Avoiding connectivity horror stories
A modern horror story
Losing connectivity. So, it’s not quite the plot of ‘The Shining’ but the reality of modern-day life and our ever-growing dependence on connectivity makes a telecoms blackout a terrifying thought. From emergency services, to banks, to transport, to hospitals, virtually every aspect of life uses connectivity in one way or another. If the infrastructure providing the connectivity for these critical applications fails, there are significant consequences. The result is, the more digitalization, the more dependence on connectivity for every aspect of everyday life, the more crucial it is that the infrastructure is dependable.
As wireless designers and manufacturers this means working towards the most robust systems possible and stress testing them to ensure performance. However, it also means designing systems that plan for the worst, that offer our customers a connectivity safety net to make sure the infrastructure is suited to the mission critical nature of a growing range of applications.
Building a safety net
To give an example of what we mean by this, lets first look at how we offer this with our microwave solutions. Microwave backhaul is the backbone of mobile connectivity and essential when it comes to delivering a network that supports not only consumer usage but an increasing range of IoT and commercial applications. This makes continuous coverage more important than ever before and to fully support use cases like driverless vehicles and healthcare IoT, operators must be able to reassure users of the reliability of the network. They need to not only maintain a strong consistent backhaul connection but build in a much-needed safety-net to ensure if there is a problem, it doesn’t impact the end user.
At RFS we take a dual-band approach to delivering this. In our dual-band solution we combine multiple bands, for example E band, which offers ultra-high capacity and lower latency than fiber, with higher availability medium-frequency bands such as 15 GHz, 18 GHz or 23 GHz to enable that performance over longer distances. By using the combination of frequencies, we build additional resilience into the network. The bands work best in combination and, in the event of a problem, they act as a built-in backup to ensure that essential and much-needed failsafe that operators need to supply the connectivity for commercial, connectivity critical uses.
If the worst happens
Beyond a connectivity safety net, there are numerous other elements that need to be considered in pursuit of a reliable network set up. Very near the top of the priority list is fire safety. Ensuring communications infrastructure that can work in the event of a fire must be a priority, it allows emergency services the communication needed to work safely and ensures those caught up in the situation can remain informed.
This led us to develop our DragonSkin cable for the US market. This is the first in-building coaxial cable to pass the stringent UL 2196 certification test without use of a metal conduit or extensive wrapping making it easy to install and reliable if the worst were to happen. The certification test subjects the cable to the high heat and water conditions that occur during severe fires in buildings, verifying the cable continues to operate despite the extreme stresses applied to it. DragonSkin™ cable survives even when it is exposed to temperatures up to 1000 °C (1850 °F) for two hours then suddenly cooled down with water from a fire hose. This makes it one of the only solutions to meet strict regulatory requirements and in turn prove reliable enough to allow continuous connectivity in a situation that truly needs it.
As dependence on connectivity has increased, thankfully so too has the reliability of the networks it uses. That said, it is imperative to keep building on this to develop the very best in connectivity solutions to deliver the robust and consistent mobile networks we now need. Afterall, from the serious applications we have looked at today, to the teenager unable to access TikTok – for many a connectivity outage really is their worst nightmare.