Mesh networking: The next step for wireless

In late February 2004, emergency agencies responded to a catastrophe at San Francisco’s landmark Golden Gate Bridge. First to the scene was the Marin County Office of Emergency Services, followed by the San Francisco Fire Department, and ultimately other agencies, including the National Park Service, California Highway Patrol and US Coastguard. All these agencies use a variety of different radio systems which usually can’t communicate. But this time they were equipped with a new type of data link allowing them to coordinate on laptops, PDAs and tablet PCs with video links, real-time resource maps and multimedia messaging, among other applications. JC