Coast Guard adopts F4W and Crystal Group solution for Hurricane Katrina relief effort

By Courtney E. Howard

LAKE MARY, Fla. - The U.S. Coast Guard, just two days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the South, called on F4W to solve a critical communications problem at the Joint Naval Air Station in Belle Chase, La., which was designated as the operation center for USCG search-and-rescue efforts.

“Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, 3 million phone lines, 38 ‘911’ call centers, and 1,000 cellular towers were out of service,” recounts Phil DuMas, vice president of research and development at F4W in Lake Mary, Fla. “Twenty thousand phone calls to emergency services failed to go through the first day, and 100 TV and radio stations were off the air.”

This nature-induced communications gap contributed to the loss of life, and certainly presented a seemingly insurmountable challenge to those professionals responding to the disaster, including Coast Guard personnel. “Their efforts were severely hindered by zero communication infrastructure and unreliable connection via VSAT telephones to their air rescue personnel,” DuMas says.

Especially given the sheer expanse of communities affected, spanning multiple states, a reliable communications system was needed then, perhaps more than ever.


Members of a Louisville, Ky.-based Coast Guard Disaster Area Response Team search for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by L.F. Chambers.)
Click here to enlarge image

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thomas H. Collins offers insight into the severity of the situation. “In an average year, the Coast Guard saves 5,500 lives,” Collins said in written testimony last November before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on emergency preparedness, science, and technology.

“Within 48 hours, the Coast Guard achieved half of that total in Louisiana and Mississippi alone,” Collins wrote. “By September 14, Coast Guard forces had rescued 24,135 people by boat and helicopter and evacuated 9,409 more from 11 hospitals for a total of 33,544 rescues . . . statistically, seven years worth of search and rescue compressed into a two-week period.”

Solving the communications quandary, Coast Guard personnel turned to F4W, a developer and provider of rapidly deployable, mobile, wireless, broadband IP-based networks and communications applications for the transmission of voice, data, and video.

F4W’s products and services provide immediate networking capabilities and connectivity following virtually any incident that interrupts, compromises, or destroys traditional networks, according to company executives. Its solutions can be used on an ad hoc basis to address short-term needs because they eliminate the need for permanent communications infrastructures.


Crystal Group’s RS112 rugged server is integral to F4W’s TWEB network product line for homeland security and first response applications.
Click here to enlarge image

The Coast Guard tapped F4W’s Tactical Wireless Emergency Broadband (TWEB) networks. Specifically for homeland security, first responders, and law enforcement agencies, TWEB products are designed to deliver critical wireless communications networks and immediate connectivity in hostile environments and under extreme conditions, when traditional communications infrastructure have failed or have been destroyed.

Integral to the company’s TWEB product is the RS112 rugged server from Crystal Group Inc. in Hiawatha, Iowa. The RS112 helps users to control and maintain the wireless quad-division multiple access (QDMA) mesh network. The server previously adopted by F4W’s TWEB product line was unable to perform in harsh environmental conditions and high temperatures, prone to overheating, and unreliable.

James Shaw, vice president of engineering at Crystal Group, acknowledges the challenge of providing open-architecture systems, keeping the technology current, and providing hardware able to be deployed in harsh environments without a high price tag. The Crystal Group team meets these challenges head on by using commercially available server CPU cards and designing and building its own cards.

“We see a great deal of interest, particularly from our government customers, in computers that can take the abuse of mobile ground pounding, such as in a Humvee, and can withstand extreme desert heat for extended periods of time,” says Shaw.

Crystal Group servers take advantage of not only high-volume, high-speed on convective cooling fans, but also a conductive cooling approach that mimics that used in the avionics industry. Moreover, the RS112 rugged server’s all-aluminum chassis provides twice the thermal conductivity of 1018 CR steel. Both innovations contribute to an increased CPU ambient temperature range.

“F4W provided an immediate, reliable, wireless communications infrastructure on site, leading to the deployment of 12 Incident Area Command Control Networks throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida,” notes DuMas. The Coast Guard employed F4W’s technology, equipment, and personnel over several months in various locations, and continues to use TWEB networks where and when duty calls.

For more information, visit www.F4Winc.com and www.crystalpc.com.


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

XPedite5401 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Conduction-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module with Two GbE Ports

The XPedite5401 is a high-performance PrPMC/XMC, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ...

XChange3018 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3018 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. The XC...

XPand4200 Series | ½ ATR Lightweight Forced-Air-Cooled Chassis for Conduction-Cooled Modules

The XPand4200 Series redefines the limits of power, performance, and functionality in a sub-½ ATR...

XPedite5500 | Freescale P2020 QorIQ Conduction- or Air-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module

The XPedite5500 is an XMC/PrPMC mezzanine module targeting the Freescale QorIQ P2020 processor. W...

XCalibur1603 | Freescale QorIQ Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Air-Cooled 6U cPCI SBC

The XCalibur1603 is a high-performance, 6U cPCI, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ...

XPm2010 |3U cPCI PICMG 2.11 Power Supply with Integrated MIL-STD-461E

The XPm2010 is a PICMG 2.11 power supply that takes in a MIL-STD-704 28 VDC input voltage and pro...

XChange3019 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with XMC and Optional Managed Switching and Routing Support

The XChange3019 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. It pro...

XPand4206 | Rugged Intel® Core™ i7-Based Multiprocessor COTS System with 10 Gigabit Ethernet Fabric

The XPand4206 is a high-performance computing and networking platform for environmentally demandi...

XPedite6100 | Freescale Quad-Core, T1042 Processor-Based, Air-Cooled XMC/PrPMC with Four Gigabit Ethernet Ports

The XPedite6100 is a high-performance, XMC/PrPMC, single board computer supporting a Freescale Qo...

Related Companies

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...

MERITEC

Signal integrity leaders and preferred vertically integrated manufacturer of high-performance electrical and electron...

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...

Advanced Conversion Technology Inc

ACT designs and manufactures, since 1981, an extensive range of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies (switching, linear, ra...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

July 2015
Volume 26, Issue 7
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE