Use cases

Many use cases exist for the implementation and the automation of cell barring technology. Use cases range from preventing overload situations to recovery from overload situations and ensuring availability for e.g. first responders.

Keeping communication available for emergency services – the Boston bombing incident (2013)

Boston marathon 2013 incident resulting in an overload situation on the mobile networkDuring the 2013 Boston bombing too many people were trying to use their phones at the same time in order to get help or tell family and friends they were O.K. This caused an overload on the transmission towers. As a result emergency services had problems communicating with each other. AT&T even tweeted that day at around 5:30 p.m. East Coast time: “For those in the area, please use text & we ask that you keep non-emergency calls to a minimum” A Verizon Wireless spokesperson also suggested that customers in the area use text messages or e-mail to free up capacity for public safety officials.

With LIMA Network Protect, authorities could have drawn an polygon in the LIMA Network Protect Map GUI around the location of the incident and request the barring of all communications, except for calls to 911, for each SIM cards that is not assigned to users who provides emergency services like police or medical personnel.

This action would have guaranteed the availability of the mobile network for the first responders during the incident.

Improved recovery of a network after a natural disaster – Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (2012)

In 2012, hurricane Sandy resulting in overload situations on the mobile networkHurricane Sandy struck the US East coast. The storm severely damaged the mobile network infrastructure, among many cell towers. Due to the reduced capacity of the wireless network and the millions of customers who tried to make calls all at once, the remaining cell towers quickly became overloaded. This not only impacted the general public, but also severely impacted the communications between the first responders while performing their activities.

With LIMA Network Protect, our cell barring solution, a much faster recovery of the network for first responders and the general public could have been realized. A mobile network operator would in the impacted area initially bar all communication for everyone except the first responders. This ensured that first responders could keep communicating over the mobile network. Gradually, other access classes would be enabled in this area, e.g. in a cyclical manner providing limited communications to the general public during the period that the engineers tried to repair and recover the mobile network. This would prevent new overload situations.

Reduce the impact of overload situations on your mobile network infrastructure – Brussels and Zaventem terrorist attack (2016)

During the 2016 terrorist attack in Brussels an overload situation occurred on the mobile network around the incident. This overload situation started occurring within an half hour of the incident and spread throughout Belgium. What happened was that mobile phones which couldn’t connect to a cell tower which was in an overload situation automatically reverted to a neighboring cell towers, which soon suffered the same fate and also turn into an overload situation. Due to this domino effect, a local incident had a huge impact on the overall availability of the network.

Having LIMA Network Protect, the mobile network operator would have drawn an area around the incident, slightly larger than the impacted area, and would have barred the communications for several access classes, for everyone, except first responders. This would have prevented the overload situation and would keep communication available for everyone outside the area of the incident.