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.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

SBC-K7 Embedded PC for Instrumentation and Control

The SBC-K7 is an ideal platform for embedded instrumentation that combines an Atom PC running Win...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

TFX-19 Trifold Rackmount LCD

The TFX1-19 is a rugged military grade high performance 2U rackmount LCD panel display offering t...

P317xx Portable Computer System w/ Three 17" LCDs

The P317xx portable " lunchbox" system is unique in offering three 17" 1280x1024 resolution LCD d...

CCXR-17 Slideways Side Access Rackmount LCD Keyboard

The CCXR-17 is a unique Side Access space-efficient military-grade high-performance 1U rackmount ...

M4U20xx 4U Rackmount Military-Grade Computer

A 4U rugged military-grade computer offering the latest long-availability high-performance mother...

Large Fiber Collimators

Diffraction Limited Large Fiber Collimators are designed for long distance beam propagation with ...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

American Infrared Solutions

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms is a leading global provider of embedded computing systems and modules for a wide range of a...

Raycom Electronics

Raycom Electronics, Inc., a subsidiary of Electro Technik Industries (ETI), was incorporated in 1965.  The compa...

Trenton Systems Inc

Designs and manufactures rugged rackmount computers and MIL-STD-810 systems using both standard COTS as well as custo...

Sensors Unlimited - UTC Aerospace Systems

Manufactures near-IR (NIR) and shortwave IR (SWIR) cameras (available fully packaged or as OEM imaging modules), line...
Wire News provided by   

social activity

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

View the 2014 Buyer's Guide Now!


Mil & Aero Magazine

October 2014
Volume 25, Issue 10
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

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