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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Phone networks struggle in Hurricane Katrina's wake

  • From: Michael.Dillon
  • Date: Wed Aug 31 06:05:25 2005

> "Red Cross looks to IT for post-Katrina recovery"
> http://www.computerworld.
> com/securitytopics/security/recovery/story/0,10801,104250,00.html
> ..would perhaps elicit some operational suggestions from the peanut
> gallery on how to perhaps assist in this effort, or prhaps contribute
> to the BellSouth issues, etc., then mea culpa.

There is also the issue of planning. By examining what happens
during a disaster situation we can learn lessons and fix our
own disaster plans before we need to implement them. For instance
the communications failures in New Orleans were predictable.
That's why the RedCross moved in comms gear prior to the hurricane.
Even in an event where the physical damage is miniscule in
comparison, i.e. the 7th July attacks in London, the cellular
networks were overloaded and difficult to use for an entire day.

So, perhaps portable WiFi gear like the Breadcrumbs here would be something more of us should
be stocking. If there is a disaster in your city, how will
you communicate between your data centers and offices if the
cell and phone networks go down? And if you set up a network
of devices like the Breadcrumbs, then you are essentially
building an alternate communications network that is connected
to the Internet, i.e. you are an ISP and a wifi comms network
connected to you is part of the Internet.

So, to take this a step further, how many of the telecommunications
companies on this list have an emergency comms plan coordinated
with local emergency authorities in which you plan TO BE A 

According to meteorlogists, we are entering a period of a 
dozen years in which hurricanes can be expected to be 
stronger on average. And there are expected to be another 
4 to 5 bug hurricanes before this year's hurricane season
is over. And hurricanes are unpredictable. Canadians who
think they are immune should check what happened in Southern
Ontario during Hurrican Hazel in the 1950's. Holland, Germany
and England have experienced storm surges even without 
hurricanes. And the list of possible disasters goes on.

We cannot predict what will happen and where it will
happen but we can confidently predict that SOMETHING
will happen on a regular basis. So, how can ISPs make
plans to be part of the solution when a disaster does

--Michael Dillon

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