Hybrid Networks - Free Space Optics to Balloon Mounted Wireless LAN for Remote Emergency Operations

A. Harris, M.K. Al Akkoumi, F.N. Beainy, R.C. Huck, P.K. Verma, and H.H. Refai (USA)

Keywords

Emergency Communications, freespace optics, wireless LAN, hybrid networks, remote wireless communications

Abstract

This paper experimentally analyzes the physical layer of a hybrid free-space optical / wireless balloon mounted LAN in remote locations for emergency operations. 802.11x wireless technologies provide an attractive solution for the establishment of a network access area with the ability to transport data, voice, and video but does not provide a simple mechanism for connection to a remote backbone network. During an emergency, gaining access to the data, voice, and video from the remote location at an Emergency Operations Center can greatly enhance emergency response management. Free-space optical communications are capable of providing the necessary connectivity to a remote backbone network. Based on the advantages of free-space optical and 802.11x wireless technology, a hybrid physical layer scheme is proposed that allows for a remote wireless access area to be optically connected to an existing network following the destruction of existing communication lines. This can be further expanded to areas where a communication infrastructure has never existed but the need for connectivity is required in an emergency.

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