connectivity matters
September 10, 2019  |  Written by Adriana Falco

How the September 11 Attacks Sparked the Evolution of Rajant

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 began like any other day. It was a clear sunrise on the East Coast. Millions of Americans arose and drank their first cup of coffee of the day. Children hurried out the door to make the school bus. New Yorkers donned their business attire and traveled by foot, car, subway, or ferry to Lower Manhattan to arrive at work on time.

But this day would be like no other day and would go down as the single deadliest terrorist attack in the human history.

While many were just starting their morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists had already set the wheels in motion to carry out coordinated suicide attacks. They split up, hijacked four commercial flights, flew two of the planes originating from Boston into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City while a third from Dulles Airport crashed into the western side of The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Passengers and the crew on a fourth fought to gain control from the hijackers, only to crash into a Pennsylvania field. Everyone on all four flights perished. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on the ground and over 6,000 injured.

By 10:07 a.m. EDT, the world as it was known had changed forever.

Communication Meltdown
During the attacks, helicopters had circled the scene and issued warnings about a possible collapse of the Towers, but due to lack of interoperability between police and fire departments’ radios, hundreds of firefighters never received the life-or-death warnings.

Additionally, thousands of emergency responders were on the ground attempting to connect by phone. But cellular services were down, radio range was limited, and networks were overloaded. What was left for communicating was word-of-mouth—a primitive form, at best, in smoke-filled streets flooded with pandemonium.

Emergency operators were also overwhelmed, not just by the sheer volume of incoming calls but by not knowing the full extent of the disaster. More than 3,000 calls had poured in during the first few minutes after the planes hit the Towers and over 55,000 calls by day’s end.

There was also no way for the emergency responders to know which hospitals were full, which ones had operating rooms available, or anything else about where to best send patients for immediate emergency care.

A report by the 9/11 Commission identified communications failures as the “critical element” that undermined the response to the attacks—rescuers were forced to make rapid-fire, life-and-death decisions based on poor communications.

The Birth of Rajant
Prior to 9/11, Rajant’s founders, Bob Schena and Paul Hellhake, were working on new wireless technology for last-mile communications in the telecom industry. After recognizing how their work could address the significant shortcomings of traditional wireless technology—particularly when it came to mobile voice and data networks used by first responders—they redirected their efforts to creating a wireless broadband network system capable of being fully mobile, instantly deployed, self-configuring, and automatically fault tolerant.

In October 2001, one month following the 9/11 attacks, Rajant was established. The Rajant team envisioned a new, dynamic communications network based on a robust mesh technology that would deliver on the promises of mobility, scalability, bandwidth and immunity to failure. By matching these capabilities with the rugged design and tight manufacturing tolerances of the Rajant BreadCrumb® equipment, the company delivered on its promise of operating reliably in even the most demanding environments while overcoming the inherent complexities of wireless data networking. With the push of a single button, the BreadCrumb® device has the ability to instantly establish and integrate a wireless meshed digital network in almost any environment. The unique features, flexibility, and functionality of the BreadCrumb® device make it the preferred solution for those situations requiring the rapid deployment of a high bandwidth, ad-hoc network.

Through Rajant’s unequaled ability to turn mobile assets into network infrastructure, organizations can now be empowered to take private network applications and data and implement anywhere. Hence Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh® networks are deployed across a broad array of industries, including military, mining, ports, transportation, oil & gas, utilities, telecommunications, agriculture, and all levels of governments. 🖉

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