Last week, the Washington Post reported that the second Gulf War will probably erupt in January.
A missile attack on Israel would prove an interesting tests of communications infrastructure, which has improved remarkably since the last war with Iraq, in 1991.
The last time around, each missile attack completely clogged the
Communications systems are built on the assumption that no more than say 1% of its subscriber will be using it at the same time, at peak use. The networks did not collapse under the load, but they couldn't serve everyone either. The problems even jammed up emergency services, some of which are based on the public phone system.The establishment of cellular networks highly increases the probability that we won't get completely cut off when everyone starts dialing, asking where the missile fell. In the United States, the September 11 attacks led to a surge in demand for cellular services. But Israelis didn't need the threat of missiles to hook up. Almost every Israeli family has at least one mobile phone. Straining the resources
Back in 1991, there was only one mobile communications company Pele-Phone Communications. Now there are four the veteran, augmented by Cellcom,
Cellular networks will be less vulnerable to missile hits than they proved during the recent terror attacks. One reason is that the strikes are likely to be at night, when most people are at home. The terror attacks were at mid-day, in crowded areas. The cellular networks are hardy. If one antenna is hit, the communications will simply transfer to another nearby antenna covering the area. The load on the attacked area will grow, but communications will not break down. In some cases the companies can supply mobile antennas to relieve overload, or to replace an antenna that's gone down. The cellular base stations are equipped with backup batteries in case of power failure, and generators powered by fuel. In case of overload, phone to phone short messaging is a good option. SMS services don't use the same network as voice calls. MIRS is offering an interesting possibility. Cellular aside, its subscribers can communicate using wireless technology. But that won't help get in touch with users of other networks, or information services. Note also that the much of the emergency services also use wireless, and in emergency they get precedence over civilians calling mom.