ABB Wireless

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Philadelphia to Save $9M over 5-Years with City-Owned Wireless Broadband

The City of Philadelphia announced its plan to purchase the Tropos-based wireless broadband mesh network initially installed by EarthLink, but never completed. The City’s plans are to use the network primarily to improve municipal and public safety services and reduce operational costs; some public hot zones will also be available. “With the build out of the network, the City of Philadelphia will be a national model for how to operate and economically leverage a broadband network for the benefits of its citizens.” (quote is from the City’s press release on December 16, 2009)

Funding for the purchase of the network is a combination of $1.5M from homeland security grants and $500K from the City’s public safety funds. The City expects to save an impressive $9M in operating expenses over a 5-year period.

In the past year, Tropos also worked with the City of Corpus Christi as they purchased a Tropos-based mesh network back from EarthLink. Similar to Philly, Corpus Christi is using the network to improve municipal operational efficiencies and to deliver multiple high-value applications across the entire community. Just this week, Tropos presented the Mayor of Corpus Christi with an award citing their leadership and vision in adopting use of broadband for municipal services. Check out the press release to read about more of the details.

Both Philadelphia and Corpus Christi are great examples of how citywide wireless broadband can improve a wide range of public services while providing taxpayers and the City with substantial cost savings.Check out the Philadelphia Inquirer for more about Philadelphia’s announcement.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Corpus Christi Receives Award for its Use of Wireless Broadband to Improve Municipal Services

This week Tropos honored Corpus Christi City government leaders citing their vision in implementing a wireless technology for community-wide benefit. Tropos president and CEO, Tom Ayers presented Mayor Joe Adame with the award. Recently, Corpus Christi was selected by the National League of Cities as the top digital city in the nation among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

John Sendejar, External Relations Manager for the City’s Municipal Information Systems Department noted that "Corpus Christi is very proud to have one of the most digitally progressive communities around the nation. We’re experiencing 100 percent success with our smart meters system reads and are grateful to have a network like Tropos in place as we start to realize the benefits it has for other government applications."

In 2005, Corpus Christi became on of the first cities to deploy a wireless broadband network. The first municipal application was for Automated Meter Reading (AMR) for water and gas meters; the City had sought to use AMR to save money and improve meter reading and billing accuracy. Today, 120,000 residential meters are read twice a day over the Tropos network. Since then, City leaders realized that they had a valuable asset in additional bandwidth that could be utilized by many city operations. By moving mobile city workers (police, building inspectors, code enforcement officers, fire inspectors, animal control officers and others) from a cellular network to Tropos, they have benefited from substantial cost savings plus much higher bandwidth enabling new applications such as Geographical Information systems (GIS), which performed too poorly to be of value over the cellular network. The City is also offering 25 free Wi-Fi hot zones around town as a way to provide an additional service for the community.

Tropos is pleased to be a part of continuing to work with City leaders in Corpus Christi to build a greener, safer, smarter community that enhances the quality of life. Read more about this award.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropos Customer, City of Rock Hill, SC Selected to Showcase Citywide Network at Congress of Cities Expo

The National League of Cities’ has selected the City of Rock Hill, South Carolina to display its customer-driven citywide Wi-Fi system, based on Tropos, at the Congress of Cities Exposition, November 10-14, in San Antonio, TX. Rock Hill was one of a select group of U.S. cities chosen by the National League of Cities to share experiences with innovative and unique programs or services.

In 2006, Rock Hill installed a Tropos wireless broadband network citywide as a foundation for deploying a wide range of municipal services. The City was one of the first in the world to implement a citywide Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and fixed leak detection system. Not only has this real time meter data resulted in operational savings through greater efficiencies in manpower, it has enabled the City to offer enhanced customer services such as real time access to accounts and rate of use.

According to Rock Hill City Manager Carey Smith, the City incorporated the creation of a citywide Wi-Fi network as part of its strategic plan several years ago. “We knew that a Wi-Fi system had many practical uses in terms of maximizing manpower by utilizing the latest technology. The system is now used by all City Departments and facilities and has resulted in resource conservation, greater internal efficiencies and improved customer service capabilities,” said Smith.

While meter reading was the first key application to utilize the Tropos Network, the city experiences daily cost savings for a wide range of additional applications from law enforcement to public safety to public works. For example, the Police Department estimates that officers are out in the field two hours more per day because of the increased efficiencies in daily operations through use of the Wi-Fi network; the Fire Department can access information on the presence of hazardous materials en route to an emergency call.

James “Jimmy” G. Bagley, Jr., Public Services Administrator/CIO for the City of Rock Hill was instrumental in planning and implementation of the citywide Wi-Fi network. “We wanted to build a foundation for the City’s future rather than just an AMR (Automated Meter Reading) system,” said Bagley. “With our high-speed Wi-Fi infrastructure, we now have the capacity to continue delivering many different City services – all on the same low cost, reliable network.”

Friday, November 6, 2009

Broadband Collaboration -- Key to Expediting Smart Grid Rollouts?

For quicker and smarter implementation of smart grid broadband communications, we believe that a prudent approach is for public utilities, Co-Ops, municipalities and vendors to collaborate and share broadband communications in order to advance important grid initiatives. As Craig Settles, an analyst and president of consulting firm states in his blog about broadband stimulus recipients, “The end goal for Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) applicants would be to strengthen the business case or the technology strategy of the broadband proposal. For the smart grid grant winners, this collaboration can lead to a better overall infrastructure that moves their data more efficiently.”

As Settles aptly points out, “Urban areas definitely need to jump on this opportunity with both feet. Public utilities in Philadelphia and Baltimore are just two major cities that won big grants, and these are areas that have little or no chance at getting an infrastructure grant. But if big cities have broadband adoption and/or public computer center proposals in the queue as Philly does, they possibly can work out a way to tap into aspects of the smart grids wireless network or backhaul. Because the network infrastructure would already be paid for, NOFA applicants can make a stronger case for financial sustainability of the project.”

Moreover, Sarah Reedy reporting from Telephony Online points out that “Two-way communication is critical to essentially all the advanced features of the smart grid, over which consumption data is backhauled. A community can either lend its fiber network to the utility for this backhaul or rely on the utility’s fiber network, if they choose to build their own, for their purposes.”

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, several Tropos Networks customers such as the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, have taken the lead to not only bring intelligence to their local utility communication networks, but to also leverage their investment to include broadband access for the community.

Municipalities, public utilities, and vendors all working together are today helping to make communities greener, safer, and smarter. Let’s continue that trend.


Tropos Customer Corpus Christi Named Top Digital City

In its annual survey, the Center for Digital Government ranked Corpus Christi, Texas as the number one digital city in the nation among cities with a population of over 250,000. Automated gas and water meter reading are two of the key municipal services utilizing the city-owned Tropos wireless broadband network. "We're getting about 99.9 percent accuracy on the readings and it's helped us quite a bit," stated Corpus Christi CIO, Michael Armstrong (pictured right). The automated metering system reads approximately 115,000 water and gas meters twice daily and enables generation of online billing statements.

The City also leverages the Tropos network for a range of other municipal services to improve municipal services delivered to the community. This includes:

  • Public Safety and Utility vehicles are tracked using the network to identify the closest vehicle to respond to incidents at a fraction of the cost of previous systems.
  • First responders and ER doctors have quick access to HIPAA releases for victims, enabling quicker treatment beyond simple field triage.
  • Building inspections became more efficient by reducing the lag time between helping cut overall construction time throughout the city by reducing delays between inspections and approvals.
  • Over 40 city facilities, such as police substations, fire stations, senior centers, and parks and recreation facilities have been outfitted with Tropos routers so they can serve as safe, reliable Wi-Fi hotspots for municipal workers who do not have mobile wireless network connectivity, enabling them to use conventional laptops to connect to city IT resources when out in the field.
"No city in the entire United States uses and manages technology better than we do, here in Corpus Christi, and we can be proud that we are the very best," Armstrong concluded.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check Out Our New GridCom Website

Tropos’ new website welcomes customers and partners seeking to learn about building Smart Networks for Smart Grids using Tropos’ GridCom wireless broadband network solutions. The new Web site contains valuable information on GridCom’s field-proven technology and Tropos’ commitment to support, including:
  • Consultant’s Corner contains information to help decision makers learn about the roles, requirements, and technologies for the different layers of communications that comprise a Smart Grid infrastructure.
  • Partners section lists solution partners, such as ABB and Itron, who have demonstrated interoperability with GridCom, simplifying deployment and support for customers.
  • News section provides the latest information on Tropos and GridCom products, customers, and partners.
  • Upcoming Events lists conferences and tradeshows in which Tropos will be participating. Look for Tropos' presentation at the SmartGrid Roadshow in early November.
Please send questions and comments to

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wireless Broadband for Communitywide Benefit in Ponca City

With a goal of being "one of the most mobile communities in America" Mayor Homer Nicholson of Ponca City, OK has presided over implementation of an extensive mesh network. Working with Honeywell and Tropos, nearly 500 nodes and gateways supply broadband coverage to nearly 30 square miles of the city, providing access to nearly every city department from police to parks and recreation. The mesh network offers the city a reliable and redundant network foundation through its "self-healing" capabilities where the network automatically routes wireless signals to avoid any single point of failure and assure uninterrupted service.

The city was also able to leverage the network to extend their Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone coverage, giving IP phone connectivity to city workers where cell coverage is poor. As an added benefit, residents and businesses in the coverage area will have access to free high-speed Internet access.

The Oklahoma Municipal League recently awarded Ponca City a 2009 Municipal Innovations Award in recognition for “Building a Multi-Use Wireless Broadband Network for Communitywide Benefit.”

You can see more details about Ponca City's network in the PDF: Honeywell Uses Tropos to Help Ponca City Build a Mobile Community That’s Reliable, Safer and More Productive.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Smart Grid Benefits from Stimulus Funding

After years of much promise, it looks like developments relating to the Smart Grid in the United States will be getting a big boost from federal stimulus funding, according to recent article in the Wall Street Journal. These grants will help the utilities make the move to a digital infrastructure that can enable advances not unlike those experienced with the spread of the Internet. Implementation of smart meters, broadband communications, mesh networks and other technologies will "allow utilities to monitor usage almost in real time, letting them charge variable prices based on demand, for example. Corporate and residential customers would acquire tools to manage their energy use. Residential customers could be given an in-home meter to see how much power they are using and what it is costing them," according to the article. This can result in lower electric bills, improved demand response, less need for added generation capabilities and, ultimately, reductions in pollution and greenhouse gasses.

A number of utilities and other vendors are actively addressing the opportunities presented by these Smart Grid developments. As long as these initiatives move forward with open standards that encourage the type of innovation seen with the Internet, we anticipate a robust industry with a wide range products and technologies which can be tailored to many needs that will have much to offer utilities, vendors and consumers alike.

Friday, September 25, 2009

GridWeek Update: ABB and Tropos Networks demo distribution automation over wireless broadband mesh network

Successful interoperability testing provides value to utilities seeking smart grid solutions.

ABB and Tropos Networks announced successful completion of interoperability testing for our products used to create smart grid solutions for utilities. This testing demonstrates the importance in adoption of industry standards and collaboration between vendors to help utilities build highly reliable, self-healing smart power grids.

Deployed together, these solutions will provide utilities with a highly reliable, intelligent distribution automation solution, and much more. ABB’s Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) -- reclosers, switches and capacitor controllers, remotely located on utility poles, collect critical information such as voltage fluctuations. GridCom connects to ABB IEDs and information is communicated over the GridCom network, back to a local substation where ABB’s COM600 gathers and intelligently analyzes the data.

The interoperability testing validates the interoperability and performance of ABB and Tropos GridCom. Smart grid distribution automation applications require a reliable, secure, multi-megabit, and low latency IP communications network which GridCom delivers.

For more details, see the news announcement.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Discussing Secure Smart Grid WAN Network Communications During GridWeek 2009

Tropos Networks CEO and other Tropos execs will be onsite during GridWeek 2009 in Washington D.C. to discuss GridCom® IP broadband network architecture that delivers a resilient, scalable, high performance, and secure foundation for aggregating wide area smart grid communications. Join us at the conference to find out how our technology is benefitting a number of utilities as the WAN aggregation network consolidating communications for multiple applications and systems such as meter reading, substation security, and power outage management.  We have relationships with several, industry–leading smart metering and systems vendors including, Itron, Echelon and Elster.

We're a Silver Sponsor of GridWeek 2009, taking place in Washington, D.C. September 21-24, 2009.

White papers about our GridCom advanced communication technology and its security attributes will be available in the press room at the conference, as well as online.

For more information about GridWeek 2009, check out:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Google WiFi Transfers More Data than Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Networks Combined!

Two weeks ago, the City of Mountain View, Google, and Tropos Networks together celebrated the third anniversary of Google WiFi, which continues to be the most successful wireless broadband network -- in the world. You can read more about the evolution and advances the network has made in the official Tropos press release.

There are several additional metrics we documented in our verification of the Google network’s performance which I wanted to share as we are seeing some of these trends emerging in other areas around the country:

- In Mountain View, the data transferred on Google's unlicensed 802.11 network (600 gigabytes/day) exceeds data transferred over Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint's licensed networks combined.

- 25% of all devices that connect to the Google 802.11 network are handheld “smartphones” (such as the iPhone) and are a key driver towards increased demand for bandwidth. Its not just about voice calls anymore – a typical smartphone user utilizes 30 times the amount of data as a non-smartphone user.

- The proliferation and wide adoption of 802.11 has already set the standard for consumer wireless performance expectations. 3G and 4G performance will be compared against the benchmark set by 802.11. There are already some smartphone applications that only work over 802.11 (Pandora, Joost, and Skype) – 3G is simply not an alternative due to its limited speeds.

- Unlike 3G technology, the Google Network does not lose connections when demand peaks – the network technology delivers dynamic scalability to match demand and data flow, providing users with a consistent and predictable experience.

- Users in Mountain View have it easy – they do not have to search for hard-to-find Wi-Fi hot spots or pay $4 for a cup of designer coffee in order to connect to the Internet. The Google WiFi Network is easily available across the community, especially in the heavy traffic areas like the Cal-train station and Castro Street.

The Google WiFi Network has made affordable high-speed Internet easily accessible for the entire community and visitors alike. As the president and CEO of Tropos, I am proud of the contribution that our products and innovations have made in in the success and continued growth of this showcase outdoor broadband network.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tropos Wireless Connection at Near Supersonic Speeds

While most Tropos customers using mobile routers don't travel in vehicles that get anywhere near supersonic speeds (or couldn't even if they wanted to), its truly a testament to the engineering behind Tropos' solutions that even while travelling 500 mph, a wireless connection is maintained. Check out today's press release about the North American Eagle trials underway this week in which a Tropos 4210 mobile router mounted inside a super powered vehicle, synchronizes computer systems on board with a mobile command center. Other than speed, a few other challenges during the field trial include -- high vibration, high temperatures, constantly changing signal strength, and volitile power. Truly harsh conditions and Tropos' realiability and resiliency shines through!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Can Broadband Help Drive Economic Development?

Last week, the City of Venice, Italy launched its Tropos-based wireless broadband network that provides free access to residents and businesses and fee-based access to tourists and visitors. Michele Vianello, vice mayor of Venice, stated "...It should provide a big competitive advantage for business."

So, ...just how will wireless broadband drive business in Venice? I'm sure just the Internet access fees from tourists can't be it...there has to be more to it!

Given tourism is a major industry for Venice, it makes sense that easy access to information about local hotels, restaurants, tours, and events is very important in creating awareness and can drive customers -- hence it will help improve the economy of the City. One can envison tourists as well as residents, iPhone in hand, riding Gondolas or walking the historical streets and being able to easily find products and services businesses have to offer -- right where they are (location-based services). What about a "digital tour guide" that could provide information about historical sites in many different languages based upon where an individual is for a reasonable fee? Wouldn't free broadband access even make Venice a more desirable city in which to live and work?

Its hard to monetize exactly the positive economic impact broadband provides to a community...but I think its there without a question. And that's before even considering the benefits and cost efficiencies in use of the network for municipal applications such as public safety, mobile city workers, and traffic management, as is planned in Venice.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Milestone Reached in FIPS Certification Process!

Tropos fixed and mobile routers as well as network management system have moved into the "Review Pending" stage of FIPS certification. What does this mean? Basically we have completed FIPS 140-2 compliance testing with an outside lab and submitted those reports to NIST for review.

Why is FIPS important? FIPS 140-2 certification is a requirement of some customers for applications where a higher level of security is dictated -- typically federal and military but the requirement is being adopted for other applications as well. To achieve such compliance requires the vendor's software comply to specific security algorithms as well as meet hardware requirements. Its no small feat but will better assure the security of the entire network.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Smart Networks - Key to Building Smart Grids

It was refreshing over the past few days to see and hear the market positive reaction since Trilliant’s announced acquisition of SkyPilot. I think this is a very clear statement from an established AMI vendor as to the smart grid market requirement for a complete communication strategy to augment good metering products. This combination of products and networks is required to build the right type of resilient, secure, standards-based foundation for operating the wide range of smart grid applications and systems.

I’m at the Utility Telecom Council conference today and it has been exciting to hear from both utilities and vendors that get the significant value in Tropos’ GridCom strategy. GridCom interest is continuing to grow and has garnered significant attention from vendors and utilities alike as they start to assess the importance of building a strong foundation for real time, two-way smart grid communications.

As today’s keynote speaker, Rusty Williams, UTC's Chairman of the Board and Manager of Information Systems Planning and Engineering for Southern Company Services told the audience, “Smart networks are a tool for improving the entire power industry, not just metering.”


Friday, May 29, 2009

GridCom - A Wide-Area Aggregation Network for Smart Grids

Tropos has introduced GridCom, an IP-based wide-area aggregation network architecture for enabling smart grid communications. GridCom is based upon field-proven technology and provides the resiliency, scalable, high-performance and secure network architecture that seamlessly extends the utility's existing enterprise network and systems.

Check out this new white paper that provides an overview of the communication requirements for smart grid networks, explores the various technologies applicable at different layers of smart grids – from home to core utility network, and provides highlights on the key attributes and benefits GridCom provides for utilities deploying smart grids.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Building a Smart Grid Communication Network

The essence of the vision of a Smart Grid is a fully automated power delivery network that can ensure a two-way flow of electricity and information between power generation and appliances, and all points in between. Broadband communications is one of the essential building blocks in enabling the Smart Grid. Check out this white paper to learn about the requirements of a Smart Grid communications infrastructure and how Tropos' GridCom™ network architecture, leveraging Tropos’ wireless broadband products and technology, provides the necessary elements for building a Smart Grid WAN Aggregation Network.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Meshing the Smart Grid

Reconstruction of America’s aging electric grid is underway by both city and independently operated utility companies and in fact appears deployments will accelerate given the recently passed Economic Stimulus 2009 initiative. A key building block of the Smart Grid is communications that enable new applications for utilities such as real-time end-to-end remote monitoring, management and control. A single IP-based infrastructure that can securely and economically support smart metering, demand response, outage management, distribution automation and control, as well as mobile utility worker applications (work order management, remote GIS applications, and field asset management), is ideal. Check out this Google Tech Talk, presented by Cyrus Behroozi, Chief Scientist at Tropos Networks, to learn more about the Smart Grid and its benefits, and how utilities are increasingly deploying a wireless broadband mesh network as the communication backbone for building the Smart Grid.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hey, it works after all

I've noticed that tech journalism follows its own kind of "Crossing the Chasm" curve. First, there's the hype, which precedes the actual product launch. Then, the giddy early adopter reviews, which, unless the product truly flops, are written during that initial euphoria over the fact that the technology works at all. Positive first reviews in mainstream media are next, followed by articles in local papers and non-tech publications. Then comes the backlash. It's no longer cool to write about how the technology works -- everybody's heard about it. Writers try to expose flaws, predict the demise of the product or technology, and generally take a negative viewpoint. Finally, much later, and only if the technology actually has some fundamental merits, comes the "hey, it works after all" press.

I think we're finally there with muni Wi-Fi, after four years. The first five steps have happened, and the backlash has dissipated. Relatively factual, neutral reports are starting to appear, such as this one on MuniWireless: "Real world measurements show muni Wi-Fi networks outperform WiMAX and cellular". There's little hype or prejudice, just the message that "hey, it works after all."


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shaping Our National Broadband Strategy

If you are interested in all matters of broadband wireless, then you should check out this recently published report, “Fighting the Next Good Fight – Assessing what our national broadband strategy should be” which is intended as input to Washington on implementing a nationwide broadband network. This report is based upon interviews with individuals actively improving their local economies with broadband initiatives. While much of the Obama administration’s public discussions have limited their focus to public Internet access as the main benefit of a national broadband infrastructure, clearly there are far greater benefits to be realized from building a community infrastructure -- economic, mobile workforce, healthcare, education, which should be taken into consideration as a national broadband strategy is formulated.

A few recommendation highlights from this report:
- Building a single nationwide network is not practical
- High-speed broadband access alone won’t help the economy recover
- Washington needs to provide policies, programs and legislation that support local governments as masters of their respective broadband future
- Accountability and transparency are critical
- The value of hiring people to build broadband infrastructure fades compared to the true, long-term economic benefits it can provide to a community

The author of this article is industry consultant and a much respected industry expert on municipal broadband networks, Craig Settles.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

WiFi Selected as Top Technology Innovation in Past Decade

2009 and the “top 10” ranking lists have started! As we begin a new year, its fairly common to see the “top 10” lists for just about everything -- ranging from the top movies and businesses to best resorts and vacationing spots – you name the category and someone will likely have a ranking for it. Here’s one that caught my attention -- Stuff, a UK-based magazine, surveyed its readers and lists the top ten best technological innovations of the last decade. Note that Wi-Fi takes the top spot as the most loved technology – an innovation that most certainly has had global impact from business to tourism to consumers (consumers of course includes the vast majority of teenagers today that use the wireless Internet to download music to their iPod -- see iPods at #5!).

Here’s the top 10 list of technology innovations as published by Stuff:

1. Wireless Internet – 35.5 percent
2. Sky+ - 16.9 percent
3. Sat Nav – 16.6 percent
4. Hybrid Cars – 8.9 percent
5. iPod – 5.6 percent
6. Chip and Pin – 5.6 percent
7. Nintendo Wii – 3.9 percent
8. Skype – 1.7 percent
9. Oyster Card – 1.5 percent
10. Blackberry – 1.1 percent

To read more, check out this article in