Through the use of cellular modems and cell phone internet gateways UNAVCO in the 21st century has been able to take advantage of this leap in technology and the ever growing cellular data network to reliably and inexpensively transfer data from remote stations to other locations, such as back to Boulder, Colorado.
While there are a number of companies offering combination gateway/routers to allow for access to the Internet using the various cell phone providers consumer grade data networks and a number of which have been used by UNAVCO on other projects. For PBO it was decided to utilize Proxicast LanCell products since the mobile gateway/routers manufactured by Proxicast are particularly well suited to PBO for several reasons. These include the fact that they are extremely easy to use, they have been proven history of reliable operation in remote areas under harsh environmental conditions and they have a relative low operational cost when compared to other options for internet connectivity. In addition to this they also have the advantage of having a built in router that can be utilized to connect multiple stations via a VPN for secure data transfer.
Proxicast manufactures two mobile Internet combination gateway/routers the LanCell and the LanCell2. PBO utilizes both the first the generation Proxicast LanCell Mobile Gateway/Router and the next generation LanCell2 Gateway/Router. Though they both use a cell phone connection to access the internet and both include routers that are VPN capable there are some notable differences between the two units and it is worthwhile to point out the features of both to illustrate these.
The first generation LanCell uses a SIM card, like those used in handheld cell phones and because of this it is limited to connecting to the internet using older cell data technologies. Though they are quite reliable, this means that they are fairly slow and in some instances have been made obsolete where they are no longer compatible with the latest wireless standards in place. As a result of this, recently we have been migrating to the latest generation of wireless gateway/router manufactured by Proxicast, the LanCell2. Unlike the LanCell1, the LanCell2 uses a PCMCIA instead of a sim card to connect to the internet and is compatible with a variety of different services that utilize the latest generation of wireless data standards. In areas where wireless broadband is available with the LanCell2 we are able to stream data in real time from our stations. Additionally, there are several new features unique to the LanCell2 such as its capability to act as a wireless access point, a built in signal strength meter and programmable soft reboot timer.
In terms of power consumption, both units run on a 12 volt power supply and are easily integrated with the other components at most remote stations. Power consumption is 5W to 8W for the LanCell2 and 6W to 14W for the LanCell1. Typically, these are left running continuously at remote stations, though, if power is a concern, they can be put on a timer to reduce power consumption.
For more information about cellular communication technologies, please see the UNAVCO Knowledge Base on Cellular Modem Summary.
Last modified: Friday, 01-Apr-2016 23:52:48 UTC