Staying Connected with Wi-Fi During COVID-19

HeadShot-Ruck-heather-300X300 Heather Williams April 10, 2020

COVID-19 ITDRC 2It has been four weeks since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.  Since then, for many, time has telescoped and feels much longer. The CommScope family, like individual families around the globe has felt this impact, struggled to adapt to the “new normal”, and rallied around each other.

In the spirit of the CommScope “getter done” culture, individuals and teams have worked to not only accomplish the normal day-to-day business, but also reached out to partners to leverage our expertise and business capabilities to address the needs facing all of us today. One of those partners is Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) a non-profit that provides communication needs to first responders and communities affected by natural disasters across the US.

ITDRC began monitoring COVID-19 in January 2020 and mobilizing resources to fill mounting requests when the WHO declared a pandemic. Volunteers responded and will soon deploy in four Tech Strike Teams to rapidly establish connectivity for critical sites, such as field hospitals and community hotspot requests as part of projectConnect.  As the pandemic makes its way across the country, connectivity is the difference between a state operating through the pandemic and becoming overwhelmed. This ongoing initiative seeks to provide internet connectivity to communities and neighborhoods that lack reliable access to broadband.

CLICK TO TWEET:  CommScope donates RUCKUS gear to the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) in U.S. for Wi-Fi in field hospitals and homework hot spots.

ITDRC is a volunteer driven organization and their COVID-19 assistance requires the technical expertise, products, and services of their Tech Task Force partners to effectively respond to this crisis. We are therefore excited to announce that CommScope has donated 150 RUCKUS outdoor access points (APs) and 200 PoE switches with a list value of almost $900,000. The PoE switches and APs will be deployed over the coming months across the U.S. to support field hospitals and homework hot spots. Joe Hillis, co-founder of ITDRC, reacted with “We’re honored and thrilled to continue our partnership with CommScope during this critical time. They continue to amaze us by contributing their people, products, and financial support to enable us to provide Wi-Fi access to rural and underserved communities.”

COVID-19 ITDRC 1The CommScope RUCKUS APs can run off sustainable energy sources such as solar power, enabling deployments even when the grid is down and fuel for emergency generators is scarce. The RUCKUS APs will also automatically adapt to changes in the environment or client device behavior. This flexibility and adaptability allow us to quickly and easily deploy a robust communication network that provides fast, reliable and secure Wi-Fi in even the most difficult and inhospitable conditions.

Wi-Fi is especially important during a pandemic like COVID-19, as it enables military and medical personnel to establish connected command centers and share critical updates. Wi-Fi safely connects patients, doctors, and nurses to their loved ones without risk of exposure. Wi-Fi hotspots have also become essential for students who do not have access to reliable broadband internet. Connectivity and access to laptops enables students of all backgrounds to participate in online learning and complete their assignments.

The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) was founded in 2008 to provide communities with the technical resources necessary to continue operations and begin recovery after a disaster. ITDRC volunteers harness the collective resources of the technology community to provide no cost Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) solutions that connect survivors and responders in crisis. Support personnel at ITDRC’s Central Service Center are continuously working to ready cache equipment for distribution. Being prepared for a disaster means imaging, testing, and updating computers and tablets.

We are in this crisis together, and connectivity is keeping that unity alive while the world distances itself from COVID 19. To learn more about ITDRC’s mission, to register as a volunteer, or to learn more about how to donate to their efforts, please visit our site: https://itdrc.org/.

About the Author

HeadShot-Ruck-heather-300X300

Heather Williams

Heather Williams is manager of Solution Engineering at CommScope.  When listening to music, the #1 most played song on my play list is Black Sheep by Gin Wigmore. However, the sound I love the most is listening to my husband snore. "With great power comes great responsibility," is one of my favorite quotes. My favorite animal in the honey badger. I love the smell of packet captures in the morning.