We don’t notice how dependent we have become on our mobile networks, until they fail. Only then, we notice that it’s not obvious being able to communicate anywhere, anytime. Those moments make us realize just how vulnerable we are. That is still to overlook when the signal reception drastically deteriorates on New Year’s Eve, when everybody wants to convey their best wishes at the same time. A power failure that causes a mast to breakdown, which in turn overloads another nearby mast, is generally resolved quickly as well.
However, what if there is a huge calamity, like an earthquake or a flood? The network traffic during the tsunami in Japan was fifty to sixty times larger than usual. Even if the infrastructure itself hasn’t been damaged, the increased demand on the mobile communication system causes the network to fail. In a situation where the emergency services should also be reachable, this is an absolute disaster.
How do we make the network accessible again? By excluding a part of the calls in the area surrounding the calamity: ‘cell barring’. First-aid workers and others, who need the mobile network the most, are prioritized by immediate and accurate network interventions. During the recent terrorist attacks on Brussels, users, including emergency services, received the request not to call, but to use WhatsApp: under the given circumstances this was definitely not the most useful means of communication.
Using LIMA Network Protect would have prevented this: a powerful tool from Group 2000, for managing critical networks and cell barring. By deploying this tool, we get future-proof ‘smart cities’ that communicate resilient.
Max Posthuma de Boer