UMTS rapid response real-time seismic networks: implementation and strategies at INGV
- Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanolgia, Via di Vigna Murata, 605, Rome, Italy
Abstract. Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and its evolutions are nowadays the most affordable and widespread data communication infrastructure available almost world wide. Moreover the always growing cellular phone market is pushing the development of new devices with higher performances and lower power consumption. All these characteristics make UMTS really useful for the implementation of an "easy to deploy" temporary real-time seismic station. Despite these remarkable features, there are many drawbacks that must be properly taken in account to effectively transmit the seismic data: Internet security, signal and service availability, power consumption.
– Internet security: exposing seismological data services and seismic stations to the Internet is dangerous, attack prone and can lead to downtimes in the services, so we setup a dedicated Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to protect all the connected devices.
– Signal and service availability: while for temporary experiment a carefull planning and an accurate site selection can minimize the problem, this is not always the case with rapid response networks. Moreover, as with any other leased line, the availability of the UMTS service during a seismic crisis is basically unpredictable. Nowadays in Italy during a major national emergency a Committee of the Italian Civil Defense ensures unified management and coordination of emergency activities. Inside it the telecom companies are committed to give support to the crisis management improving the standards in their communication networks.
– Power consumption: it is at least of the order of that of the seismic station and, being related to data flow and signal quality is largely unpredictable. While the most secure option consists in adding a second independent solar power supply to the seismic station, this is not always a very convenient solution since it doubles the cost and doubles the equipment on site. We found that an acceptable trade-off is to add an inexpensive Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) circuit to the UMTS router power supply that switches off the data transmission when the power is low. This greatly reduces the probability of data loss but lowers the real-time data availabilty. This approach guarantees on the average a satisfactory data acquistion rate, only in very few cases and when the real-time data is extremely important for a particular site we needed to double the power supply on the site.
Overall the UMTS data transmission has been used in most temporary seismic experiments and in all seismic emergencies happened in Italy since 2010 and has proved to be a very cost effective approach with real-time data acquisition rates usually greater than 97 % and all the benefits that result from the fast integration of the temporary data in the National Network monitoring system and in the EIDA data bank.