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Monday, July 22, 2013

Balloon-Borne Broadband for Emergencies

The 4G LTE balloon platform—on its way up to 70,000 feet!
One of those good ideas - from Oceus Networks Deployable LTE Solution Above the Clouds to Support Public Safety :
Oceus Networks Inc., the market leader in delivering mobile 4G LTE broadband networking solutions, announced today that it has successfully demonstrated the efficacy of a deployable 4G LTE solution on a high-altitude balloon platform, which can be used to rapidly provide broadband coverage and communications services to first responders within the first 72 hours following an emergency or natural disaster.

The exercise, conducted near Boulder, Colo. last week, launched an airborne 4G LTE cellular network, allowing engineers to collect data and characterize the
Balloon platform at 75,000 feet.
performance of a high altitude 4G LTE public safety system.

The payload traveled nearly 200 miles and reached an altitude of 75K feet. The experiment supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture (DACA) initiative, which is exploring the role of High Altitude Platforms in the national public safety network. Oceus Networks partnered with Space Data to deliver an innovative platform for public safety communications restoration in the event of large scale commercial outages after major natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
Accoeding to Emergency Management, the trial balloon ". . .traveled nearly 200 miles, reached an altitude of 75,000 feet, transmitted an LTE network signal that provided a 100 km radius of coverage . . ."
So, if LA experienced a disaster, you could put one of these things up and cover(roughly) the area within the yellow box on the map below.
That's pretty good. You might note that "72 hour" time frame. Plan on being self-sufficient for at least that period.

Photos from here. I made the silly map on Google Earth.

As an aside, I recently received a certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. If you are interest in such a program, you might look here. The new CPDM Curriculum is one class shorter than it was when I took the course.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Great idea, cheaper and better loiter than a manned aircraft, this would be a real benefit, given the dependency on cell phones by many first responders. This is especially good news in light of the flail in New Orleans during Katrina (back-up power plants for cell towers don't look nice, so we'll spend the money on other stuff? They managed to disguise the oil derricks in the Hollywood area, this should have been an easy fix).

    Congrats on the certificate (should I invite you to my next disaster?:>).