Texas A&M Professor Developing “Non-Infrastructure” Emergency System

FirstNet, meet your backup system. Radu Stoleru is a computer science professor at Texas A&M, and knows that when disaster strikes, power shortages and tower damage negatively impact network infrastructure and compromise emergency communication. So Stoleru and his team are working on an alternate solution that doesn’t rely on traditional connectivity.

Walt Magnussen, Stoleru’s research partner and director of Internet2Technology and the Academy of Telecommunications and Learning Technologies told The Battalion, “If the network is down because of the infrastructure damage, then this type of technology, sometime in the future, when it’s available, would let first responders get around those types of problems.”  

The team is working on a DistressNet-NG research project – a follow up to DistressNet, developed in 2011 – which will continue over the next three years. This newer system will allow emergency responders to have access to broadband communication and data, even in situations where there’s no communication infrastructure.

Stoleru said this new version will allow emergency responders to have access to broadband communication and data, where they’ll be able to send and receive video streams and communicate in situations where there’s no communication infrastructure.

“We are bringing new infrastructure, and more mobile devices are also able to talk to each other,” Stoleru said. “When you drive on the highway and see cell towers that allow your phone to connect to the network, if those towers are gone, we can still enable mobile devices to communicate, send data, receive data and also to process this data. This data processing that typically takes place in a cloud, we can do it on mobile devices.”

If the findings are viable after the 36-month research project ends, Stoleru and his team will test the network in the field with first responders and the public safety community.

September 5, 2017                

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