Americans increasingly rely on mobile wireless communications for safety-related communications like calling 911 and receiving weather alerts. Mobile wireless networks face risks from physical incidents including extreme weather events and intentional and accidental damage. For example, in 2017 several major hurricanes damaged wireless network infrastructure, leaving many U.S. citizens without reliable access to wireless communications.
GAO was asked to review federal efforts to improve the resiliency of wireless networks following natural disasters and other physical incidents. This report examines: (1) trends in mobile wireless outages reported to FCC since 2009 and (2) actions federal agencies and industry have taken since 2013 (after Hurricane Sandy) to improve wireless network resiliency, among other objectives. GAO analyzed wireless outage data from 2009 to 2016 (4 years before and after Hurricane Sandy); reviewed FCC, DHS, and industry documents; and interviewed stakeholders who represented a variety of perspectives, such as industry, public safety, and consumer groups. GAO assessed FCC’s efforts to monitor an industry initiative to improve wireless network resiliency against federal internal control standards.
The STACS 200IH (Integration Hub) introduces a new level of integration with One interchangeable device enabling Voice, Data, ROIP, Video, Sensor information while hosting and providing the capability of real time incident information management. Unlike current solutions requiring complex deployment instructions and technicians the Integration Hub was designed to link new and existing communication assets and interoperate across all agencies and geographies in a wide range of field, vehicle, site, and platform applications. The STACS Integration Hub is sized for any user application at 8x9x2 inches and a weight of 4.5 lbs. ideal for Public Safety, Department of Homeland Security, Disaster Relief Worldwide, Military Operations, and Critical Infrastructure. As is necessary where time is of the essence the system is designed to allow any minimally trained user to be deployed and operational in less than 5 minutes.
Satellite, Cellular, Municipal Wi-Fi, Mesh, Infrastructure Backhaul
Three Ethernet ports, two USB ports and an internal WiFi adapter combine to allow multiple connections to a variety of external backhaul devices. INMARSAT BGAN, VSAT, ViaSAT and military satellite terminals are supported via Ethernet and WiFi connections. One or more Cellular Aircards can be connected using Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB cabled connections. Municipal wireless and infrastructure internet connections can be established using Ethernet ports or the WiFi adapter.
The STACS 200 system will automatically select the lowest cost, reliable backhaul from the connected devices and provides automatic failover and reconnect as network availability changes.