The Vodafone Foundation has announced Instant Network Mini, an 11 kilogram mobile network in a backpack that can be deployed in just 10 minutes, enabling aid workers to carry out life-saving work in disaster situations.
A robust backpack that can be taken as hand luggage on commercial flights and deployed by non-technical staff, Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Mini can provide up to five concurrent calls within a radius of 100 metres and enable text messages to be sent to thousands of people to provide crucial information following a disaster.
The ‘network in a backpack’ follows on from the original Vodafone Foundation Instant Network, a portable network in four suitcases weighing 100kg. The original Instant Network equipment, which offers a much larger operating radius of up to 5km, was deployed in the Philippines within 24 hours of Typhoon Haiyan hitting in November 2013. The deployment enabled 1.4 million text messages and 443,288 calls in 29 days.
Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Mini was developed with Vodafone Spain and the Vodafone Foundation’s partners Huawei and Telecoms Sans Frontières, It provides a secure 2G GSM network. The GSM base transceiver station connects to a host network over a satellite connection. The equipment is particularly suited to providing a GSM mobile network in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and for delivering mobile money solutions to inaccessible areas. It has been designed to provide both voice and SMS communications to a small humanitarian field office in disaster areas.
Andrew Dunnett, Director, the Vodafone Foundation, said: “The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network has enabled thousands of people to reconnect with their loved ones. Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Mini is simple and quick to deploy and will be particularly valuable to those humanitarian workers without any other means of communication”.