Vigilant monitoring of mountainous forest is very difficult and expensive – but a fire that takes hold can be even more expensive. The fires in
The system tested in remote forest areas of Coimbra in Portugal uses WiMAX, a microwave access technology that can deliver data at up to 75 megabits per second over a range of 70km between fixed points (802.16.d), or its mobile version can provide 15mb/s over a four-kilometre radius (802.16.e). With WiMAX, remote spots can have a broadband connection without the need to lay expensive cable.
“We selected this environment to test our WiMAX solution because in a normal city or town you have plenty of communications channels, such as UMTS telephony or ADSL,” says Enrico Angori, a leading researcher on the project. “It is in extremely remote areas that it makes sense to use this wireless technology.”
WiMAX is not new. But the EU-funded WEIRD research team behind the Portuguese project extended the resilience and flexibility of the WiMAX technology. Bi-directionality was also tested, meaning that the fire monitors can pan or zoom onto a potential trouble spot with the remote cameras as well as receive signals from them....WEIRD researchers also developed software that hides the complexity of the configuration of the end-to-end communication channel. Whatever equipment or versions of WiMAX are used, an ordinary user can quickly and easily establish an end-to-end communication path, allowing them to concentrate on what is important – their job.
Further improvements in seamless handover of a communication flow from one system to another will be a future area of focus for the team, according to Giuseppe Martufi, another researcher with WEIRD....Forest fire burns on the Greek island, Zakynthos, during the summer fires of 2007. Photo by Carl Osbourn, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License