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Border Security - is Your Wireless Network Ready?

Whether you are securing an international boundary or securing the perimeter of a facility, being able to remotely monitor a border is important. Because wireless technology can solve some of the challenges inherent in securing a border, wireless networks are increasingly playing a key role in the overall security design system.

Considerations When Designing a Wireless Network for Border Security

Once you've decided to explore a wireless solution for your border security, you can better define your project with some basic questions.

Fixed or Mobile? Or Both?

Depending on where and what you are securing, your network may include both fixed and mobile needs. If your secure area has a small enough footprint, a few fixed wireless locations may be sufficient. However, you may need to consider mobile coverage for roaming security officials. Also important to consider is what type of network growth do you anticipate over the next three to five years, or do you anticipate your footprint changing? While a fixed-only solution may work now, a varied kind of coverage may be needed in the near future.

Terrestrial or Marine? Or Both?

What kind of borders does your monitored area include? If you are securing a work yard or facility, you may only need to concern yourself with terrestrial situations. However, what if your secured area includes water? Designing a wireless network for port security or for a marine border introduces specific challenges. Do you need to support ship-to-ship and/or ship-to-shore communications? Ensuring your network can manage the movement of marine vessels may be vital.


When designing the wireless portion of your border security solution, it is important to determine what type of information you may need to transmit. Will small pieces of data from sensors be adequate, or will your network require streaming HD video? Communications for onsite personnel should be considered as well for real-time voice and data connections. The answers to these questions will determine how much throughput you require, directing your radio system selection.


Determining whether to utilize frequencies which are licensed or unlicensed is another factor to consider when developing your border control network. The network architecture you select may limit your spectrum choices. Unlicensed spectrum is free to use, but may have interference depending on the density of use by other organizations. Using licensed spectrum allows you to minimize interference, but carries an associated cost and requires registration with the FCC. Also, one size may not fit all for your entire coverage area. Frequency variety may be necessary depending on contiguous networks and density of wireless use.


How will you provide power to your network? Border security often means covering outlying and remote locations. The power grid may not be accessible from all the locations where you require a communications site. Even if the grid is available, you'll want to have a robust power backup plan for system outages.

Reliability and Security

Network reliability and security are of increasing concern. Keeping a network running and ensuring the privacy of voice, data, and video transmissions is often mission critical for border monitoring. Reliability is measured in availability, the percentage of time your net- work will be operational per year. The higher the percentage, the less network downtime will be experienced. For example, 99.999 percent availability means 5.3 total minutes of network downtime over the course of one year. 90 percent availability means 876 total hours of network downtime over the course of one year. Wireless links can provide up to 99.999 percent availability. Securing your wireless network is important. TESSCO's radio portfolio includes products with data encryption capabilities and FIPS 140-2 certification.


Due to the remote and often harsh locations of the area you want to secure, monitoring equipment and networks must be able to communicate over long distances and be able to withstand severe environments. Can your equipment withstand the heat, cold, and weather at your border? If not, you need to consider what kind of protection you need to provide, including enclosures, heating and cooling.

Rely on TESSCO as your partner in border security. Visit TESSCO.com to learn more.

Border Security Bill of Materials

When you are ready to develop your bill of materials, don't forget about all the products that go into a wireless deployment. TESSCO has everything you need to successfully build a wireless network.

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What is FIPS 140-2?

Data encryption is increasingly important for the secure transmission of information. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 is a standard for security requirements for cryptographic modules. The FIPS 140-2 cryptography standard is used by the U.S. Government and other regulated industries (such as financial and healthcare institutions) that collect, store, transfer, share, and disseminate sensitive but unclassified information. In order to test whether modules meet this standard, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CVMP). Companies submit their products to the CVMP for testing, and as applicable, validation.

Only you can determine whether your project should include products validated to meet FIPS 140-2 or products with encryption capabilities, but which haven't been tested by the CVMP.

For more information about FIPS 140-2 and to confirm current validations, please visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/STM/cmvp/ index.html.

Featured Solutions

Rugged Cameras From Moxa

Security cameras often require a climate-controlled housing for use in remote locations, but the Moxa VPort 36-1MP-T is a rugged IP camera that can withstand environmental temperatures ranging from minus 40 to 75 degrees Celsius without a heater or cooling fan.

PTP Radios From Cambium

Cambium PTP radios help maximize border security through their broad range of frequencies: from 2-5 GHz in the licensed-exempt bands on the PTP 600 and 6-36 GHz on the PTP 800. This range can be crucial when faced with often-substantial RF interference on borders between states, provinces and/or countries. Cambium PTP solutions are UC APL certified, FIPS 140-2 validated.