Providing a Powerful Paging Gateway
In May 2019, Singlewire Software released a new version of its hardware appliance for the InformaCast Paging Gateway. We sat down with project lead, and Singlewire Chief Technology Officer, Jerry Steinhauer, to get the scoop on what users can expect from this updated solution.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a paging gateway?
Our InformaCast software uses multicast to send a mass notification. This offers users an efficient way to deliver emergency alerts. However, multicast needs to be deployed across the user’s wide area network (WAN), and some customers don’t support multicast over WAN between sites. This is often an issue with cost. It can be expensive to upgrade a WAN to support multicast, and in organizations with numerous remote sites, the WAN is then unable to deliver InformaCast notifications.
With the paging gateway, organizations can overcome this obstacle. When an InformaCast broadcast is sent to phones at remote sites, the paging gateway converts the unicast broadcast to multicast to deliver the message. This allows organizations to take advantage of InformaCast’s powerful ability to deliver live and recorded audio broadcasts to large numbers of desk phones simultaneously, without being a burden on their phone system.
While we offer the paging gateway as a virtual appliance, we’ve found that most customers prefer deploying the hardware appliance at their remote sites. It’s a compact, reliable device that offers a quick and easy setup to start delivering audio broadcasts.
What are some common use cases for a paging gateway?
Beyond the unicast to multicast conversion, the other common use case for the paging gateway is service location protocol (SLP). InformaCast compliant IP speakers use multicast to self-register with the InformaCast server. Without a multicast-enabled network, this isn’t possible. The paging gateway serves as an SLP proxy to direct the speakers to InformaCast when they try and register.
By leveraging these two use cases, organizations are able to fully utilize the features of InformaCast for mass notification during emergency events like active shooter situations, severe weather events, lockdowns, evacuations and more.
Why did Singlewire develop a new version of the paging gateway?
The simple truth is hardware platforms are changing. We recognized that we’ve reached end of manufacturing for our previous platform and wanted to transfer to the new version in an orderly fashion.
We started shipping our first paging gateway in 2011, and environments have changed a great deal since then. We want to keep pace with evolving security requirements, such as how data is encrypted, so we can better serve larger environments. We also wanted to more capabilities in terms of CPU. This allows users to conduct more simultaneous broadcasts than the previous version.
How does it improve upon the previous version?
Our previous paging gateway is a solid piece of technology and is deployed in more than 5,000 sites. The new version takes that strong foundation and builds an even better tool for organizations to utilize.
The new paging gateway features an Intel Celeron CPU. The previous paging gateway has been using the same CPU since 2009, and the capabilities of our software have grown beyond what it could provide. The new paging gateway is packaged in a more durable storage medium and will support more writes than the old version.
Will the previous model of the paging gateway still work?
The previous model of the paging gateways will continue to work and Singlewire Software will continue to support them through April 2022. Part of the reason for this is that the software housed in the hardware appliance will no longer be supported after that time. We’re working on changes to the paging gateway software which will be supported in APL and APL2 (part numbers for the paging gateway hardware appliance) until April 2022. After that time, only APL2 will be supported. Singlewire will be helping customers with migrations paths around the time the new software is released.
How can I purchase one?
New paging gateways are available for purchase through our sales team. You can contact them for details at [email protected] or by calling (608) 661-1140 Option 1.
Where can I find technical specifications for the new paging gateway?
Full details on the new hardware appliance and the software version of the paging gateway can be found on Paging Gateway webpage.
We’re excited to provide this new solution to our customers and look forward to seeing how they utilize it for enhanced safety and communication in their organizations.