Saturday, 12 May 2012

Softbank to deploy earthquake-proof, balloon-based cell phone towers

 After a devastating tsunami and earthquake shook Japan, many survivors were unable to communicate with their loved ones. Cell phone towers and cables had been destroyed, effectively cutting off access to the decimated areas for days. When many tried to reach their loved ones in the affected area, their calls were either forwarded to voicemail or answered with this recorded message: “This is NTT DoCoMo. Due to the earthquake, the area you are dialing is difficult to reach.”

And this disaster is going to happen again. Anywhere between now and 2016, seismologists predict the country can expect another major earthquake that will rival the 9.0 magnitude one experienced last year. But rather than wait for the inevitable, Japan’s mobile providers have decided to rebuild with future catastrophes in mind, namely floating cell phone towers.

Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications and internet provider not unlike America’s Verizon and AT&T providers, intends to deploy these balloon base stations by the end of this year. These mobile floats are tethered to the ground via ropes and a strong anchor. These mobile relay stations will serve as an emergency backup when land-based towers are damaged.

This solution may sound like something out of science fiction, but this fantasy tech has already proven itself on the battlefield. Try getting a signal in the middle of the desert in Afghanistan. Lockheed Martin has built floating towers to carry signals almost 20 miles away—no matter the terrain. Compare that to the 5-10 miles a commercial cell phone tower is limited to, and that estimate is just for flat landscapes.

As catastrophes can sometimes be unpredictable, it would be wise for other carriers, who have it within their means, to follow Softbank’s lead and not wait for disaster to strike first.

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1 comment:

  1. Good very Good brave idea, to be very frank as a individual in india i just imagined crazy idea of Balloon based Mobile tower few months(2 months) back. from then am searching for more info on Balloon based Mob tower. you can improve this above technology to Wireless and keep it above Earth at 60,000 feet what an idea?? but it works power u can boost from solar source.....My EMail id is, +91-9379469667 my no