Network resilience

We don’t notice how dependent we have become on our mobile networks, until they fail. Only then, we notice that it’s not for granted being able to communicate anywhere, anytime.  Such moments make us realize just how vulnerable we are. This is easy to overlook when the signal reception deteriorates on New Year’s Eve, when everybody wants to convey their best wishes at the same time. A power failure that causes a cell tower to breakdown, which in turn overloads another nearby mast, is generally resolved quickly as well.

tsunami FukushimaHowever, what if there is a huge calamity, like an earthquake or a flood? The network traffic during the tsunami in Japan was fifty to sixty times larger than usual. Even if the infrastructure itself wouldn’t have been damaged, the increased demand on the mobile communication system would have caused the network to fail. In a situation where the emergency services need to be reachable, this is an absolute disaster.

How do we make the network accessible again? By excluding a part of the calls in the area surrounding the calamity: this is what we call a ‘cell barring’. First-aid workers and others, who need the mobile network the most, are prioritized by immediate and accurate network interventions. During the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, users (including emergency services) were requested not to call, but rather to use WhatsApp instead: Under the given circumstances this was not the most useful means of communication, however it was the only way the network could cope.

“I immediately tried to call Brussels, but phone calls were not possible anymore. Only data communication still worked.” – General E. Testelmans, head Belgian military intelligence ADIV – source: de Standaard

The usage of LIMA Network Protect, a powerful tool from Group 2000, for managing critical networks and cell barring would have prevented this. By deploying this tool, we help mobile network operators in creating future-proof ‘smart cities’ that communicate resilient and prevent failing communications.

Below whiteboard animation tells you more about our LIMA Network Protect solution.