One of the most alarming aspects of natural disaster can be the toll it takes on the communication infrastructure. The inability of survivors to call for help, to give information about the situation or to contact family and friends could make the already traumatic and stressful situation even worse. Under such circumstances cellular networks could be of primary importance, so keeping that in mind the philanthropic arm of Vodafone has recently launched ‘Instant Network Mini”. Vodafone Foundation unveiled this portable hub, small enough it fits inside an ordinary backpack.
The robust backpack is an 11 kg mobile network that can be deployed in just 10 minutes enabling people to stay in touch in disastrous situations. It can easily be transported on a plane or even carried on foot. Its equipped with a 2G GSM network providing five concurrent calls and sends text messages to thousands of people to ensure crucial information reaches as far as possible.
This equipment has been designed with a GSM base transceiver that allows it to connect to a host network via satellite.It provides both voice and SMS communication within 100 meter radius, whereas the original Vodafone foundation Instant Network, a portable network in four suitcases weighing 100kg offered a much larger operating radius of up to 5km which was deployed in Philippines within 24 hours of Typhoon Haiyan.
But this Instant Network Mini will be a great addition in the gear because its small, simple and quick to deploy and will be of great use to the humanitarian workers in providing a GSM mobile network in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. It will enable people to reconnect with their loved ones.