Hurricane Isabelle Design Project

Students in my CIS 420 Wide Area Networking (WAN) course have completed a network design for a large scale communications solution for a disaster riddled region. This project was done by undergraduate students as part of a course. The class name has been changed to ITS 472 Networking Architecture recently, but the materials were similar. 

Design document (145 Pages) and 6.5 mb. Click Here


Borton, Mathew J
Cuevas, Manuel
Philpot, Ralph Robert
Szarkowicz, Sean M
Szarmach, Douglas B
Vaupel, Derek N

Scenario: Currently a horrible disaster has occurred in the southern states and specifically the Gulf Coast region of the United States. Terrible and horrible the human tragedy continues many weeks after the original event. Command and control evaporated in the path of hurricane Katrina. The entire telecommunications systems have failed and data and voice systems will not be functional. The expertise does not currently exist and the design plans for rolling out a highly portable solution that can be overlaid and replace that infrastructure quickly. Utilizing all of the tools of research available to you consider the issues of highly portable, highly available, networks designed to carry all of the primary services needed,  to handle the expected traffic of such a disaster. This will encompass client to backbone connectivity.

There are always going to be factual and speculative errors in any architecture design document. What makes this document substantive is that it was created using only open source literature. I would really like to see some feedback as to thoughts on the design. 

2 comments for “Hurricane Isabelle Design Project

  1. Borton
    July 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of this project, but I have some thoughts in retrospect that I would like to share. First, the document was broken into sections and assigned to individual team members to write, and then compiled later, so please do not hold me responsible for the accuracy or originality of any of the material contained within. If I had to do it over again, I would identify the authors of the individual sections. Next, the group never fully “gelled”. We had one member who was generally regarded as “different”, so became the target of a good deal of frustration, and was ignored when he presented viable ideas. We had another member who appeared to feel the project was beneath him due to a high level of technical proficiency, but couldn’t really see the big picture. Another point, and perhaps most important, is that we went about the design process from a bad direction. we came up with what we thought the solution should look like, then did all of our research to support our solution. We never did a thorough needs assessment, and we didn’t spend much time looking at the current state of systems, or what has been done in similar situations. That said, I’d also like to get feedback on the overall concept.

  2. sam
    July 3, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    It takes a lot of guts to come out of the woodwork and think about the woulda, coulda, shoulda, of the project. Often in these types of large scale group effort design projects the technical solution is trivial in comparison to the internal political strife of the team. It has always been my teaching philosophy to guide students and teach through lessons learned as much as possible. I think every student learned valuable lessons, and more importantly there is value in the material produced.

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