Fail-safe situational information for phase-adequate communications in case of crisis

Co-funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

Duration: August 2014 – November 2017

The research project AlphaKomm, funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), is a collective effort where experts from many different fields gather together to better understand the challenges for the communication in crisis situations and improve the collective response.

The dependence of the society toward key infrastructure such as water, energy, transportation or communication is higher than ever. Further, these systems are nowadays extremely interconnected, which could lead to a failure cascade effect among infrastructures with catastrophic consequences. However, there are barely any communication and coordination procedures for the exchange of information amongst key players in crisis situations, thus the communication demand increases exponentially in such situations while its availability might decrease. The goal of the project is to identify potential communication risks both between crisis players and within the infrastructure, and propose preventive measurements to alleviate those risks.

The project is divided into three planes, namely the AlphaKodex, the AlphaWare and the AlphaNet. The AlphaKodex represents the protocols and procedures crisis players should follow to prevent an exponential increase of communication requirements during a crisis. The AlphaWare is the software in charge of gathering all the relevant information for the organizations involved and make it available to them. The AlphaNet represents a set of measures to make current and future cellular networks resilient to crisis scenarios such as the failure of energy supply.

The Fraunhofer HHI, as the wireless communication expert, is in charge of the AlphaNet. More precisely, the institute carries out the following activities within the project:

  •  Identification and definition of relevant crisis scenarios in cellular networks.
  •  Modelling and prioritization of traffic in crisis scenarios.
  •  Secure and efficient data management in crisis scenarios.
  •  Methods and procedures for the dynamic reconfiguration of LTE networks.

Within the project, different concepts and technologies such as D2D communication, group communication, renewable energy sources, wireless backhaul and distributed data management are considered to boost resiliency of current and future cellular networks.

Project partners: TU Berlin, Fraunhofer HHI, Berliner Wasserbetriebe, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, Vattenfall Europe Wärme AG, NBB Netzgesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg mbH and Berliner Feuerwehr.