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Why 3G, 4G, and LTE Cellular Networks Fail During Disasters and Crowded Events

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Cellular or mobile wireless network usage has increased at a phenomenal rate over the years.  This caused cellular networks to face unprecedented challenges, especially concerning disasters and large crowded events.  During these types of events, it is best to assume that mobile connectivity will fail; in other words, you will likely NOT be able to make a phone call, send a text message, or use social media to communicate with others.  With growing numbers of people owning cellular devices, from smart phones to tablet PCs, cellular network failure is more likely to occur.  Sporting events, concerts, and political protests typically overload available capacity on cellular networks.  To add to the stress on cellular towers, sudden peaks in data usage that takes place in disasters and crowed events further causes 3G, 4G, and LTE cellular networks to fail.

A Deeper Look at Failure in Mobile Wireless/ Cellular Networks

Cellular towers are designed to handle a specific data carrying capacity.  Particularly, each cell tower is intended to accommodate a set number of calls per second for a given geographic area. Factors that determine the capacity for mobile wireless network include 1) cumulative capacity of the protocol and spectrum in the region 2) available backhaul bandwidth at the cell tower site and 3) physical capacity of the network equipment/ gear.  To illustrate, the mobile wireless network for a particular area (city or stadium) is created for approximately 5,000 simultaneous users, however during a large event, there could be up to 15,000 users on the network.  With 3 times the magnitude on demand, 3G, 4G and LTE connectivity becomes overloaded and unavailable.  To cope, many stadiums that plan for large crowds, increase cellular mobile wireless network capacity by installing more cell towers.  Major network carriers have already spent billions of dollars increasing capacity and upgrading their networks and will continue to do so over the next decade.  However, the accelerated growth of mobile data traffic will continue to be a growing issue, especially in the aftermath of a disaster or emergency event.

Failed Overcrowded cell towersSignificance to Public Safety and Emergency Management

Public safety and emergency management are critical functions of the state government.  In response to emergency and disaster events, access to reliable communication is vital.  In emergency events, cellular network operators (such as AT&T, Verizon and more) request, “Customers to use text or email to free up voice capacity for public safety officials on the scene.”  Because telecommunications networks simply can’t cope with the sharp increase in call volume in a disaster or crowded event, first responders and those in public safety and emergency management must be prepared to use alternative forms of communications.  Simply put, mobile wireless networks become unreliable during and after a disaster or emergency situation.

Reliable Communications via Satellite and Cellular Connectivity

Communication via cellular networks has proven to be unreliable, especially after a natural or manmade disaster.  First responder teams require access to instant high speed communications, regardless of where they are.  With cell towers expected to be overloaded, public safety and emergency management teams require the best in telecommunications technology.  Satellite internet, phone and data provide just that, however it is best when connectivity can be accessed when on the go.  Cell on Wheels (COWS), or what some call Satellite Internet Communications Trailers, offer just what emergency management and first responder teams require.  This technology allows fast connectivity to vital information anywhere and anytime, making it ideal for disaster recovery, emergency response, or for crowded events.  Satellite communications trailers should be rugged, self-enclosed, with an intelligent I/O panel, providing users with simple to operate controls to power, tower scene lighting, heat/ air conditioning, and air compressors/pneumatics.

Satellite Vehicle Integration – High Speed Internet, Phone and Data

When emergency management and first responders require high speed satellite communications on the go; full satellite vehicle integration is a great option to consider.  With a VSAT satellite internet, phone and data system, integrated to almost any vehicle (including SUV, truck, bus, RV or mobile command center), critical communications is available with the push of a button.  Satellite vehicle integration systems establish an uplink at a moment’s notice, therefore transforming any vehicle into a high-tech mobile command center, making it perfect for emergency and disaster response.

About Squire Tech Solutions

Squire Tech Solutions is an industry leader, providing the #1 trusted satellite and cellular communications trailer platform, the pCom® XL, since 2007.  Equipment, service and networks are supported by the Industry’s Top Rated industrial grade satellite internet equipment and the best in class 24/7 customer support team. Squire Tech’s satellite internet, phone and data offerings include; pCom® satellite internet communications trailer, mobile satellite equipment for vehicles (such as SUVs, trucks and mobile command posts), fixed /rooftop satellite solutions for businesses, satellite backup/ disaster recovery systems, and daily rental satellite communications for remote locations. For more information visit http://www.squiretechsolutions.com or call (877) 787.5111.