Making a difference in the wake of disaster

By Atul Bhatnagar   August 31, 2017

It has not yet stopped raining in Houston in the storm system associated with hurricane Harvey. The system has already dumped more than 9 trillion gallons of water in the area – the equivalent of a tank 2 miles wide, by 2 miles deep, by 2 miles high.  Of course, no city can prepare for an ordeal of this magnitude.

Back in June, we blogged about how Kix Internet, a WISP in Houston, created a disaster recovery van. Working in cooperation with the Wireless ISP Association (WISPA) and outfitted with wireless broadband equipment donated by Cambium Networks, the van was designed to be a network operating center on wheels to be deployed to rapidly provide broadband connectivity to connect first responders, aid organizations, and people in the wake of a disaster.

As if knowing the location of the communications van, the storm bore down on Houston. During the storm itself the Kix Internet network remained operational, with its PMP 450m access points continuing to connect business and residential subscribers. The only subscriber modules that failed were the ones where the associated routers were submerged in storm water. Kix Internet recorded the full effect of the storm in a 3 hour video on facebook. The image at the top of this post is from the video showing his PMP 450m access point during the storm.

The below images show the flooding in the marina.


While rain is still coming down, Paul Dietz of Kix Internet reports that he is using the equipment to connect locations in the city of Hitchcock, Texas located 40 miles Southeast of Houston and directly on the coast. The links will connect the Hitchcock School District and a recovery shelter with a 15 mile PTP 650 link connecting an ePMP wireless access network feeding cnPilot indoor Wi-Fi access points.

Disasters have a way of bringing out the best in people. For Paul Dietz and Kix Internet, they seized the opportunity to provide connectivity in a matter of hours to connect people with their families and the support services that they need. These links enable people to start the process of recovery, and regain a normal life. For young people, it also means that school is back in session.