The Serval Project: Creating a Robust Infrastructure-Independent Communications Safety Net

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    Abstract

    Along with transport, effective government and logistics, communications is a key enabling technology that interacts with each of these enablers to enable a community or organisation to mount an effectiveresponse to a disaster or emergency situation. Similarly, the loss orimpairment of any of these will have a deleterious effect on theeffectiveness of a response.In the present work we describe and present preliminary resultssupporting the feasibility of an experimental open-source communi-cations system, which we call the Serval Project, that uses existingcell phones to create a robust, distributed and infrastructure-inde-pendent communications capability, that while not a substitute for aproperly functioning infrastructure-based approach is designed tomaintain some communications capability when there would other-wise be none, and thus, hopefully, to help communities mount aneffective response when the need arises.This utility is realised in part by using existing telephone numberson the Serval ad hoc communications network, which ensures that notonly is communication possible, but that it will not be thwarted byundiscoverability of telephone numbers by users. The use of existing cell phones provides considerable advantage by maximising the probability that people will have access to the capability when need arises. The technology also has utility in creating a native communications capability when none exists or is affordable to a local population, or for providing a lower-cost communication solution, e.g., for internal communications within an NGO or field deployment, compared with alternatives such as cellular or satellite services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)603-604
    Number of pages2
    JournalAustralasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine
    Volume34
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventEngineering and Physical Science in Medicine and The Australian Biomedical Engineering College Conference: Exploring New Territory: Innovative Solutions in Medicine and Health Physics - Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Australia
    Duration: 14 Aug 201118 Aug 2011

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