When you stop and think just how far the internet has come, it can seem pretty surreal. Just twenty years ago, we were absolutely amazed at the ability to get online after only 5 minutes of waiting for dial-up.
Today, we’ve grown a little spoiled and become quickly agitated if the local coffee shop doesn’t offer free high-speed wireless internet. We have come to expect instant internet gratification everywhere we go.
But if you’re a fisherman (or a pirate), then your phone is pretty much worthless out there on the seven seas. Sure, you really don’t need to check your crush’s Facebook status while wrestling with tuna or trying to survive thirty-foot high waves, but it would be nice.
The most important reason to have an internet connection out there in the vast nothingness is the reason cell phones were invented in the first place; in case of a dire emergency. And in Norway, it looks like this reason is making a comeback in a big way.
The Maritime Broadband Radio System
The Maritime Broadband Radio system’s (or MBR) main focus will be in the event of an oil spill. If and when an oil spill occurs, the MBR will be utilized by alerting both those in danger (such as nearby sea vessels) and those responsible for recovery like planes and onshore stations.
This system will be much more effective than something like an emergency horn or a traditional CB radio as it has a range that reaches far passed anyone’s length of sight. Especially if it someone’s job to watch for these alerts and notifications.
The MBR will operate at 5GHz and offer speeds of up to 15Mbps. While this seems minuscule in your living room for playing Angry Birds, it is plenty of power to combat oil spills and alert the area of any other impending doom. And depending on antennae placement, it could reach a radius of 50km.
In addition to the MBR, there have been three bases installed on the Norwegian coast as well as ten new recovery vessels fully equipped with this system. If that wasn’t enough, they are also implementing a surveillance plane with the sole purpose of being ready for a spill.
Leave it to the vikings
“This is a significant improvement that allows us to communicate with all units participating in an oil recovery mission, and share the data without an internet connection. MBR allows us to respond faster with the right actions,” said senior advisor Kjetil Aasebø in a statement.
For now, this is strictly a Norway exclusive system but it is highly possible that it could migrate all across the globe if it is indeed successful. Furthermore, the MBR system could transcend well passed simply helping with oil spills and dangers.
Perhaps one day we could have a fully connected planet that aids in air travel. This could completely replace radar or even work in addition to it for an incredibly accurate detection system capable of protecting us from threats, emergencies, and even the elements.