LLIS Notes from the Field: Learning from Hurricane Sandy and the Waldo Canyon Fire: Considerations for Emergency Wi-Fi Networks   [open pdf - 53KB]

"In the 1980s, MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte proposed an idea that became known as the 'Negroponte Switch,' the idea that technologies that were then wired (such as telephone service) would become wireless, and that technologies that were then wireless (such as television) would become wired. The growth in subsequent decades of mobile phone service and cable television both are examples of how this switch has been realized. Similarly in disaster response, we've seen a tremendous uptake in technology - PCs, tablets, and smartphones. When I first started seeing computers used in disaster response in the early part of the 2000s, wired Ethernet connections were the rule, as 802.11 wireless networks were then in their infancy. [...] In the rush of governments and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] alike to deploy emergency Wi-Fi networks after a disaster, recent emergencies have shown that there are going to be increasingly significant challenges for disaster responders to get the kind of quality of service they require. Solving this may require us to reverse the Negroponte Switch (just a little bit) in order to accommodate the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world."

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