Hurricane season is upon us, and storms have already begun to harass the
I had the privilege of visiting Rakesh and his team this week, getting a behind-the-scenes look at Cisco’s investment in using networking technology to help those in need when disaster hits.
After disaster strikes, the TacOps team can deploy within 72 hours – the most critical stage of a response. When a disaster cripples communications systems, the TacOps team can establish satellite-based communications so first responders, government agencies, and relief organizations can coordinate relief efforts and speed delivery of food, water, shelter, and medical care to those affected.
“As we’ve been more successful at getting the Internet into society, we realized that the network and this technology are going to get more and more critical to disasters as time goes on,” he said.
The NERV was designed and rolled out in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina struck the
From the outside, the NERV is an imposing tank of a truck, equipped with flashing lights, a satellite dish and a monstrous set of tires ready to conquer any terrain. Walk up the metal steps and through the doors, however, and you’ll find a full-fledged mobile networking center capable of establish interoperable communications among first responders in even the most ravaged environments.
The front of the vehicle has been transformed into a mobile office, complete with Cisco’s Integrated Service Routers that provide highly secure virtual private networks for emergency responders in affected areas. All of this is made possible through the 1.8-meter satellite dish on the roof, which provides up to 5 Megabits per second of bandwidth for voice, video, and data applications critical to disaster relief.
As Rakesh and I walked to the back of the truck, I felt as though I was stepping into any conference room at Cisco’s campus. This room is equipped with Cisco TelePresence, enabling decision makers onsite to manage crises and collaborate with emergency responders in other parts of the state or relief agencies like
“The goal here is once you’re connected to the Internet, you can respond locally and communicate globally,” Rakesh said.
The full-time TacOps team is made up of 14 members and supported by the
“There is a group of individuals,
TacOps is using
“It’s really cool to see what that means for everyone else inside the company and I think that if you talked to everyone on the team, this is one of the coolest jobs they’ve ever had,” Rakesh said.
Visit the Cisco TacOps Facebook page for more information on the team, DIRT volunteering, and photos from the most recent deployments!