Simple, portable internet in major disaster zones

Current weather trends in the US

Extreme weather-related disasters are increasing

A report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) shows that over the last 20 years, 90 percent of major disasters have been caused by extreme weather-related events. Furthermore, MarketWatch reports that in a ranking of the countries hit by the highest number of weather-related disasters, the U.S. comes in first place – with 472 disasters occurring over the past 20 years.

Power outages are common in flood, earthquake, hurricane and fire hit areas. These outages can cause hourly, daily, and even weeks-long disruption to communications, transportation and food and water spoilage. It can also prevent the use of essential medical devices and be the cause of closure of grocery stores, banks and gas stations. The impact on the economy and day-to-day life can be tremendous.

For disaster response crews and personnel, internet connectivity to coordinate relief efforts and track locations and monitor media coverage are just a few key reasons why a portable internet solution should be an essential part of their kit.

Road destroyed by wild fire
Why is portable internet is so essential?

The challenges

Poor mapping and GPS services

Ensuring visibility and access to data regarding property and ownership - known as GIS data - is essential. Access to MSDS sheets will also provide potentially life-saving information on material safety.

No personnel and equipment tracking

With no internet to track the real-time location of personnel, equipment and assets, including emergency vehicles and helicopters, valuable time and even lives can be lost.

Inability to monitor news and media

Without internet connectivity, teams cannot stream media reports and news in real-time to obtain a complete 360-degree view of disaster and first response information.

No documents and records

Wildfires, for example, spread fast. Remote connectivity can enable drone live stream video, providing real-time information to those on the ground.

MCD – 4800 ‘The Football’

The solution

The MCD-4800 is the ideal solution for uncompromised connectivity in areas, where other terrestrial networks have failed due to earthquakes, forest fires, hurricanes or other disasters. Within a minute the device becomes a powerful WiFi hotspot accessible by any wireless device within a 325 ft (100 meter) range for up to 5 hours on internal battery power. The auto-pointing solution uses the high-performance Hughes 9450TW in-motion BGAN terminal, integrated with Ground Control’s proprietary mobile electronics for a ruggedized, self-contained, in-field or on sea, user-friendly global communications link.

While the MCD-4800 is primarily used as a wireless hotspot, it supports other communication channels for complete connectivity. The front panel includes a weather sealed Ethernet port and a phone port to connect a laptop or a standard analogue phone. The charge port has a watertight seal for several external power sources such as a portable solar panel, external battery, or vehicle power adapter.

Built for extreme environments, the MCD-4800 is enclosed in a watertight hardened plastic Pelican case, and the case lid is normally closed for full operation. It operates in heavy rain and will transmit with 0.8″ (20mm) of ice build up without transmission issues. It is rated at IP67, which means it can withstand immersion in water up to 3.3 ft (1 meter). In extremely hot environments, the case lid can be slightly opened for venting – without affecting operation – to avoid heat build up.

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Fire Fighter using BGAN terminal

Key Benefits

Portable and practical

Encased in a tough, but lightweight case. The rugged case provides a huge element of protection allowing ‘The Football’ to be used in extreme, remote and disaster hit environments.

Ease of connectivity

No training is required. Just press the internal power button and the BGAN terminal connects automatically to the Inmarsat satellite network allowing global operation.

Functional Design

Suitable for use in multiple environments with either lid open or closed. An internal fan keeps electronic components cool in hot weather and extreme heat. With the lid closed ‘the Football’ is classed at waterproof and can be submerged in up to 3.3 ft of water without causing damage.


Improve response times, keep connected, save lives

In 2021, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, estimates the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Many experts believe human-driven climate change are making natural disasters more frequent and severe. As a result, hurricanes could grow more powerful as the ocean gets hotter, higher temperatures are likely to bring more intense droughts and wildfire and winter tornadoes and thunderstorms could become more commonplace. Emissions of Earth-warming greenhouse gases hit a record high in 2020, and the planet is on track for ‘unprecedented and irreversible changes to the climate over the coming decades’, the United Nations said last year.

While administrations and organizations can put a price on the damage of severe weather events and natural disasters on the US economy and civil infrastructure, putting a price on human life is impossible. With the adoption of portable, mobile satcomms and internet, the response times to these events can be vastly improved, communication and coordination with other teams significantly enhanced and advanced warning systems more accurate. All, will contribute to the saving of many, many lives – and there is no dollar price for that.

MCD-4800 – “The Football”
MCD-Football Transparent

MCD 4800 "The Football" - simple connectivity, anywhere

Like to know more?

With over 40 years of combined knowledge of satellite experience, the Ground Control team is well placed to help keep you connected when it matters the most.

With complete satellite connectivity solutions for any situation and application, we’ve got you covered.

Whatever your communication or connectivity needs, we can help.