December 14, 2012
How 2 Microwave Networks Survived Superstorm Sandy
After Superstorm Sandy more than 8 million people were without power on the East Coast of the US and Canada, including most of New York City.
The week of October 29, 2012, “Superstorm” Sandy made landfall in the Northeast United States. Combining a powerful hurricane with a fast-moving cold front resulted in one of the worst weather systems possible. Sandy also took shape during the full moon and high tide. The storm brought damage and destruction from the Carolinas all the way to Canada before it moved on. There was tremendous loss of power, communications and general destruction of infrastructure. Sadly, there were also a number of deaths from this powerful storm.
So what does that have to do with Aviat Networks? One of the AviatCare support services that we offer customers is a comprehensive Network Monitoring and Support service from our North American Network Operations Center (NOC) located in Texas. From that location, we have the ability to monitor, manage and dispatch resources to address customer issues with their networks. Even before the storm hit the Northeast U.S., our NOC was getting ready to ensure our customers would be prepared for this coming disturbance. With our ability to monitor weather events in real-time, we can see immediately what is affecting a customer’s network from a weather perspective.
In the path of the storm, we had two customers who rely on Aviat Networks for the monitoring and management of their networks from our NOC: an E911 Service in Virginia and a low latency network that runs from Chicago to New York City. First hit was the Virginia E911 customer’s network undergoing a glancing blow from the storm but no less destructive than what was soon to happen farther north. Three of the E911 sites were brought down by Sandy. Within eight hours of the storm touching Virginia, the NOC with support from our Technical Assistance Center (TAC) engineers had the customer back up and operational. We were able to do this 100 percent remotely without having to dispatch any field resources to site. Using the tools we have, we were able to remotely validate that there was no physical damage and all that had to be done was get power back up and reset the equipment remotely.
The Chicago-to-NYC network had bigger issues. The eastern end of this network bore the full brunt of the storm and suffered considerably. Three sites endured long-term power loss and two sites were blown out of path alignment. Even though it was outside of the scope of the carrier’s SLA, we located power generators and got them onsite in time to provide power before battery backup failed. This work started even while the storm was underway in the area. Resources got to the sites through severe flooding, virtually impassable roads and downed trees and power lines. In addition, someone returned to the sites every 12 hours to refuel the generators for three days running until power was finally restored. As soon as the storm passed, we collaborated with tower crews on site to realign the links back to operational status. Within 48 hours of the superstorm, the low-latency network was fully functional and carrying traffic within the parameters required to meet its customers’ requirements.
This was truly a team effort and involved the dedication of a large number of AviatCare resources as well as some of our key partners. This is just another example of how we can pull together to ensure our customers get a level of care that demonstrates our commitment to excellence. Whether it is a superstorm or a super number of tornadoes—which we had to address in 2011—our NOC and TAC teams know what it takes to support customers during and after a natural disaster. We never wish for these things to happen but it is critical that when they do our customers have the right level of support to ensure their networks are operational in the shortest time possible.
Director, Global Support Services