German Region Uses Perle Routers to Help in Disaster Recovery, Flood Response Efforts
Wednesday, November 03, 2021 | Comments

A German region used routers from Perle Systems to help during the response and recovery efforts following a massive flood.

When the Ahr River, a tributary of the Rhine crested at 7 meters on 14 July, 134 people lost their lives, and hundreds more were injured. With the destruction of roads, bridges, infrastructure, and homes, it was the worst flooding disaster in living memory for the people in the Ahr Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

“The devastation was unimaginable,” said Roland Beuge, a first responder in the area. “People lost everything.”

Beuge quickly mobilized his Multi Technical Forces (MTF) team of volunteers to help in the response, recovery and restoration process. They secured a 2,500 square meter building to serve as a headquarters to house 20 on-site volunteers, craftsmen and up to 100 displaced people who lost their homes. It is also the storage facility for distributing building materials.

“We provide the basics like shelter, food and supplies,” outlines Beuge. “We coordinate all of the volunteering tradespeople and take delivery of donated items. We recently took delivery of 24 tons of building material to facilitate the rebuild.”

Reliable communication and access to information form the basis for an efficient response and recovery operation.

“Our IT setup is far from sophisticated,” Beuge said. “Most people use their personal phones and laptops. We had purchased an LTE router with Wi-Fi but, it quickly failed. I realized I had two rather large issues. First, we needed to provide Wi-Fi coverage to the 120-plus people at the headquarters so that they could access email, communicate with insurance companies, and stay in touch with friends and family. Second, I needed an LTE router that could travel with us in our disaster recovery vehicle, so we would stay connected to headquarters, and the internet, while we deliver supplies to the most cut-off areas. I approached Perle for help and they donated an IRG5500 LTE Wi-Fi Router.”

The IRG5500 LTE Router uses two T-Mobile unlimited subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. At headquarters, it is deployed as an "all-in-one" solution. This single box functions as an LTE router, a four-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet Switch, and Wi-Fi Access Point.

With local roads severely damaged and impassable after the floods, delivering supplies to the most cut-off areas is only possible by disaster recovery vehicle or quadbike. Ruggedized with shock and vibration resistance certifications and a die-cast aluminium IP54 enclosure for dust and water ingress, the IRG5500 LTE Router serves as the main connectivity hub in creating a vehicle area network (VAN). Global navigation satellite system (GNSS), included by default, enables real-time location tracking and real-time network clock updates for the router and any attached equipment. In-vehicle telemetry, sensors, and other devices are connected to transmit data to headquarters over LTE. While in the flood zones, the Wi-Fi is used to provide free internet access to volunteers, recovery personnel and homeowners in the area.

“Perle is happy to offer support and aid in the important work MTF carries out,” said Perle Systems Chief Operating Officer (COO) John Feeney. “First responders and field personnel need access to data and connected technology in and around their vehicles to enhance safety and responsiveness. The IRG Routers were specifically designed with this application in mind.”

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