When incorporating a wireless mobile router into your fleet, you want the best of the best that keeps everyone connected. Having a mobile router lets people operate inside their vehicle at a wide range of locations.
Wireless routers are used among many vehicles and fleets including public transportation, trains, fire trucks, police vehicles, ambulances, and mobile command centers. Public safety and first responders rely on reliable networks to keep people connected while on the road.
Before we share the top 5 wireless routers for mobile vehicles and fleets, we’ll discuss some features you might want your router to have and what to look for before you buy.
What to Look for In a Wireless Mobile Router
Wireless routers are a costly expense, make sure you’re getting everything you need. Here are some of the top features you should be looking for when shopping.
Public safety works in challenging environments through high and low temperatures, rain, snow, and rugged terrain. Although routers are installed inside vehicles, you need to make sure the equipment is designed to withstand any environment.
Look for routers with certified MIL-STD 180G ratings. This rating is done by military testing to see how well it stands up against conditions it will experience in its life.
You’ll also want to see how well the IP rating is which tells you how resistant it is to water and dust.
Just like two-way radios and other devices, GPS is enabled to help locate personnel in the event of an emergency. Routers with built-in GPS show where your vehicle’s location is in real-time.
3. Cloud Management Software
Routers are equipped with management software that lets you maintain and configure your devices as well as diagnose issues and update software. Popular management software is ones found in Sierra Wireless called AirLink Management Service (ALMS) or Cradlepoint NetCloud.
Keep in mind, each router manufacture varies on what each cloud-based solution includes and how it works but it’s still a great feature to have to keep control of your network and fleet.
With the roll-out of FirstNet, if you’re organization is thinking of transitioning to this network, make sure you get a router that is FirstNet-Ready.
5. Upload and Download Speed
Every router has an upload and download bandwidth or uplink and downlink which references the speed of your device and how fast data is received. Uplink represents the speed of your upload while downlink represents the speed of your download.
Downlink speed will most likely be higher than the speed of your uplink. This is because, traditionally, we download more than we upload while were using the internet.
Best In-Vehicle Wireless Routers for Public Safety
Below are the top 5 in-vehicle routers we’ve seen in 2021 so far. The products on this list are not sponsored or ranked in any way but rather are opinions by trusted reviews and industry research.
Sierra Wireless Airlink MG90 5G
Sierra wireless routers are dependent upon more than 25% of the top 50 agency vehicles and 75% of EMS systems. With the introduction of 5G Networks, this Airlink MG90 delivers real-time data for any application.
The download speed and upload for the MG90 are pretty fast so speed on multiple devices wouldn’t be an issue.
This router is durable with an IP-64 rating against dust and water, with a MIL-STD 810G certification for durability in any environment.
Downlink: 4.14 Gbps
Uplink: 660 Mbps
AirLink Mobility Manager (AMM) to deliver network management for real-time and remote configurations, control, and administer troubleshooting when needed.
The Billion M600-PT router is specifically designed for challenging environments that public safety encounters every day. This router can withstand heat, humidity, and shock vibration resistance. Unlike the other routers this is a 4G/LTE broadband with a 3G fallback, so no 5G application. 4G is still a good network and maybe in the future this router will transition to 5G.
A downside to this router is it's not FirstNet compatible so if your team is thinking of transitioning to the network, this router might not be for you.
Bandwidth: 2400 Mbps
The management software is a web-based platform for remote and local management which allows you to upgrade firmware, and schedule reboots.
Digi IX20 4G LTE Router
This router is built with secure encryption, something important to public safety and law enforcement. It is also secure with IP filtering, firewalls, and VPN. This router is a compact and perfect size for in-vehicle applications. The IX20 is FirstNet Ready, so if you have or are transitioning to the network, this is a choice.
Digi Remote Manager is an industry-leading cloud edge tool that lets you manage all your devices and do mass firmware software updates. This manager lets you receive real-time alerts and reports on how your network is doing and the condition of all your devices.
Bandwidth: 10/100 Mbps
The Cradlepoint IBR 1700 router with 1200 Mbps or 600 Mbps modems is a 5G FirstNet ready router. With GPS equipped, you can locate your team and vehicle with a precise location.
The IBR 1700 is a secure network with firewalls to keep you protected while online.
Lastly, Cradlepoint routers can be transitioned from in-vehicle to out-of-vehicle support with additional accessories.
Downlink: 600 Mbps or 1200 Mbps
Uplink: 75 Mbps
NETCLOUD Mobile Essentials is a cloud subscription-based platform available with your Cradlepoint router. The plans include 1, 3, and 5 years of service. This service is software that enabled your transition to a Wireless WAN for management and security.
Sierra Wireless Airlink MP70 LTE-A Pro Wi-Fi Router
The Airlink MP70 is another viable option for a vehicle router from Sierra Wireless. The MP70 router is enabled with live video, streaming, and secure access to remote databases. It also lets you connect to laptops and tablets.
This router is FirstNet Ready and like the other is UP-64 rated and MIL-STD 810G certified.
Downlink: 600 Mbps
Uplink: 150 Mbps
Airlink Complete. This service is subscription-based which provides Airlink Management Service (ALMS), technical support, and an extended warranty option. This does come free included for 1 year when you purchase the device.
The routers included on this list are all viable options if your team is looking for a secure in-vehicle router. Routers let people work from their vehicles with software for fleet management. Network speeds If you’re looking for fast 5G networks and FirstNet Ready, Sierra Wireless and Cradlepoint are options.
First Source Wireless is a registered dealer of the largest names in critical communication include 3M Peltor, Pulse Larsen, Cradlepoint, Waveband, and more. See how our products can help you improve your team communications. Shop now or call our experienced sales team at 800-991-4569, our live chat, or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Taylor Thomas is a Marketing Manager at First Source Wireless. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety professionals enhance their communication through the help of two-way radios and headsets.