Fixed Wireless: The Faster Answer When Disaster Strikes

By Atul Bhatnagar   January 27, 2021

How do you connect an entire town that is stranded? Recently, forest fires in Oregon destroyed the fiber backbone along a 27-mile stretch that connected a town of 800 surviving homes and businesses. While the fires did not burn the town, all the residents were left without critical communication. Told that it would take four to six months to restore the fiber link, a collective of local groups set about to restore communication. Multi-gigabit wireless connectivity makes it easier to respond quickly when unpredictable events destroy communications infrastructure. Indeed, for these residents, Wireless IS the New Fiber.

This report from KEZI.com details how “The community is stepping in to close the communication gap. A newly formed organization, Oregon Internet Response, has engineered a network of wireless towers starting at a site in Bend all the way to Blue River.”

Network operators on the scene know the exact connectivity needed at specific locations and can save critical time by rapidly providing high-speed wireless air cover to support Search and Rescue teams, First Responders, Forest Service teams and the affected communities. This Fierce Wireless article shows how local volunteers used their knowledge of the terrain and technology and engage people to best leverage the assets that they had to rapidly re-connect the community.

“We are now offering 100 Mbps in both directions with low latency,” says Geoff Turner, CEO at Elevate Technology Group. Elevate Technology Group volunteered with OIR and deployed equipment, including ePMP 3000 wireless broadband to bridge the gap in the Cascade Mountains. “Many individuals and companies from the community helped create a 5-hop link in three days, and Cambium support helped us optimize the links.”

Emergency situations do not allow the time for costly and time-consuming network buildouts with wire or fiber technology. Fixed wireless technology provides connectivity that is:

  • Easy to deploy and manage
  • Cost-effective
  • Highly reliable

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