Disaster Tech Lab

Irish Voluntary Organisation Deploys Solutions for Ruggedised WiFi 

SUMMARY

Disaster Tech Lab, a disaster relief organisation based in Ireland, was faced with the challenge of providing Internet connectivity for natural disaster zones and refugee camps that do not have the electrical infrastructure necessary for wired connectivity. By deploying Cradlepoint solutions, this nonprofit organisation can provide first response emergency connectivity where it is needed most. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Disaster Tech Lab uses WiFi to reconnect disconnected communities in disaster zones across the globe. It also supports other disaster response organisations by providing IP-based communication services. In between deployments it researches and develops new technologies in order to improve disaster response work. Disaster Tech has responded to a number of disasters worldwide, including Hurricane Sandy in the USA, the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, as well as disasters in the Philippines, Vanuatu, Nepal, Fiji, and Ecuador. It currently has over 200 volunteers across 11 countries.

BUSINESS NEEDS

Communications networks often fail when natural disasters hit, but they are vital both for the affected communities and the relief organisations trying to help. This is where rapid response communications networks can make a huge difference.

For example, in the recent deployment of Disaster Tech volunteers to refugee camps in Greece, there are two levels of access necessary. The first level is a secure, password-encrypted network for authorities such as the United Nations, aid organisations, and the Greek military to communicate and process asylum applications securely. This is essential, given that biometric data is taken and processed for each refugee.

The second level of access necessary is an open WiFi network for refugees who rely on smartphones to keep in touch with their relatives and to communicate with authorities. Often asylum seekers are required to make their initial application to the Greek authorities via a Skype call upon arrival in Greece.

“After a harrowing journey, refugees arrive in Greece usually in poor health and estranged from their loved ones. They often don’t even know which country they’ve arrived in and are then faced with navigating the appropriate authorities and their respective procedures to claim asylum,” said Evert Bopp, founder and CEO of Disaster Tech Lab.

SOLUTION

Disaster Tech Lab is using Cradlepoint’s COR Series routing platform to get the job done. This is a compact, ruggedised 3G/4G/LTE router that provides highly available, cloud-managed networking for extreme environments. 

“Cradlepoint’s technology enables us to almost immediately set up a temporary Internet connection while we work on building a more permanent network.” — Evert Bopp, Disaster Tech Lab Founder & CEO 

The COR Series is designed for mission-critical connectivity in environments such as police cars, ambulances, and marine fleets. The cloud-managed solution scales quickly and is engineered to withstand extreme temperatures, humidity, shocks, vibrations, dust, water splash, reversed polarity, and transient voltages. Cradlepoint’s Enterprise Cloud Management (NCM) software allows Disaster Tech Lab to monitor and troubleshoot locally on the ground.

With Cradlepoint solutions, Disaster TechLab is able to provide invaluable, always-on 4G LTE WiFi connectivity in some of the most devastated areas of the world, without having to question its reliability. Disaster Tech Lab can now provide the secure and reliable transmission of data when it matters most.

BENEFITS

Mission-critical connectivity: Designed to deliver mission-critical, always- on connectivity in even the most challenging environments, Cradlepoint’s COR Series provides enterprise-grade 3G/4G/ LTE communications and supports a host of other standards that are essential to communications anywhere in the world.

“Cradlepoint’s COR Series routing platforms are so easy to use and durable. We can get connectivity available in a couple of hours of refugees arriving at a new location,” said Bopp.

Durability: With Disaster Tech Lab and its volunteers constantly on the move all over the world across a number of terrains and conditions, the ruggedised COR Series routing platform’s metal housing, shock and vibration protection, and built-in modem are essential.

“There’s barely any sanitation in these camps, let alone electricity and WiFi provision. Providing reliable and robust 3G and 4G LTE connectivity is often a lifeline— quite literally,” added Bopp.