Refining Disaster Strategies
Elliott Drucker, president of consulting firm Drucker Associates, uses the New Orleans hurricane-induced disaster to underscore what needs to be done to ensure that communications, wireless and wire-based, can flow smoothly on in the case of an emergency.
His vision of the wireless network required would involve a limited number of base stations situated on tall and strong structures, each with redundant hardware, including backup generators with enough fuel to remain online for at least several days. The hardware, too, would be far above any potential flood levels.
Backhaul would be provided by path-redundant rings of point-to-point or point-to-multipoint broadband radios; and redundant switches would be placed in remote and secure locations, with satellite connections providing a link to the outside.
This network could be restricted to 911 service only if called upon to in the event that all other communications options were down.
Augmenting this, mobile satellite phones could be placed in police and fire stations, but due to their limitations–lack of coverage indoors, short battery life, and limited localized capacity–this option cannot stand on its own.
In the end, surmises Drucker, the cost of outfitting every major city in the United States thusly would be expensive yet not as costly as the breakdown of communications during the recent hurricanes proved.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Wireless Week (10/15/05) P. 15; Drucker, Elliott .