Truck-based based cellular base stations will go a long way in providing connectivity in emergency situations like earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as provided infrastructure support in big public events like concerts. And NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s leading mobile operator, is looking to deploy a fleet of such trucks – mobile, agile and able to provide lightning-fast 4G LTE connectivity.
The Japanese mobile carrier revealed that the LTE trucks would be able to provide mobile coverage that supports data streams of up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps). In future, some of these mobile base stations will eventually be upgraded to support download speeds of up to 112.5Mbps. DoCoMo has already deployed the first of the trucks on Sunday, and the company’s plans calls for a fleet of 30 trucks up and running by middle of the year. Each of these new LTE trucks has two large antennas that the mobile carrier can use to create a cellular network from scratch, or simply add bandwidth and capacity to existing networks. This strategy is not new to DoCoMo, as it already operates a fleet of 50 trucks to support its older 3G network.
In the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, it has been seen that Japan’s mobile networks are vulnerable and often go down in disaster situations such as earthquakes, heavy rain and typhoons. Japanese mobile users have now been known to pay close attention to which mobile carrier’s networks are more robust. This strategy of supporting tower-based infrastructure with a mobile fleet of base stations have been taken now by all the mobile carriers in Japan to quickly establish network connections in these situations. DoCoMo’s rival Softbank has even gone as far as using helium-filled balloons to set up emergency relay systems. These companies also compete to provide the best coverage at crowded events like summer fireworks festivals all across the country and one-time events like large concerts.
[via Computer World]
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