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Communications Hardware

Vodafone Foundation Launches Cell Site In a Backpack 37

Bismillah writes "The Vodafone Foundation's Mini Instant Network cellular access site is deployable in ten minutes and can be carried on as hand luggage on commercial airliners. It's only 2G, but hey ..." This reminds me a bit of the Gargoyles in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and useful for more than just emergencies.
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Vodafone Foundation Launches Cell Site In a Backpack

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Great for spying on people's phone communications.

    • Re:Obvious use (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @07:27AM (#46374729)

      [Obvious use]...Great for spying on people's phone communications

      Or, alternately, enabling people to set up their own local networks (throw in a dash of encryption, maybe?) when a government shuts down the carriers to aid in suppressing mass political/popular opposition, protests, marches, demonstrations, etc.

      It could ultimately be tracked down by the government, but even with no attempts to transmission-wise obscure the source/location (well, lets be would necessarily be on a low-power transmitter, so there's that) it's damned hard, particularly in a dense urban area, to locate a signal from the ground.

      There's also the practical matter of logistics for the authorities. There aren't a whole lot of radio tracking & location vans around. The FCC has typically only had one or two in most of the States in the US, with exceptions for the larger States like California where the vast area of the State demands a larger fleet, but still relatively very few for covering a huge area. Michigan for instance had two (one was almost always parked and served as a backup vehicle against mechanical failures/repair) the last I'd heard.

      Helicopters would be faster, but there aren't that many so equipped either, even in the military. The military signal tracking capabilities are more focused on weapons systems and target tracking, not domestic small-transmitter rabbit-hunting that doesn't involve something akin to a HARM missile taking out a half-block area. That might go largely unnoticed and be considered by many to be an improvement in large sections of Detroit, but elsewhere it would definitely cause mass anti-government public demonstrations, protests, uprisings, death, and violence.

      And, I think we can *all* agree, here...

      "Ain't nobody got time for that!"


  • Does this come with batteries or do you just plug it into an AC outlet?

    I tend to think of backpacks as being used away from power sources.

    Of course if it did include batteries the TSA wouldn't allow it as carry on.

    No I didn't RTFA - this is /.

    • Re:Power Source? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @05:21AM (#46374463) Homepage

      The backpack cell site can run on 110/220 volt mains power or a 12 volt battery; it also has an enclosed battery with four hours run time, and can also run off a 62 watt solar panel if needed. It can also charge up to three phones.

      • There is some room left in the suitcase. They could have fit more battery packs in there - especially if they are Li-ion so as to not weigh a ton. Also, they could have provided some folding solar panels (it's not clear form the article if they are included or not).
  • It has a 100-meter (330-foot) range and can handle up to 5 simultaneous phone calls and thousands of SMS messages. People will have to take turns, but it's better than nothing.
    • It's kind of perfect for setting up a command and control center and relaying assessments while larger quantities and supplies are being prepared and sent. I think this thing is meant to grab and go in order to establish communications while others are preparing more complete systems for shipping.

      • Our company provides something similar, up to 1.5KMs of coverage so maybe more practical. Battery power is important in the post disaster scenario. Often even the first reponders won't have proper communications set up yet and as a team need to be able to relay information to each other effectively. As someone noted, it requires some connectivity to a central location (presumeably in emergencies via satellite). Our solution works standalone actually, so has that benefit too.

        An Italian company also has this

  • Glassholes are what remind me of the gargoyles in Snow Crash. Gathering' it up!

    • Indeed, there is absolutely nothing about this reminiscent of Snow Crash or, in fact, any other Stephenson book. None of them have featured a portable microcell, only portable computers. Pathetic bid for hits.

      Fuck, this comment ain't going to get any better no matter how many minutes have passed since the last one I left. Slashdot, you're fucking lame.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    can be carried on as hand luggage on commercial airliners.

    Good luck with that. But if you succeed, you will have nice cell phone coverage on the entire flight. Is this cell site actually intended to be connected back to the grid, or is it only for communication between phones connected to this one site?

  • It's a neat product, I guess. I'd be interested in seeing how it works in real environments with lots of sources of interference and reflection. Please, the article spells the company name correctly. Why doesn't the summary?
  • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @08:21AM (#46374831) Homepage Journal

    Yeah. Right. Like the fucking TSA is going to let you aboard an airplane with THAT.

    They'll have a new toy in the back room.

  • More lazy editing

Information is the inverse of entropy.