Navy relief works wirelessly

The Navy has deployed a cellular telephone system that will link medical personnel onboard USNS Mercy with humanitarian assistance teams operating in Banda Aceh.

SAN DIEGO -- The Navy has deployed a cellular telephone system that will link medical personnel onboard the hospital USNS Mercy with humanitarian assistance teams providing post-tsunami relief in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Adm. Walter Doran, commander of the U.S Pacific Fleet, announced deployment of the cellular system at the West 2005 conference hosted by AFCEA International Feb. 2, the day the Mercy relieved the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier off the shore of Sumatra.

Chuck Saffell, president of federal network solutions at Nortel Networks, donated the system to the Navy to help support humanitarian operations in Indonesia. The Mercy picked up the cellular equipment in a tightly choreographed logistics operation at a Singapore port just three days before the hospital ship arrived off the Sumatran coast.

John Marcy, Nortel's project leader for the cell phone system, said equipment donated to the Navy includes two small cellular base stations that fit into suitcases and two telescoping masts with a range of just under two miles. The system can support 56 users in a closed-loop system that operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications standard.

Users of the Navy system can communicate with one another in Banda Aceh -- the headquarters for military, civilian and nongovernmental relief operations -- and with Mercy via commercial satellite links to the wideband Challenge Athena satellite dish aboard the ship.

Nortel supplied the cellular PBX systems while Cell-Tel Government Systems supplied the base stations. Global Broadband Solutions and Maritime Telecommunications are providing the satellite links, Marcy said.

He added that the system will only support authorized users to ensure that calls get through without interference from other users. The closed system will also reduce the load on the limited commercial cellular systems operating in Banda Aceh. The system can also support personnel from Project Hope and the World Health Organization.

Although Nortel has donated the system specifically for use in Banda Aceh, company officials see a potential for future sales of such systems to support other humanitarian relief operations, Saffell said. Linton Wells, the Defense Department's CIO, said in a speech here that one of the lessons learned from the extensive tsunami relief operations is the need for the U.S. military to develop "peace nets" or "social networks" to communicate with civil authorities during such operations.

The DOD Office of Force Transformation has worked in Indonesia since late January to set up such networks through a contract with MindTel. David Warner, MindTel's director of medical intelligence, said his company has worked to bridge the gap between DOD's classified and unclassified networks and networks operated by civil authorities, including United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations operating in Indonesia.

Because of the security requirements that govern the use of even the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network, MindTel transferred data from one network to another via recordable media, such as CDs and DVDs, Warner said. This approach to moving data, especially imagery, proved to be a good way to work around the limited bandwidth available in Indonesia.

Early in the operation, MindTel officials used helicopters to fly imagery information from U.S. military units to civil agencies and nongovernmental organizations, Warner said. The company eventually managed to establish a "social network" node on the Lincoln, and the distance for moving recordable media shrank from a matter of miles to a matter of feet between two workstations.

Warner agreed with Wells that DOD should develop networks and policies that would make it easier to set up disaster relief operations in the future.

NEXT STORY: NASA to test adaptable computer

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.