How Wireless Operators Get Hurricane-Ready

Hurricane Isaac is now headed toward southeast Louisiana and expected to make landfall early Wednesday morning.

The Category 1 storm has a potential to do a lot of damage, not the least of which is cutting off residents from Internet and cell tower connectivity. Earlier this year, Light Reading Mobile discussed the hurricane preparedness measures that major carriers are taking along the Gulf Coast. Specifically Verizon Wireless talked to us back in May at the CTIA show in New Orleans about how its COLT (cell on light truck) mobile base station trucks would be deployed in the event of a hurricane. Watch this:

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) also says that it is posting "additional emergency response equipment in strategic locations near the anticipated landfall" and has put up tips for consumers in the path of the storm.

Verizon has similar suggestions and will offer complimentary post-storm charging in their stores. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has also posted similar warnings about Hurricane Isaac.

Some suggestions:
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged
  • Have spare batteries available if possible
  • Keep any wireless devices dry
  • Make only short calls or text message to try and stop networks from becoming overloaded

As we have seen in major catastrophic events like Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, wireless networks can become overloaded easily as many more people than normal try to use the network and contact loved ones. Text messages are more likely to get through a congested network situation than voice calls or over-the-top messaging, which tax the system more.

Let us know how your wireless service holds up in the storm on the message board below and stay safe out there.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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