In-Vehicle Network Solutions: An IT Buyers’ Guide [Exclusive Excerpt]

 

This week Westbase Technology launched their brand new IT buyers’ guide, designed to help you pick the right product for your in-vehicle network. Below is an exclusive excerpt – for the full version, download your free copy here.

 

Introduction

Technology for transport has rapidly developed over the past decade, and mobile connectivity has played a large role in this. Fleets now require reliable and super-fast mobile Internet connectivity to keep up with these innovations, and to enable improved productivity, fleet management, and extended services for passengers.

 

The right mobile connectivity solution can enable:

– A high-speed LTE network with WiFi hotspot both inside and outside the vehicle

– Location tracking to provide real-time passenger information, increased fleet security, and traffic management

– Digital signage and infotainment for passengers

– Passenger WiFi for leading-edge customer services

– CCTV footage on the go for instant and remote access to footage when you need it

– Connectivity to depot WiFi for daily, automated CCTV footage retrieval on the vehicle’s return to base

– Electronic / mobile ticketing and Point of Sale solutions

 

The benefits delivered by an in-vehicle network are diverse and numerous. The above applications can lead to benefits such as value-added passenger services, streamlined work processes, increased fleet security, and access to essential information on the road.

There are a multitude of mobile connectivity options available for in-vehicle networking solutions. This buyers’ guide will help you to understand these options so that you can make an informed buying decision for your organisation.

 

Your Options

USB Modems

Also known as “dongles” these devices provide the user with plug and play access to 3G / 4G mobile connectivity. Sold as part of a mobile data contract, they are widely available for both consumers and businesses on a range of Pay As You Go and monthly tariffs from all mobile network operators.

Pros:

– Plug and play – instant connectivity, just plug the USB modem into your device and you’re good to go.

– Low cost – simply choose a pre-packaged tariff to suit your needs.

– Short lead time – order online and get your connectivity in a box by next day, or pop to the shop to get it instantly.

– Portable – transfer your dongle between devices easily.

 

Cons:

– Built for consumers – as consumer-grade products, USB modems aren’t built to deliver 24/7 connectivity.

– Temperature restricted – as they aren’t ruggedised these devices tend to fail in extreme temperatures.

– Vibration damage – not built for the vehicular environment, dongles break consistently due to vibrations.

– Environment damage – not dust or splash resistant, these devices are prone to constant environment damage. […]

 

Challenges and best practices

In addition to selecting the best possible device (for example the COR IBR1100) for your in-vehicle network, it is important to understand some of the challenges associated with implementation.

 

Challenge #1: Optimal operation of wireless routers requires monitoring, regular firmware updates, configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting, yet most organisations cannot dock their fleets just for this.

Solution: Cloud-based remote management software can enable these tasks from a central location while ensuring sensitive data stays safe.

 

Challenge #2: Mobile routers use the vehicle’s battery as a power source but as a result can drain battery voltage causing brownout or blackout when the vehicle starts, eventually flattening your battery and damaging the router. […]

 

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