetCloud, a cloud management platform that offers both Software-Defined Networks (SDN), and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) for FirstNet.

The Band 14 frequency supports all emergency communications services, as well as new public safety applications and devices, like laptops, tablets, body and dash cameras, and evidence collection devices.

“We have purpose-built this modem in response to requests from our public safety clients so that they can beginning planning for, testing and migrating to Band 14,” David Rush Senior Product Manager at Cradlepoint tells CivSource. “Public safety today includes a whole range of cameras, phones and other devices that all need a reliable internet connection every day and especially during crisis events. Cradlepoint has a reputation for providing that capability. It made sense for us to extend our product line to respond to FirstNet requirements.”

Cradlepoint was the first to support category 3 LTE with multi-software defined radios and was the first to support all of the carriers in the United States. The company also offers support for category 6 LTE, which allows for greater bandwidth use. With the Band 14 line of modems, IT departments will be able to do in-field upgrades make existing Cradlepoint routers compatible with the spectrum. The routing platform enables first responders to include routers in cars and cameras and to create network redundancies to increase reliability. Cradlepoint’s COR IBR1100 series router also includes GPS signaling so that IT administrators will be able to monitor the location of the router as it travels with first responders.

“We’ve seen the routers used in sophisticated surveillance cameras for example that can zoom in for up to six blocks and now you’ll be able to plug that camera into a Band 14 modem to let it work over FirstNet,” Rush says.

Still, the product represents a niche offering. FirstNet as a network hasn’t been deployed yet and is still in very early planning phases. Five “Early Builder” projects are currently testing new technologies and network configurations throughout the US. FirstNet officials will draw lessons from the Early Builders as they continue to plan the nationwide network. The five tester sites include the Adams County, Colorado Communications Center (Adcom911); the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS); Harris County, Texas; New Jersey’s JerseyNet and New Mexico Public Safety LTE Network. Each test site has been granted special authority to test first responder solutions.

As of today, Cradlepoint will be able to sell its Band 14 modem into those markets. “There are also a handful of other cities and organizations that have the ability to stand up temporary networks for special events and we are also talking with them about Band 14 support,” Rush adds.

In addition, the company is also partnering with Panasonic to combine Panasonic’s Toughbook devices with a Cradlepoint cloud-managed 4G-LTE router to provide a “vehicle area network” to connect computers, cameras, sensors and telemetry interfaces together with access to commercial and Band 14.