Feeds

Earthquake killed your network? Satellite-over-balloon to the rescue!

Softbank upgrades Japanese disaster recovery technology with space link

Boost IT visibility and business value

Two years after the devastating Sendai earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked north-east Japan, mobile operator Softbank has updated its floating mobile phone base station system to include satellite comms for extra resilience.

Networks faltered after the 2011 quake, with mobile phone towers knocked out of action. Softbank’s answer was an emergency mobile relay system involving a helium-filled balloon floating around 100 metres off the ground.

Said balloon was fitted with a 3G base station capable of transmitting a signal in a radius of more than 3km and microwave transmitter for backhaul.

This transmitter can apparently beam down to a ground truck up to 5km away which is usually plugged into the rest of the cell infrastructure, while power to the balloon is supplied through the same cabling that keeps it from floating away.

Softbank has since trialled an updated version of the system in which the truck-based ground station is set up to receive satellite communications. Such a system could be necessary in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster which knocks out most cellular infrastructure.

“In the case of a big disaster as long as we can see the sky and get the radio waves from the satellite then we can make our network available to people,” a Softbank spokeswoman told The Reg.

The network operator is currently finalising plans to place ten such balloon-based systems at various locations across Japan, she added. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.