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The Networks Broke-Cable and Wireless

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hurricane Sandy proved something. Our infrastructure for communications isn't hurricane proof. As the New York Times reports on what the FCC has determeined, it seems the northeastern United States became in spots a country back in the sixties, where the only thing that seemed to work was a wired landline and one of those older telephones where the power comes from the telco.

Yesterday when talking with affected clients along the eastern seacboad a few things became clear:

1. People who do not have multiple ways to connect to the Internet were falling behind on their business. This is called business interruption or business continuity.

2. There's going to be a big demand for MiFis/PocketSpot portable hotpots now and companies like Huawei, Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless will likely see increased demand for them.

3. Backhaul, the lack of enough antenna towers and small cells, with water-tight fiber connections are going to be needed and the "not in my back yard" mentality of those now affected will need to change..

4. Our PSAP (Public Service Access Points) were overwhelmed with calls to the point where they couldn't be handled.

5. EMS (Emergency Services like fire, police and ambulance) and utility companies could not easily locate things like manhole covers, hydrants, utilty cabinets due to flooding, debris and water.  While these exist on maps, in many places they are not easily found using newer forms of technology.

6. Cable networks, long the shining example of modernization in the USA of our communications systems, as well as the Internet itself showed that water is it's enemy in places. While demand went up, and those who were able to connect still were able to work, those without connectivity, were in the same place as those without power. In some cases it wasn't the lack of connectivity, instead it was the Head Ends of the cable companies lost power, or their routers along the way did. Either way, the connectivity grid broke.

We as a nation, have the technology to make things different. We need to look at our IT Infrastructure and the Information Service providers have to stop looking like robber barons, and begin to contribute back to the connectivity grid or we won't survive these kinds of attacks from mother nature much longer.

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