back to article Climate change makes phones obsolete: ITU

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has unintentionally weighed into all sorts of debates with a report stating that broadcasting trumps telephony during emergencies. In a statement and supporting video, Christoph Dosch, chairman of the ITU-R Study Group 6 says he feels the world may be experiencing more natural …

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Silver badge

Aren't you glad we have an international body to point that out?

Yes, seems obvious, but it's amazing how many people forget that telecommunications networks are built around average load assumptions. They do not handle peak load.

The only reason why electricity is different is because the wires would physically melt if they didn't dimension the network that way. (Or there'd be brown-outs, which burns out electric motors.)

Social media is "great" (okay, not my cup of tea, but regardless) when network coverage is present. Fat lot of good it is if a flood has just taken out the cellular towers in your area. Just ask the residents of Grantham.

Heck. Last time we had a big storm in The Gap, Brisbane, late 2008: we had no mobile phone coverage for two days. For us, ADSL and dial-up theoretically worked, but keeping the fridge/freezer cold and re-charging batteries was more important than an Internet service. If I walked out of the house, literally the only way you could get me was to call for me on 438.525MHz Mt. Coot-tha or 147.075MHz Mt. Cotton repeaters.

We could get broadcast radio, the hand-held amateur set I used had wideband receive, many others had broadcast-type receivers. But Internet services like Twitter? Forget it!

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Anonymous Coward

Well doh!

For some of us Point-to-Point internet distribution of things like TV and Radio is a total waste of time and resources when that signal could be broadcast to everyone over the airwaves.

Yes we might be considered dinosaurs but have you ever tried to call someone at 00:01:00 on 1st Jan? The mobile networks are deluged and basically unusable.

If everyone received their TV/Radio ONLY by streaming then it will only get worse. The only winners here are the Ad men (aka Big Brother Jnr) who get to know who is listening to what and when.

Broadcasting rules OK!

No where's my clockwork radio?

Yours, ex Mullard Radio Engineer.

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Re: Well doh!

I always managed to get through to people in new year no problems. Its a lot better now than it used to be.

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Silver badge

Re: Well doh!

As long as they don't mess also broadcast radio with digital nonsense! (Like DAB). The beautiful thing about plain old AM and FM radio is that the receivers are relatively simple, robust and work for longer on battery than fancy digital widgetry. Perfect for emergencies.

(As every schoolboy knows, or used to know, you can even build an AM receiver that works with no batteries at all.)

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Bronze badge

Re: Well doh!

> The beautiful thing about plain old AM and FM radio is that the receivers are relatively simple

As are the transmitters...

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Happy

Re: Well doh!

An up-vote for you sir, as you are right, and as for.

"As every schoolboy knows, or used to know, you can even build an AM receiver that works with no batteries at all.)"

Been there, and did that, although the transmitter did need a battery, but otherwise nearly as simple.

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Silver badge

Re: Well doh!

Indeed, streaming via the 'net is actually a stupid idea the way it's done these days. That's what "multicast" is supposed to be for; sending streams in a one-to-many fashion. Those live streams you see every now and then? Those were supposed to be multicast, not done via zillions of TCP/IP unicast connections hogging Gb/s worth of bandwidth sending the same stuff!

As much as IT is my job, I'm also one of those that is fully aware that in catastrophic situations, I'd rather have an actual landline and a ham radio. Cellphones are usually the first thing to go, followed by mobile data services, then regular wired internet services. Landlines are next, but of course you'll always have the airwaves to transmit your SOS.

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"Climate Change"

Why does the author think Typhoon Haiyan is caused by manmade climate change, when the iPCC doesn't? If climate change really is "happening" then it cannot be causing an increase in cyclones, which are at a 40 year low.

The only answer is that Mr Chirgwin has failed to shed his medieval ancestors' superstitions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Climate Change"

The article blamed natural disasters on climate change... I'd like to know how that contributed to the Japan earthquake and tsunami and maybe even the Russian meteorite...

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Re: "Climate Change"

Mr Chirgwin has not asserted that Typhoon Haiyan or any other natural disaster has been caused by Climate Change.

It was Mr Dosch that Mr Chirgwin has reported as making that suggestion. Don't shoot the messenger.

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Silver badge
Coat

Someone send Ofcom a Radio

Maybe a TV.

Then dig up their fibre.

You listening to this Ofcom, Comreg, FCC?

Issue Mobile licences for free and put VAT on the calls. Remove the Licence revenue stream from Regulators. Remove Regulator levy on Comms companies. Currently Ofcom and Comreg have incentive to destroy terrestrial broadcasting and it's actually their policy to kill ALL TV & Radio Terrestrial Broadcasting.

Repeat after me:

IP networks and Broadcasting are complementary. IP Networks can't replace Broadcast. Satellite and Cable TV can't replace Terrestrial. Digital TV works. But for various reasons Digital can't yet easily replace AM (wide coverage) and FM (local coverage). Maybe unlike TV, Digital Broadcast Radio can never be a fit replacement for AM & FM.

Mines got a Broadcasting Engineering handbook in the pocket.

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ITU is always on topic & on target.

Their big promise a decade ago was to get all our mobe chargers to be the same --- no more "Oh, I've got 2 types of Nokia charger, a Motorola and an LG here at hand, but I can't help you with that Sony Ericson there"...

At the beginning I thought all gizmo makers would standardize to the old-type Nokia charger --- so ubiquitous, on no trip whatsoever I took one as a colleague, host or receptionist would always have one at hand --- but no. So the ITU started designing one, with good specifications e.g. efficiency, and I hear it (from my beauf) was finished over 2years ago --- just in time to have about every gizmo charge from varieties of mini-USB.

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Re: ITU is always on topic & on target.

And I thought that the move to micro USB charging was a result of the ITU trying to standardise the charger.

Every day is a school day!

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Anonymous Coward

"The idea that broadcasting telephony is also likely to go down badly with those who advocate social media is the answer to everything.

......

As ITU points out, radio and TV broadcasts are “more likely to survive such events than other communication networks”.

Aren't you glad we have an international body to point that out?"

those who advocate social media is the answer to everything need their heads seeing too, or sent back to school to learn the basics. SM advocates are the worst kind of human being.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't do social media so will be blissfully unaware if the apocalypse arrives.

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To get the latest life and death info on Enormo-Disaster from the government

please "Like" us on Facebook and be sure to follow us on Twitter. Hashtag: #ohshit

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Silver badge

Right and wrong...

Christoph Dosch, chairman of the ITU-R Study Group 6 says he feels the world may be 'experiencing' more natural disasters and that the increase could be attributable to temperature rises.

The world IS 'experiencing' more natural disasters.

They are not happening any more frequently - in many cases, where we can measure things, they're happening less. But we're 'experiencing' more.

That's because an order of magnitude more natural event are detected, recorded and displayed to us through the ubiquitous self-monitoring media that we have created. Even 50 years ago a mud-slide in Siberia would not have been detected, let alone reported. Nowadays there will be a village close by, a picture of some fields sliding down a slope captured by a mobile phone, a Reuters report and a comment by a geologist, all within a few hours of it happening.

And we get to 'experience' it. What we need, of course, are figures of natural disasters 'happening' over the past 100 years with the detection capabilities we have today. Which we won't get...

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FAIL

Re: Right and wrong...

Yes, there ARE more natural disasters, and more to the point, they are (on average) bigger and do more damage. Don't take my word for it, go straight to the people who have been obsessively measuring and carefully counting disasters for longer than you have been alive, and doing it 'coz their livelihood depends on getting it right: insurance and especially reinsurance companies. No climate change doubters there: they KNOW they are paying out more and more often and they kindly send you written advice of that every year. (Hint: look for the bit with the number on it. There is a "$" or "£" sign in front of it..)

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Re: Right and wrong...

There is far more being insured today than ever before. Of course payouts increase. Take any single modern city on the planet and compare how much it would cost to rebuild today vs 50 years ago. Even adjusting the dollars for inflation, there would still be a difference of several orders of magnitude. And that is comparing the result of only 1 disaster.

Increased costs and payouts are not an indication of changes in weather. They are an indication of Changes in how much is being insured.

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FAIL

Re: Right and wrong...

Of course there is more being insured and of course there is such a thing as inflation. However, the insurance industry is a bit smarter than the average Register denier, they have been aware of the increasing risks posed by climate change for decades now.

For example: "Munich Re has had climatologists on board since 1974 ..... They have been doing this because it impacts their bottom line. When they began they didn't know whether human activity was the cause of climate change. They only knew that they were witnessing a very suspicious trend in all the accumulated data. What Munich Re can show us is compelling evidence ... of rising insured and uninsured losses from natural disasters going back to 1980 ..... Of course not all these losses are related to climate change. The Fukushima disaster was brought on by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami leading to over $400 billion in total losses in 2011. And the company also acknowledges the rise in the world's population with much of the growth inhabiting low-lying coastal and riverine areas plays a considerable role in these rising losses. But floods, forceful hurricanes and typhoons, droughts, forest and brush fires are on the rise. Data shows that extreme meteorological events which usually ranged between 200 and 600 per year from 1980 to 1996, have risen above 800 five times since 2006. At the same time earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and non-weather catastrophes have actually declined since 2000." - https://www.wfs.org/blogs/len-rosen/reinsurance-business-knows-about-climate-change

See also

* Mutually Insured Destruction - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/magazine/mutually-insured-destruction.html?_r=0

* No climate-change deniers to be found in the reinsurance business - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/an-industry-that-has-woken-up-to-climate-change-no-deniers-at-global-resinsurance-giant/article15635331/?page=all

It's not just the gigantic European reinsurers. Here is the President of the Reinsurance Association of America: “The industry is at great financial peril if it does not understand global and regional climate impacts, variability and developing scientific assessment of a changing climate”.

Or you can try Australia: Costs soar for reinsurers - http://www.smh.com.au/business/costs-soar-for-reinsurers-20130217-2el7q.html

Wherever you look, the answers are the same: insurance companies are seeing more climate-related disasters and worse damage from them.

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Bronze badge

Re: Right and wrong...

"... of rising insured and uninsured losses from natural disasters going back to 1980"

Almost certainly caused by the modern trend of shoddy building practices ?

Also, let's stop using the euphemism "climate change" and go back to the proper name, "global warming", since the doctrine is that climate change could only be caused by man-made global warming through carbon dioxide emissions. Once you do that, you very quickly observe that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1980. Therefore there can be no climate change.

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Coat

"he feels the world may be experiencing more natural disasters and that the increase could be attributable to temperature rises."

"Feels" & "could" - That's proof enough for me!........ -.-

Before there were evil 4x4's and industry's reliance on the dastardly liquid hydrocarbon - we had 24hr rainbows, unicorns and smiling pixies.

The other day I tripped over my lace, DAMN YOU CLIMATE CHANGE! I went straight over and punched a 4x4 driver right in the face - obviously it was his fault.

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The one thing that always works in emergency comms scenario's is HF radio - specifically NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) where a signal is propagated vertically towards the ionosphere and is reflected back to ground in an parasol illumination pattern covering hundreds of miles. Gets over any V/UHF line of sight issues and is extremely robust, especially when coupled with modern digital modulation schemes such as Olivia which can resolve signals -13dB below the noise floor. I've used 500mW to establish reliable comms over 500 miles.

No need to put up large antenna structures or run kW of power - a low slung dipole as an inverted Vee with an apex of about 8m and ends close to ground is all that is needed.

But ITU-R also deem the best use of HF spectrum is PLT and g.fast.

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Silver badge
Holmes

Really.

This is the reason I still have a landline. I still haven't purchased a CB radio, but I probably will do sometime the next year; theoretically Civil Protection guidelines mandate a CB radio in our apartment block. I'm still buying one as I'd rather be safe and sorry; earthquakes are common over here.

In my experience, after a quake the stuff will shut down in this order: Cellphone/voice, Cellphone/data, Landline/data and/or other Broadband solutions, Landline/voice. At least that's how it rolled last year after the 7.8 earthquake on March 20, 2012. Yipes!

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