Skip to main content

KDDI Prepares for Disasters with Vehicle-Mounted Base Stations Backhauled via Starlink

KDDI is a big fan of SpaceX's Starlink satellites. Earlier this year I talked about how it's working to solve rural connectivity issue in Japan with the help of Starlink. In August this year, KDDI signed an agreement with SpaceX to bring Satellite-to-Cellular (Direct-to-Device) service to Japan. 

Along with solving the connectivity challenges, KDDI is also looking at Starlink to solve the backhaul challenge in case if disaster strikes that destroys the ground infrastructure.

A press release in July detailed this as follows:

KDDI and KDDI Engineering will deploy vehicle-mounted base stations and portable base stations that use the satellite broadband service "Starlink" as a backhaul line starting in July 2023, and will deploy approximately 200 base stations, including ship-type base stations, by the end of fiscal 2023. The machines will be introduced nationwide. Through this, we aim to provide customers with high-speed, low-latency au communications even in the event of a disaster.

During the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, roads were cut off and optical cables were cut, making it difficult to restore base stations overland. Furthermore, as natural disasters have become more severe in recent years, there are situations in which it is impossible to enter disaster-stricken areas due to flooding caused by long periods of rainfall.

KDDI and KDDI Engineering have envisioned various disasters since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and have developed "ship-type base stations" that transmit radio waves from the sea in the event land routes are cut off, and "helicopter base stations" that enable communication in isolated areas in the mountains. We have been proceeding with the introduction and consideration of disaster countermeasure equipment such as ``amphibious vehicles and four-wheeled buggies'' that will enable the transportation of recovery personnel and equipment to areas with widespread flooding damage.

In 2023, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake, we will introduce base stations that utilize Starlink as the latest disaster recovery initiative. When a natural disaster such as an earthquake or typhoon occurs, by utilizing Starlink base stations and various equipment, we can quickly restore communications from "land, sea, air, and space," helping customers and recovery. We will create a safe and secure environment for those involved in the work.

A promotional video added recently (in Japanese) details these vehicles:

On March 2, 2023, KDDI conducted the "2023 KDDI Disaster Preparedness Training" (hereinafter referred to as the "Disaster Preparedness Training") at the Minato Mirai earthquake-resistant berth in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. KDDI conducts large-scale drills in cooperation with related organizations every few years, and strives to be able to take prompt countermeasures in the event that a large-scale disaster actually occurs. Approximately 150 people participated in this disaster response drill, including representatives from various related organizations such as the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and Yokohama City Fire Department

The following video from Japanese news channel provides a preview of this training:

Related Posts


Popular posts from this blog

Laser Inter-Satellite Links (LISLs) in a Starlink Constellation

When we first talked about Starlink back in 2019 , we saw in the video that the concept involved laser communication to communicate between the satellites. While the initially launched satellites did not have the laser communication mechanism built in, it looks like they are being added to the newer ones.  A report from Fast Company in late 2021 said: One of the next big upgrades in telecom will involve satellites firing lasers at each other—to beam data, not blow stuff up. The upside of replacing traditional radio-frequency communication with lasers, that encode data as pulses of light, can be much like that of deploying fiber-optic cable for terrestrial broadband: much faster speeds and much lower latency. “Laser links in orbit can reduce long-distance latency by as much as 50%, due to higher speed of light in vacuum & shorter path than undersea fiber,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted in July about the upgrade now beginning for that firm’s Starlink satellite constellation. The

IEEE 802.11bn Ultra High Reliability (UHR), a.k.a. Wi-Fi 8

Back in 2020 we looked at the introductory post of Wi-Fi 7 which was followed up by a more detailed post in Feb 2022. We are now following on with an introductory post on the next generation Wi-Fi.  A new paper on arXiv explores the journey towards IEEE 802.11bn Ultra High Reliability (UHR), the amendment that will form the basis of Wi-Fi 8. Quoting selected items from the paper  below: After providing an overview of the nearly completed Wi-Fi 7 standard, we present new use cases calling for further Wi-Fi evolution. We also outline current standardization, certification, and spectrum allocation activities, sharing updates from the newly formed UHR Study Group. We then introduce the disruptive new features envisioned for Wi-Fi 8 and discuss the associated research challenges. Among those, we focus on access point coordination and demonstrate that it could build upon 802.11be multi-link operation to make Ultra High Reliability a reality in Wi-Fi 8. The IEEE 802.11bn UHR: Whose Study Gro

NTT Docomo's Disaster Countermeasures to Keep People Connected

Recently I blogged about Disaster Roaming in 3GPP Release-17. While this will take time to be implemented worldwide, it is already available in Japan, maybe not in the 3GPP standardised way. Similarly, back in 2011, I blogged about Earthquake and Tsunami Warning service (ETWS) from NTT Docomo's Journal, it was two days before the  2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami hit. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters, which can have a devastating effect on infrastructure. To ensure that the mobile networks keep functioning, operators work extremely hard to ensure people remain connected one way or another. NTT Docomo has released a video detailing the countermeasures to keep everyone connected in case of emergencies. The following detail is provided with the video: DOCOMO's network is no exception, and our services could get cut off by a base station power outage, disconnected fiber-optic cable, or other malfunctions. DOCOMO established the three pr