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Deploying Wi-Fi During Natural Disasters

Title image for episode 95.

Ian Beyer and Jonathan Boyle discuss helping others by deploying Wi-Fi communications.

Title image for episode 95.

When a natural disaster hits the first thing everyone needs is reliable communications. Ian Beyer and Jonathan Boyle join the podcast to talk about their experiences in deploying Wi-Fi for first responders, families, and departments running critical operations.

Ian Beyer is the Region 7 Technology Manager for Team Rubicon.

Jonathan Boyle is the Region 7 Director for IT Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC).

If we look at Hurricane Harvey, there was a record rainfall. Team Rubicon National Operations Center in Dallas, TX began planning for response. This started before Harvey made landfall.

Team Rubicon is a Veteran-led disaster response organization with 50,000 volunteers. They work with major tech vendors such as Palantir, Motorola, Inmarsat, ITDRC, Google, and more.

ITDRC’s mission is to provide communities with the technical resources necessary to continue operations and begin recovery after a disaster. Much of their efforts are made possible due to the partnerships and cooperation with numerous partners such as Dish network, Google, Ruckus, Fortinet, Cambium Networks, Dell, Cisco Meraki, HP, Intel, CiscoTACOPS, and more. ITDRC has 900+ volunteers nationwide.

In this episode, Ian and Jonathan discuss what it is like to deploy where communications is needed. It all starts with volunteers with the right skillsets to configure and deploy the right technology.

In most scenarios, many engineers are fortunate to have a clean and safe environment to work in. The volunteers at Team Rubicon and ITDRC run into many Wi-Fi challenges. There’s interference everywhere, hotspots running around, neighbors in the building, etc.

In many cases, the backhaul can be the most challenging. Cradlepoints are often used with hotspots for connectivity. With many people using that connection it can get congested and spotty.

As Ian will talk about, sometimes RRM is your friend in these hostile conditions.

At the time of this recording, ITDRC had volunteers deployed in Puerto Rico. We hope to have an update in the near future after those efforts have been completed.

To hear the full dialog, listen to the episode today!

Links and Resources

Hosted by

Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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  • I wonder if there are other volunteer organizations around the world that do this. I would love to hear about them too

  • I think that everything said was very reasonable.
    However, what about this? what if you added a little content?
    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog,
    but what if you added a headline that makes people desire more?
    I mean CTS 095: Deploying Wi-Fi During Natural Disasters is a little boring.

    You could glance at Yahoo’s front page and see how
    they create news titles to get viewers to open the links.
    You might try adding a video or a related picture or two to
    get readers interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it
    would make your posts a little bit more interesting.

    • We do try to add images and more content. Sometimes we post it a little late due to family and other commitments so some episodes have less content compared to others. But we will try to do better.

More from this show

Episode 95