Researchers Demonstrate Wireless Disaster Response System

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 18, 2003 – Members of the Center for Wireless Telecommunications (CWT) of Virginia Tech demonstrated their newly developed broadband communications system at the Digital Government Research Conference (DGO 2003) in Boston recently. This system will provide vital connectivity in disaster response situations such as 9-11. They also gave a similar demonstration at Science Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) Public Safety Integration Center in Herndon.

An impulse-type channel sounder based on ultra-wideband radio technology is an important feature of the project. Its operational application is to support rapid deployment of the center's broadband communications system by identifying usable radio paths (particularly non-line-of-sight or NLOS paths), characterizing the paths' transmission characteristics, and adapting the transmitters and receivers for optimum performance over these paths.

CWT faculty member Bill Carstensen developed and partially validated a geographic information system (GIS) tool called GETWEBS to quickly assess deployment locations for the project's hub and remote units. The tool uses GIS data to quickly compute "view-sheds" based on radio parameters and radio frequency propagation models. In a deployment scenario, GETWEBS can be used for what-if analyses as equipment is in transit to recommend specific deployment locations.

Team members who attended the DGO 2003 conference were Charles Bostian, CWT's engineering coordinator, Scott Midkiff, Tim Gallagher, and graduate research assistant Mary Miniuk.

Work on GETWEBS began with an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The current research is also sponsored by NSF under a Digital Government Award. Learn more about the center's work at

CWT Judy Hood,, (540) 231-8651