Slides from class presentation

For a dystopian view of how this would play out in an extreme situation, see One Second After - although this doesn't take into account such factors as the Dunkirk Spirit.

Such an "infrastructure failure" can be local, regional, national or even international, and can be short-lived or prolonged. Short lived and local, such as often happens after severe weather or winter storms is quite different to, say, a potential solar-flare induced outage which could be national and last years.

Think about communications and information flow - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Within the bounds of the infrastructure failure, we have a "dark zone" - with maybe some "leaky boundaries". Outside the bounds is the "light zone". There are two concerns: how to communicate within the dark zone, and how to get reliable information into and out of the dark zone. What works for getting information out and in of the "dark zones"? And for communication within the dark zone? What is infrastructure-independent, and what is infrastructure dependent? By infrastructure dependent, we mean communication does not require any intermediary infrastructure between start and end points)


Light Zone Technology
Dark Zone Technology
Local (0-10 miles)
Internet
Landline Phone
Cell Phone
Repeater Radio Nets
Voice, Messenger
Simplex VHF/UHF Radios
Ham Radio
FM Radio
Regional (10-100 miles)
Internet
Landline Phone
Cell Phone
Repeater Radio Nets
Cable TV
VHF Radio
Medium Wave / FM Radio
Shortwave Radio
Broadcast TV
National/International
(>100 miles)
Internet
Landline Phone
Cell Phone
Cable TV
Satellite TV
Satellite Phones
Shortwave Radio
Satellite Phones
Cell phone - Internet?

We have a small number of real-world case studies to work with, including the Southern Brazil Blackout of 1999, the NorthEast Blackout of 2004 and Hurricane Sandy

Tabletop: You are at home, on a weekday evening, watching TV and doing some work on your laptop. Without any warning, the power goes out, killing the TV, phone and your internet connection. Your smartphone appears to still have a signal, but when you can not browse the web.

What happens next?