Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Multiple learnings following Sandy

It seems a lot of things failed as a result of super-storm Sandy.  Here are a few examples.

New York Times 31 October 2012 
 *  "Power systems failures throughout the Northeast have been the main culprits in the shutdown of more than 20 percent of the cell tower sites in 10 states, causing millions of lost calls on Wednesday". "Slow progress was made in restoring some services."
* Emergency calls (911) were interrupted by the storm.  Although the service was re-established fairly quickly it involved calls being routed to different centres and in some cases the centres did not know where the call was coming from.

Wall Street Journal 31 October 2012
* People have returned to using pay phones for the first time in many years because mobile phone services were unavailable

Infoworld 5 November 2012
*  Many data centres were left without power
* The demand for mobile generators was greater than supply so that many of the centres could not establish back-up power

Prorepublica 1 November 2012
* NYU hospital's backup system undone by key part being located in flooded basement
* Langone Medical Center had spent several million dollars protecting its backup power system from flooding
* Had removed a fuel tank and a set of emergency generators at street level and switched to an “extremely modern, extremely reliable” system of rooftop generators
* One vulnerability remained, and it proved to be the system’s Achilles Heel. A portion of the hospital’s power distribution circuits, which direct the generated electricity out into various areas of the hospital, were located in the hospital’s basement.

One observer has made the following comment "Cell networks are the first to become overloaded, first to fail, and the hardest to restore."

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