Emergency mobile wirless networks: flyaway communications (FLAC) with WiMAX 802.16 technology
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Wireless networks using 802.16 WiMAX technology in a "fly-away" communications (FLAC) package. Terrestrial communication networks continue to evolve very fast, with the extension offered by new IEEE 802.16 promising critical advantages benefiting civilian, government, Homeland Security, and crisis management in addition to the commercial market. A real world situation, such as the recent Tsunami in South East Asia is a good example of a complete collapse of the existing communications infrastructure from a natural disaster. Millions of people were left with virtually no way to communication with family, emergency responders, or potential relief supporters. Remarkable results were achieved by a group led by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in establishing an ad-hoc communications network using a satellite ground station, an IEEE 802.16 router servicing an 802.11 cell phone network in Thailand shortly after all communications infrastructure was lost to the recent Tsunami. Although it was pieced together with available equipment prpovided by various companies (who will be credited in the presentation), an effective communications grid was quickly established, providing crtical connectivity to the world from the crisis area. This event gave rise to the concept that a standard "Fly-away" mobile communications network was a critical asset for worl associations such as the UN, FEMA, Red Cross, NATO, etc. that could be procured via a GSA catalog by anyone and used to support rural, and disaster areas that have either lost, or just do not have a communications infrastructure in place. Military versions would connect to future Transformation Communications systems being designed, such as TSAT,MUOS, JTRS, IWN, all designed to provide a high band width, multimedia communication backbone. The evolving capabilities of 802.16 are the natural extension of the terrestrial Global Information Grid to mobile platforms, as well as taking the information that "Last mile" to provide basic communication, telemedicine and situational awareness.
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