Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Vodafone Foundation Launches Cell Site In a Backpack

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the secret's-in-the-backhaul dept.

Communications 37

Bismillah writes "The Vodafone Foundation's Mini Instant Network cellular access site is deployable in ten minutes and can be carried on as hand luggage on commercial airliners. It's only 2G, but hey ..." This reminds me a bit of the Gargoyles in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and useful for more than just emergencies.

cancel ×

37 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Obvious use (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374373)

Great for spying on people's phone communications.

Re:Obvious use (3, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 6 months ago | (#46374729)

[Obvious use]...Great for spying on people's phone communications

Or, alternately, enabling people to set up their own local networks (throw in a dash of encryption, maybe?) when a government shuts down the carriers to aid in suppressing mass political/popular opposition, protests, marches, demonstrations, etc.

It could ultimately be tracked down by the government, but even with no attempts to transmission-wise obscure the source/location (well, lets be real...it would necessarily be on a low-power transmitter, so there's that) it's damned hard, particularly in a dense urban area, to locate a signal from the ground.

There's also the practical matter of logistics for the authorities. There aren't a whole lot of radio tracking & location vans around. The FCC has typically only had one or two in most of the States in the US, with exceptions for the larger States like California where the vast area of the State demands a larger fleet, but still relatively very few for covering a huge area. Michigan for instance had two (one was almost always parked and served as a backup vehicle against mechanical failures/repair) the last I'd heard.

Helicopters would be faster, but there aren't that many so equipped either, even in the military. The military signal tracking capabilities are more focused on weapons systems and target tracking, not domestic small-transmitter rabbit-hunting that doesn't involve something akin to a HARM missile taking out a half-block area. That might go largely unnoticed and be considered by many to be an improvement in large sections of Detroit, but elsewhere it would definitely cause mass anti-government public demonstrations, protests, uprisings, death, and violence.

And, I think we can *all* agree, here...

"Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Strat

This is actually an interesting idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46375735)

rangenetworks.com is making somewhat similar (but different) things http://rangenetworks.com/ (larger cells more, open source, different usecases etc.).

In any case, cellular networks are not what they used to be :-)

Power Source? (0)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46374435)

Does this come with batteries or do you just plug it into an AC outlet?

I tend to think of backpacks as being used away from power sources.

Of course if it did include batteries the TSA wouldn't allow it as carry on.

No I didn't RTFA - this is /.

Re:Power Source? (4, Informative)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 6 months ago | (#46374463)

The backpack cell site can run on 110/220 volt mains power or a 12 volt battery; it also has an enclosed battery with four hours run time, and can also run off a 62 watt solar panel if needed. It can also charge up to three phones.

Re:Power Source? (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 6 months ago | (#46374991)

There is some room left in the suitcase. They could have fit more battery packs in there - especially if they are Li-ion so as to not weigh a ton. Also, they could have provided some folding solar panels (it's not clear form the article if they are included or not).

a few specs (2)

jecowa (1152159) | about 6 months ago | (#46374495)

It has a 100-meter (330-foot) range and can handle up to 5 simultaneous phone calls and thousands of SMS messages. People will have to take turns, but it's better than nothing.

Re:a few specs (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46374511)

It's kind of perfect for setting up a command and control center and relaying assessments while larger quantities and supplies are being prepared and sent. I think this thing is meant to grab and go in order to establish communications while others are preparing more complete systems for shipping.

Re:a few specs (2)

myles2go (3557217) | about 6 months ago | (#46374637)

Our company provides something similar, up to 1.5KMs of coverage so maybe more practical. Battery power is important in the post disaster scenario. Often even the first reponders won't have proper communications set up yet and as a team need to be able to relay information to each other effectively. As someone noted, it requires some connectivity to a central location (presumeably in emergencies via satellite). Our solution works standalone actually, so has that benefit too.

An Italian company also has this EmergenyNET product, not sure if they are similar. Looks somewhat similar to what they announced.

You can find info on ours here - http://www.starsolutions.com/p... [starsolutions.com]

Gargoyyles (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 6 months ago | (#46374527)

Glassholes are what remind me of the gargoyles in Snow Crash. Gathering' it up!

Re:Gargoyyles (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46374871)

Indeed, there is absolutely nothing about this reminiscent of Snow Crash or, in fact, any other Stephenson book. None of them have featured a portable microcell, only portable computers. Pathetic bid for hits.

Fuck, this comment ain't going to get any better no matter how many minutes have passed since the last one I left. Slashdot, you're fucking lame.

Snow Crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374537)

Gargoyles in Snow Crash are more like people with an Oculus Rift/Google Glass hybrid and a lot of remote sensing gear.

Not mobile base stations :)

How does it connect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374563)

How does this connect to the rest of the network?
Don't most cell sites sit on towers for line of sight?
I'm wondering if you could use this thing when doing preliminary prospecting in the jungle.

Re:How does it connect? (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 6 months ago | (#46374595)

Well, we know this is Slashdot and nobody really reads the articles, but if people did they would find out that it used a satellite uplink.

Backhaul to Vodafone is through the Cobham Explorer 500 Broadband Global Area Network, with communications being encrypted through IPsec.

Re:How does it connect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374819)

Yeah, I saw that, but that doesn't tell me if I need to climb up a tree to get it to work or not, and how far away it will work.
Or do I need to drag a cable that connects to the Cobham Explorer 500 Broadband Global Area Network?

Re:How does it connect? (2)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 6 months ago | (#46376415)

BGAN is a high speed satellite internet network run by Inmarsat. If you have line-of-sight to geostationary orbit it'll work.

Good luck with getting that through security (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374589)

can be carried on as hand luggage on commercial airliners.

Good luck with that. But if you succeed, you will have nice cell phone coverage on the entire flight. Is this cell site actually intended to be connected back to the grid, or is it only for communication between phones connected to this one site?

Re:Good luck with getting that through security (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 6 months ago | (#46374621)

Is this cell site actually intended to be connected back to the grid, or is it only for communication between phones connected to this one site?

Back to the grid. According to TFA:

Backhaul to Vodafone is through the Cobham Explorer 500 Broadband Global Area Network, with communications being encrypted through IPsec.

That's a satellite modem that sells for about three grand. A bit over 0.4 mbps of encrypted data plus voice.

FUCK BETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374611)

Hey Dice. You just lost eyeballs. Getting redirected to Beta, and there no longer appears to be an easily accessible way to switch to the USABLE site.

I'd held out hope you would NOT make the foolish move to actually keep the new shitty design, but it's clear that's not in your plans. So, /. is not longer in MY plans.

RIP Slashdot.

Re: FUCK BETA (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374701)

Good riddance.

Re:FUCK BETA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46376589)

Cool story bro.

It's Vodafone (1)

Vollernurd (232458) | about 6 months ago | (#46374625)

It's a neat product, I guess. I'd be interested in seeing how it works in real environments with lots of sources of interference and reflection. Please, the article spells the company name correctly. Why doesn't the summary?

Re:It's Vodafone (2)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 6 months ago | (#46374647)

Please, the article spells the company name correctly. Why doesn't the summary?

The audience demands editing now?

Re:It's Vodafone (1)

myles2go (3557217) | about 6 months ago | (#46374657)

when there's a disaster, i don't think there's any interference if the rest of the network has been impaired or disabled at the affected area!

Re:It's Vodafone (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 6 months ago | (#46375719)

Maybe the spellchecker is in beta?

Re:It's Vodafone (1)

Soulskill (1459) | about 6 months ago | (#46375743)

Thanks for pointing that out -- I've fixed it.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46374753)

In other news, spine tumour rates are up 6000% in the Vodafone back-pack-mule division.

Now (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 6 months ago | (#46374959)

Now if we can just get politicians to carry these...

"Carried as luggage..." (2)

jafiwam (310805) | about 6 months ago | (#46374831)

Yeah. Right. Like the fucking TSA is going to let you aboard an airplane with THAT.

They'll have a new toy in the back room.

Re:"Carried as luggage..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46375751)

You do understand that the TSA is afraid of Papa Bear and Papa Bear runs both TSA and FEMA right?

Papa Bear would play a nasty game with the TSA agents that tried to stop a corporate based, technical specialty, volunteer disaster response group from taking required equipment to a disaster site.

Oh and just cause you might have forgot to RTFA that equipment is currently based fairly far from US flight space requirements, so little to no need to worry about the TSA.

Re:"Carried as luggage..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46375895)

more importantly, in a backpack walking around how does it tie into the PSTN network and what is the radiation exposure to the person wearing the backpack?

Re:"Carried as luggage..." (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | about 6 months ago | (#46376897)

that was my first question. Is the Operator supposed to wear this while it works?
Or does one put it in the attic of the house next door and just leave it on?

Re:"Carried as luggage..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46377641)

They have the backpack to carry it all .... just like it said "Carried as Luggage" not operated while still in luggage. They set it up after you take it out of the backpack.

Vodaphone / Vodafone (0)

rkww (675767) | about 6 months ago | (#46374921)

More lazy editing

I got beta forced on me automatically today (-1, Offtopic)

g0tai (625459) | about 6 months ago | (#46375065)

And to that, fuck beta.

Re:I got beta forced on me automatically today (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46376595)

Does "?nobeta=1" work?

Re:I got beta forced on me automatically today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46380083)

beta sucks .. and I don't even use or need javascript .. down with beta .. go to facebook betamongers ..


__________________________
"come as you are ..as you were .. as I want you to be"
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?