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Sandy & Communications

Dan Jones
10/30/2012

CHICAGO -- 4G World 2012 -- 8:20 AM -- It was a strange start to 4G World , UBM TechWeb 's show in Chicago Monday.

The proceedings were knocked more than a little sideways by the raging storm that continues to pound the Northeast of the U.S. Some speakers, such as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai, had to deliver presentations via videoconferencing sessions after getting stuck without a flight to Chicago.

I don't really know what to expect when I return to Brooklyn. Certainly some of the flooding in Manhattan and the power outages across the boroughs and New Jersey look like something out of a disaster movie.

But it's really for people closer to the scene to write and talk about that. One place they're updating on the situation is this Facebook page.

I did notice one thing though: Mobile networks seem a lot more stable then during previous disasters, such as 9/11. Back then, all the mobile networks went down very quickly as people jammed the circuits. Only the Ricochet Network was intact for a while.

This time, people in New York were still texting me, messaging me and using social media on their phones and tablets as their power went out.

Now, I don't want to compare the two disasters: In fact, we probably won't even know the full human and monetary costs of Sandy for a while.

I just found it interesting that Sandy doesn't seem to have been the knockout punch to wireless communications that 9/11 or even the blackout was.

It'll be something to ask carriers about here. Just why is this?

Although I also wonder if the advent of texting in the U.S., which really grew in popularity after 2011, helps to smooth out sending reassuring notes to friends and family without clogging the network excessively.

Anyway, If you're in the path of storm, best of luck and let me know how your wireless communications hold up.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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gtchavan
gtchavan
12/5/2012 | 5:18:27 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Deep down we all hope for a complete and utter telecommunciation national disaster so CAPEX comes back at least temporarily becasue most networking companes are in utter financial ruins.

markhill11
markhill11
12/5/2012 | 5:18:27 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Verizon Ntwk appears to be unaffected by Sandy in and around Alexandria, VA

kawasemi
kawasemi
12/5/2012 | 5:18:26 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


At that time, twitter was the best & survived method. I could find my sons by using mobile twitter. Mobile telephone could do nothing.

vu2srk
vu2srk
12/5/2012 | 5:18:25 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Around a Quarter of Base Stations Knocked Offline by Hurricane Sandy

joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:18:14 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Well you got your wish with Katrina and it seems like again now. Did it motivate CAPEX? Seems like operators might want to think about how mobile could start to approach the reliability of POTS.

joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:18:13 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Its generally a good thing in an emergency. Texts place less stress on the network.

shygye75
shygye75
12/5/2012 | 5:18:13 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


Text messages have been the only reliable way to communicate via mobile since the storm hit. It seems that most users are comfortable with that. Mobile voice is being relegated to secondary status in (large?) part because quality has been and continues to be poor.

shygye75
shygye75
12/5/2012 | 5:18:12 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


As Bill Parcells once famously said, You are what your record says you are. And the record for mobile operators regarding voice service quality is spotty at best, and poor during crises. It's becoming more difficult to pretend that mobile is anything other than a best-effort service. Trying to get mobile up to "POTS reliability" seems futile.

shygye75
shygye75
12/5/2012 | 5:18:12 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


In general, though, would you be surprised if mobile services marginalize voice traffic?

joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:18:12 PM
re: Sandy & Communications


I'm not sure its even possible given the nature of the medium. But more battery backup and on-site generators isn't POTS, it's a precaution.

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