When the USNS Comfort, an 894-foot floating naval hospital, was dispatched to New York Harbor in late March to assist with the overflow of coronavirus patients, she had the medical equipment needed to operate during an emergency. What the ship lacked was the technical infrastructure to get online, reported ZDNet.
Luckily, this was just the job for Verizon’s disaster emergency team. According to Verizon VP Network Engineering George Riggins, “Unfortunately this is not something that we haven’t seen in the past. I mean, the Comfort itself is not something that we’re used to supporting. That being said, we are used to running to the point of crisis and moving forward to the sound of the guns, if you will, when disaster strikes.”
Over the years, Verizon teams have been “deployed to the frontlines with numerous domestic emergencies,” according to ZDNet. Now, these teams are supporting “pop-up hospitals, pop-up COVID-19 testing, staging areas for first responders,” said Riggins. “We’ve deployed fiber, we’ve deployed radio access networks, 4G LTE service, satellite backhaul. And that’s just in the Northeast region,” he added.
The technical parameters for each emergency strategy vary noted ZDNet, and outfitting the Comfort was no different. The ship did have fiber in place, but the location initially identified to host the circuit termination was deemed unfit, which required the team to relocate the setup.
Dispatching workers into “ground zero” of a pandemic was also a challenge. “We actually had logisticians the night before breaking out personal protective equipment and shipping it overnight,” said Riggins.
Regarding the network infrastructure implemented, Riggins explained, “We did deploy a network interface device. We turned up a one gigabit per second UNI, a user network interface to count up to the ship there. And then off of that, we provisioned ethernet virtual circuits, EVCs, to provide dual redundancy.”
The Comfort has already left New York Harbor and awaits its next humanitarian assignment, reported ZDNet. Similarly, Fred Ferares, director of the department of defense sales at Verizon, will be prepared for the next crisis. “What Verizon brings to a crisis empowers the information sharing and the communications necessary to bring the relief to whatever situation we’re running to.”
The post Verizon’s Connections Kept the USNS Comfort Operating Smoothly appeared first on Inside Towers.