Restoring Connectivity: Movable and Deployable Resource ICT Unit (MDRU)
CVISNET Foundation, Inc.
The Movable and Deployable Resource ICT Unit (MDRU) is a device that can be quickly deployed to restore communications in communities in the aftermath of a disaster. The unit is self-reliant running on its own power source, and/or is able to harness other power sources such as power generators or local active power lines. It has the ability to accommodate communication and information processing functions that can be rapidly transported or moved to the disaster zone, and can be deployed within a reasonable short time to establish the network at the disaster site and launch ICT services.
An ideal MDRU is equipped with an array of communications equipment, servers and storage devices, and is designed to bring not only a communications infrastructure but also data center functions to a disaster-stricken area in a very short time. The MDRU system is capable of expanding by connecting to another MDRU and thereby creating an MDRU network. This extends the coverage as big as the number of units is connected. The project extended the MDRU to Designated Evacuation Areas using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). The project implemented an FWA IPAS (Wireless IP Access System), a broadband wireless point-to-multipoint communication system operating at 26 GHz that provides high-speed IP access up to 80 Mbps transmission rate.
The MDRU Project started in Japan as a result of an R&D effort by MIC and NTT due to the experience of the 2011 Great Japan Earthquake. Two years later in 2013 the Philippines was also hit by super typhoon Haiyan that devastated the entire Central Philippines and this is the reason that CVISNET initiated and requested NTT for the MDRU Project to be tested in the Philippines with the help and thru the channels of MIC, ITU and DOST.
The MDRU pilot project in Cebu, Philippines, focused on the actual implementation to the community level using ICT (Wi-Fi) as the main source of communications when disaster occurs. With a large number of the population using smartphones it is being leverage by the MDRU project to connect as many residents as possible with minimal training due to the familiarity of the Android applications. The pilot site is located in a tropical area that is constantly being hit by typhoons and severe weather disturbances. It is also a good location for the MDRU equipment to be tested in a hot and humid environment that can be replicated to other areas in the Pacific.
Aside from the equipment, the project also gathered more information with the experiences and results from the disasters that Japan and the Philippines encountered in 2011 and 2013. One of the relevant results of the pilot testing was the use of the MDRU equipment during non-disaster period or during normal times. It was noticed the MDRU could also be used to isolated island communities where there was no voice and data infrastructure. The output of this study is now called a "wireless IP PBX System".