Secure office links from anywhere
TCS devices give remote network, phone connections a boostFollow @infoworld
The 5110 looks like a Roomba robotic floor cleaner packed in a briefcase. Inside the case is the cell-site radio gear (the Roomba look-alike) with a Linux server resting beneath it. Open the case, turn it on, and the 5110 becomes a free-standing cell site. It can work with an existing cell system, but it can also work without one. You could set up the system on a sailboat in the middle of the Sargasso Sea and have cell service if you wanted to, thanks to the portability of the all-in-one-case design.
The 5110 includes ISDN and T1/E1 interfaces, plus an Ethernet port for connecting to the outside world. It can also connect to existing GSM networks and to other TCS 5100-series portable cell sites to create a cellular network for area coverage. Each 5110 device will support seven simultaneous callers.
The GSM support means the 5110 should work with any GSM phone; if your company uses CDMA phones, the 5110 will not work with them, but it will allow calls out to any type of phone, anywhere, if you connect the 5110 to the PSTN.
Setting up the 5110 in the mosquito-laden wetlands took about 10 minutes, most of which was spent waiting for the internal Linux server to get up and running.
The TCS engineers and I then tried the cell site with a standard Sony Ericsson T610 GSM phone. Calls were clear and easy to complete, although as expected, specific cellular company services -- such as customer service -- did not work because we were connecting through the 5110 and not a cellular service provider. We were, however, able to call between cell phones and to the outside world. The caller ID features worked just fine, and we made outgoing and incoming calls easily.
When we paired the 5110 with the SwiftLink DVM-90 Mongoose VSAT (very small aperture terminal), cell phone calls were routed through a VSAT satellite connection. This allows you to connect to the 5110 through a secure satellite link for a security boost. The 5110 will also work with existing secure cell phones.
The device has two security modes: one that allows anyone to connect to the cell site, and one that allows you to define specific cell phones that can make connections. You can even assign those phones specific extension numbers that can be used by other users connected to the cell site, so you don’t have to open up the cell site to just anyone with a phone if you don’t want to.
Managing the security modes is straightforward, requiring you to enter the required information as a list on an embedded Web page. After the cell site has identified your phone, you need only to assign the extension number and user name and then give it permission to use the cell site.
With its quick connections and security settings, the SwiftLink 5110 makes sense for business users, ranging from work crews that must stay in touch even when miles from wireless service, to meeting planners who want to make sure their conference rooms have good cell coverage.
As you may guess from its nickname, Mongoose, the SwiftLink DVM-90 VSAT satellite device was originally developed for the U.S. military’s special operations forces, sometimes known to one another as “snake eaters.”