Friday, January 28, 2011

Prepping For: Communications Interruptions

If you want to know just how important it is to have communications available during a disaster, look no further than the current situation in Egypt. Over the last day or so, the government has sought to quell the rioting by shutting down the internet and cell communications within the country so that people could not organize their protests or get information to the outside world about what is going on there. And don't think it couldn't happen here--currently Congress is debating their own "kill switch" for the internet, ostensibly to "protect against cyberthreats". Yeah, right. The Internet Society offered a statement on the shutdown, basically saying that such a move is just going to piss people off even more.
So what do you do to prepare for such an event? Here's some ideas:
  • Wired offers information about 'How to Communicate if Your Government Shuts off Your Internet'
  • Lifehacker also offers information on 'How to Foil a Nationwide Internet Shutdown'
  • One of the best ways to be prepared for such an event is to become a HAM radio operator. On a number of message boards, people in Egypt are asking about how to use HAM radio for communications but it's a bit late for that now. In order to use an amateur radio, one needs to take a test to become a licensed amateur radio user, then go out and buy the radio and other equipment they need for communications, then they need to practice using their radio so that in the event of a disaster they will know what to do. In other words, this is something you need to do NOW, not after a disaster happens.
  • Another option would be to use a satellite phone.
  • And as one article points out, dial up internet is another option (Google 'dial up internet services' for a list of providers)

The situation is continuing to change moment by moment in North Africa. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about what could happen here as well as give you ideas about how to handle such a situation. And the bottom line, as one article pointed out, without the internet, the country will suffer economic doom as most all financial transactions are done via internet these days. Prepare now for such an eventuality...


  1. Guess I'll quit bitching about my abyssmally slow dial-up--who knew it would give me an advantage if Uncle Sam wants me in the dark?? DEE

  2. I own a ham radio. I have no license. In an emergency would it matter if one was licensed or not? My guess is no but am open to other thoughts.

  3. I Super Sad Love Story (which is a satire)

    Three youngsters in his office throw themselves out of a high window after the Venezuelan EMP strike knocks out the web, and they realize that it is not going to come back on.

  4. Anon--In an emergency, any radio is better than no radio of course but I always suggest prepping before a disaster strikes. For radios, knowing how to use a radio and having a network of people who more or less "know" you through your ham net can be super useful in a disaster. You'd be amazed at how useful (and creative) a skilled group of HAM radio users can be when TSHTF.
    Diana--who'da thought it but yes, dial up still has its uses!