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Wireless Networking Government United States Hardware News Technology

Report Rips Government Wireless Network Effort 54

coondoggie writes with this excerpt from NetworkWorld: "Like a bunch of children in a sandbox unable and perhaps unwilling to share their toys, multiple key government agencies cannot or will not cooperate to build a collaborative wireless network. The Government Accountability Office report (PDF) issued today took aim at the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury which had intended what's known as The Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) to be a joint radio communications system to improve communication among law enforcement agencies. However IWN, which has already cost millions of dollars, is no longer being pursued as a joint development project, the GAO said. By abandoning collaboration on a joint implementation, the departments risk duplication of effort and inefficient use of resources as they continue to invest significant resources in independent solutions. Further, these efforts will not ensure the interoperability needed to serve day-to-day law enforcement operations or a coordinated response to terrorist or other events, the GAO said."
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Report Rips Government Wireless Network Effort

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  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:23PM (#26098349)

    See title. Basically like the GPS, you can access the internet from anywhere using special technology. Security is obviously going to be the biggest issue however.

  • by Samschnooks ( 1415697 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:29PM (#26098397)

    See title. Basically like the GPS, you can access the internet from anywhere using special technology. Security is obviously going to be the biggest issue however.

    This is not a technological problem. This is a problem with differing agencies fighting over turf. Agencies, I might add, that are all part of the Executive branch of Government. So, there is also a horrible lack of or incompetent leadership that is allowing this non-sense to happen. Apparently, the leader of this branch of government is out to lunch or just going to let his successor deal with it.

  • by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:46PM (#26098579) Journal
    Do these agencies need low-latency communications, or just access to the data? From my (in no way involved with any of the agencies) viewpoint, it seems more like simple access to the data is more important than getting it at shockingly quick speeds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:53PM (#26098651)

    There is already an interoperable network out there. It is called Amateur Radio. Millions of individuals are able to communicate around the world for recreation and when neccessary under disaster situations. The network can handle voice, image and data communications. Not only that it doesn't cost the goverment a dime.
    The problem with the goverment's effort, is that some salesman from a big corporation tried to sell them a gold plated overly complicated solution.
    A good example is the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary relies on amateur radio operators to provide emergency search and rescue support. The goverment's interoperability efforts resulted in regulations that prevented amateur participation unless the operators purchased special (read expensive)radios that supported the non standard specifications endorsed by the goverment.
    The simple solution is for the FCC to define the block of frequencies to be used for interoperable communications. Then the FCC needs to mandate standard comercially available modulation standards and insist that all radios used by the goverment include those frequencies and modes. This is not high technology here. Most of the equipment is available commercially to buisness and amateurs. Once thr frequencies and operating modes are set, the incident commander (or his communications officer) can assign and enforce operating frequencies as needed.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:59PM (#26098703)

    The FCC already has 'filtered' frequencies, that doesn't prevent alternatives to operate nearly everywhere. It's called broadcast TV. It's free. It's limited (4-5 channels per locale). It's filtered (7 words you can't say on TV). You still have 2 Satellite companies and Cable.

    I would STILL pay for cable internet, as would a large portion of who do right now. But free internet would be wonderful for my parents or when I'm on the road. I'm not asking for 10Mb connections to every house, but 512K would be useful. Filter it, I don't care. But I'd be able to actually send my parents pictures of the newborn or almost anything else. It would also force 'paid for' alternatives to actually have competition. My cable bill for JUST cable is $65 a month. That's stupid, but dial-up is not an alternative. A good portion of the people on 'high speed' lines today could easily get by with 512Kb/s. Cable/DSL companies would have to do something to get those customers back.

    56K is absolutely worthless now days. You can't even call what you're doing surfing. Back when I first got internet at my parents home most sites were designed for modems.

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:32PM (#26099367) Homepage

    why the hell do they even need their own wireless network? if Homeland security wants anywhere wireless access, then they'll need to get in line like everyone else. either set up a public wireless broadband network that we can all use or stop whining. if they're worried about security they can use encryption.

    i mean, $195 million and 6 years of work and they still don't have a network up? that's pathetic. that money would have been better spent given to local governments to set up their own municipal wireless networks, which if a Homeland security agent happens to be in range of, they're free to use like everyone else.

    wireless broadband access is already slowly becoming a basic component of public infrastructure. it's something that benefits everyone, and increasingly vital to the technological progress of a society. the task of building such vital communications infrastructure should have been given to a science/technology-oriented government agency--something like Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (which would be more useful than the Homeland Security Department).

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.