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Volunteers rebuild Gulf Coast communications with wireless nets
By John Cox, Network World, 09/16/05

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a volunteer group of network and wireless 
experts has moved from outfitting small northeastern Louisiana shelters with 
wirelessInternet access and VoIP phones to preparing a desperately needed 45M 
bit/sec wireless pipe for the entire relief effort indevastated Bay Saint 
Louis, Miss.

"I've never witnessed destruction like this," says Paul Smith, technology 
director with the Center for Neighborhood Technology , a Chicago non-profit 
devoted to making cities more livable. He's one of scores of network volunteers 
from all over thecountry who are creating one of the few success stories to 
emerge from Katrina's demolition of the Gulf Coast's technologyinfrastructure.

As of this week, the emergency management staff of this town of about 8,000 
people, plus National Guardsmen; Red Cross workers;and local police, fire and 
government are relying on a couple of satellite connections, each supporting a 
2M bit/sec downlinkand just a 512K bit/sec uplink. One of the links had been 
set up at the Hancock County Medical Center by local U.S. Navy staff.The second 
was at NASA's Stennis Space Center, where the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) 
is based, coordinating all local,state and federal relief efforts in the area.


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