Alvarion announces an alliance with IBM to offer and deliver wireless systems to municipalities and their public-safety agencies. The alliance will enable a new approach for delivery of scalable, multi-layer IP-based wireless networks that support data, voice and video for both fixed and mobile applications.

Based on a unique pilot wireless network implementation in Fresno, the sixth largest city in California, the IBM and Alvarion information communication technology (ICT) system is comprised of IBM's suite of productivity-enhancing mobile applications built on Alvarion's broadband and mobile wireless systems. Customizable to deliver broad functionality and support a myriad of applications, while enabling citywide broadband coverage at a fraction of the cost of competing systems, this cooperation now brings affordable broadband within reach of most U.S. communities.

The Fresno public safety network is intended to enable police officers to send and receive text messages, still images and even full-motion video using their car-based mobile data terminals and their handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) greatly enhancing productivity and their ability to deter crime and capture criminals.

Fresno's Chief Jerry Dyer said, "Although this capability will certainly be used to increase officer's productivity and enhance homeland security in Fresno, its most important contribution is in making the community safer from everyday crime related to gangs, substance abuse and recidivist offenders."

Built by IBM using Alvarion broadband wireless systems and IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager, the network features government-grade wireless encryption, roaming and compression to the city's 250 police vehicle fleet.

Using 900MHz based mobile technology requiring less than one-tenth the number of nodes generally required by competing Wi-Fi based solutions while providing superior net service speeds, the network employs Wi-Fi to extend the network to low cost, end user devices. To protect the city's existing network investments while ensuring seamless connectivity over a wider area, the broadband network features seamless switching at vehicular speeds, as it maintains session persistency with the police department's legacy 800 MHz narrowband network. The network provides the optimum balance of minimum infrastructure and maximum access.

"The Fresno project is one of the first Community Broadband implementations and serves as an example of how this technology can solve real problems that impact public safety's ability to respond that may even save lives and improve livability for communities," says Michael Dillon, IBM Director of Safety, Security and Community Broadband. "This is an example of how cities and counties can be customer-focused, cost-effective and creative participants in their communities. Fresno was a collaborative effort that will likely pay-off for everyone in increased responsiveness and flexibility in a security-enhanced environment for public safety."

"The telecom market is in transition toward more ICT solutions, and this partnership is aimed specifically at offering the latest in broadband and public safety technologies to the thousands of tier 2 and smaller communities throughout the world," remarked Tzvika Friedman, CEO and president of Alvarion. "Beginning in the U.S., our joint success in Fresno is evidence that these networks are extremely robust and can add up to several hours of user productivity per day. And the network has proven to be flexible enough to support additional departments and applications and at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions."