Please see my responses and additional information inline.
Matt Liotta wrote:
Jack Unger wrote:
Probably 90% of public safety organizations' Emergency Communications
Plans have made use of ham radio operators for years and continue to
make use of hams today.
While a ham could certainly make use of unlicensed spectrum, consumer
access points, and best effort internet connections, I would think the
vast majority use 2-way radios similar to what they used years before
Wi-Fi even existed in the face of an emergency.
It's not a question of using EITHER 2-way radios OR Wi-Fi access points.
Hams do use two-way radios, their own very high frequency (VHF) 144-148
MHz and ultra high frequency (UHF) 450-470 MHz repeater networks for
local and regional VOICE and low-speed (packet) data coverage and high
frequency (HF) 3.5-30 MHz equipment for longer-distance (cross-country)
and International VOICE and low-speed data coverage. The new needs today
are to be able to transmit and receive data at BROADBAND rates, for
example to be able to connect and share high-speed data with existing
BROADBAND public safety data networks as well as the Internet. To meet
these BROADBAND data needs either license-free Part 15 equipment or Part
15 equipment modified to work under Part 97 (amateur radio regulations)
works to meet these broadband data connectivity needs.
The hams that I have met
tend to incorporate new technology in sensible ways as opposed to some
folks that believe Wi-Fi is the answer to all.
A police officer isn't a communications expert which is why many
police departments and County Offices of Emergency Services fund and
support communications teams and vans manned by trained hams, who are
Such experts would certainly be able to come up with a better emergency
Agreed, and they have but again, to meet the BROADBAND data needs,
low-cost Wi-Fi equipment operated under either Part 15 or Part 97 is a
natural solution, both at the emergency scene and to connect the
on-scene personnel to the outside world. This is an obvious opportunity
for smart WISPs to be involved and to offer to provide network
connectivity in times of emergency. For example, I just introduced one
local Southern California Police Department to the local WISP that
covers the town. After discussions between the PD and the WISP, the
Police Department decided to put a Trango CPE on the top of the 40-ft
telescoping mast of the new Emergency Communications Command Vehicle
(RV-sized). The local WISP agreed to provide connectivity at no charge
when the command vehicle is deployed at an emergency scene one or two
days every few months. The PD gets backup BROADBAND connectivity that
they can afford and the WISP gets a lot of free very good publicity.
BTW, the command vehicle will also have a satellite link and 3G
connectivity so the WISP connectivity may not be used very often but IT
IS THERE if it is needed. For voice connectivity, the command vehicle
will contain all the standard voice radio systems. This is what most
people would agree is a good communications plan.
The use of unlicensed spectrum is becoming more and more the norm. To
consider the use of a consumer access point not as the primary means
of communication but as one of the many backup communications options
is simply being realistic and practical.
I don't see it as being realistic and practical. I can think of very few
circumstances where a little bit of planning wouldn't provide for
reliable communications during an emergency.
Again, it's not an either/or situation. Unlicensed spectrum can and does
fill a very real broadband communications need for emergency and public
safety personnel. Both reliable VOICE and BROADBAND DATA/VIDEO needs
exist now. Smart WISPs won't have to think very long before figuring out
that there is an important and beneficial role for them to play in
meeting their communities emergency communications needs.
I don't want to beat this horse to death (horsey??... horsey??) so I'll
sign off now.
In a circumstance where
there is a proper communication plan that fails because the disaster is
so great I'm sure the consumer's open access point on a best effort
internet connection isn't going to work anyway.
It sure did seem like all the organizations with mobile satellite
equipment were communicating just fine in recent disasters. A portable
VSAT on a usage plan is quite cheap and very effective.
Jack Unger ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) - President, Ask-Wi.Com, Inc.
Serving the License-Free Wireless Industry Since 1993
Author of the WISP Handbook - "Deploying License-Free Wireless WANs"
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