INSIDE THE BOX: New products include take-it-with-you communications

Polycomm's Mobile Responder

In assessing the response to Hurricane Katrina and what the Homeland Security Department needed to do a better job, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff has sounded downright jealous of some organizations' ability to drop in mobile systems and collaborate within hours of a disaster. He shouldn't feel too bad'mobile systems are still evolving, as this week's FOSE tradeshow will make clear.


It used to be that mobility was accomplished with a cell phone, radio or laptop. Now, true mobility means portable videoconferencing (see Tandberg, booth 1021), portable storage area networks (see Xiotech, booth 1517L) and more. Increasingly, companies are finding ways to take even more computing resources on the road.


This week, Cisco Systems and CACI International Inc. will debut what they're calling the Tactical Communication Kit. It's essentially a network in a suitcase, with wireless and satellite connectivity, routing and switching, security and IP telephony. And it exploits Cisco's Internet Protocol Interoperability and Communications System so that the IP phone can call out to land mobile radios for cross-platform communications.


Cisco's federal government solutions manager Chris Shenefiel said the product was used in post-Katrina response. 'CACI did a great job of integrating the technology into a portable, manageable kit,' he said. Pricing starts around $19,000.


Polycom Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., plans to demonstrate its new Mobile Responder, which is a videoconferencing system built into FAA-approved carry-on luggage. It's based on Polycom's VSX 8000 system and includes a built-in display, camera, microphone, IP network interface and AES encryption.


Barry Morris, Polycom's vice president of operations for federal systems, said the Mobile Responder is designed to be water and sand resistant. Its encryption meets Type 1 communications standard, Morris said. Pricing starts at $19,995.


And in the category of something different, Telkonet Inc. of Germantown, Md., has put its iWire powerline network technology into a portable kit. The Rapid Deployment Mobile Network Kit is FIPS 140-2 certified and fits in a suitcase.


Agencies can use it to quickly set up broadband networks wherever electrical wiring is present.


The iWire RDM comes with a Telkonet Gateway, which acts as a switch and converts Ethernet to powerline communications, a Telkonet eXtender, which provides extra network reach, and five Telkonet iBridges, which turn AC outlets into LAN ports. Pricing starts at $6,995.


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