Engineers from Cisco
Systems, Inc. are preparing to set up emergency response vehicles with IP
telephony and wireless network access as they deal with the wreckage of Hurricane Ike on the
southeast coast of Texas.
Known as Network
Emergency Response Vehicles (NERV), the vehicles deliver voice, video and data
capabilities to damaged areas in the wake of the storm.
Vehicles like the NERVs enable customers such as the U.S.
National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency to lock onto a
satellite and provide communications when phone and data lines are down.
capabilities that the areas don't have," said Joe Lewis, speaking to Design
News as Cisco engineers prepared for the storm days before it landed.
two such vehicles, both built atop large truck chassis. The NERVs incorporate a
1.8-m satellite dish, a variety of different radio communication frequencies
(UHF, VHF and HF), routers, transceivers and a 42-ft extendable antenna. They
even contain a small area where Cisco can set up its Telepresence
video conferencing system.
phone network, PC and analog phone can dial in and all be bridged together and
put into a 'virtual talk room,'" Lewis said. "So you could have one user on a
mobile phone, one user on a UHF radio and another talking over an IP phone."
As of this report it was not yet known where in Texas
the vehicles were going to be staged.
assembled a similar setup during Hurricane Katrina three years ago. Because
Katrina wiped out nearly all of the city's dial tones, however, Cisco engineers
had to send signals through a satellite and across an Internet gateway at a
Cisco lab in Raleigh, NC,
ultimately co-opting a North Carolina dial
tone for their use in New Orleans.
the networking giant also staged its NERVs at the North
Carolina wildfires earlier this summer, as well as at fires near San Diego and in Iowa
flood regions during the Midwest flooding. One
vehicle also traveled to Hattiesburg,
MS a few weeks ago for Hurricane
Gustav, but was not needed.
See video of a Network
Emergency Response Vehicle