Wireless Deployments Helping Katrina Evacuees

    September 9, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

VoIP has moved in to pick up the load where landlines and cellular towers have failed in Katrina’s wake.

Many services will take time to be restored to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. A number of companies and volunteers have made an effort to get telephone service back in place, using voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and wireless Internet technology to do so.

The Washington Post notes how America Online has moved an 18-wheeler equipped with a satellite dish and 20 computers into Jackson, Mississippi’s fairgrounds. In northeastern Louisiana, the rural area has had volunteers painstakingly constructing wireless networks for shelters.

By putting these networks in place, the volunteers have enabled people to contact other shelters as they seek family members, and to contact FEMA so they can register for federal assistance.

MCI’s SkyTel division has been building a wireless mesh network in downtown New Orleans, which should be online by Monday the L.A. Times reports. Intel will be deploying WiMAX, a broadband wireless technology, at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Having been decommissioned, the base no longer has phone lines. With thousands of evacuees in place, the Wi-Fi network that was setup there still needed a high-capacity Internet connection. A WiMAX connection will facilitate that.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.