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NEC and Tohoku University develop technologies for creating temporary networks with Wi-Fi spots in disaster areas- Quickly establishing communications in emergency situations -

*** For immediate use March 18, 2013

Outdoor Access Point Portable Access Point
Outdoor Access Point Portable Access Point

Tokyo, March 18, 2013 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) and Tohoku University's  Cyberscience Center have developed technologies for creating temporary networks utilizing Wi-Fi access points when communications infrastructure is disrupted. These Wi-Fi networks can be used by local governments and communities to deliver important information to residents in the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster.

In the aftermath of a large scale disaster, it is often difficult to transmit information using fixed line networks or mobile networks due to the failure of communications infrastructure from heavy traffic or damage to network equipment. As a result, there is considerable demand for technologies that can reliably transmit information, even when communications infrastructure is disrupted.

These newly developed technologies enable users to transmit to one another by storing the information sent from a user terminal inside of a Wi-Fi access point, then using a portable access point to transmit the information to another access point that is near the receiving terminal. Transmission is possible between as many as 1,000 access points by using newly developed routing control technologies that reduce the overhead to calculate transmission routes by automatically grouping multiple neighboring access points. As a result, communications services can maintain reliability, even when communications infrastructure is damaged by a natural disaster or other unexpected event.

Furthermore, these technologies are able to distinguish between priority users and general users through the authentication of user terminals. This allows transmissions from important decision makers, such as government offices, law enforcement and fire departments, to be prioritized in the event of a large scale disaster.

Key features of these technologies include the following:

  1. Creation of temporary networks with the flip of a switch on public Wi-Fi spots
    Wi-Fi access points can be quickly converted from public Wi-Fi spots to temporary network mode with the simple flip of a switch. These access points store information sent from user terminals and maintain power through electricity from solar panels and lithium-ion batteries. Information is transmitted to other access points with a DTN (*1) function as portable access points change locations and become closer to one another. As a result, even if communications infrastructure and electrical power are lost following a natural disaster, temporary networks can be created independently by placing access points within automobiles and using suitcase-sized portable access points.

  2. Creation of large-scale temporary networks
    New technologies have been developed to control the network channels between access points. These technologies perform automatic grouping of access points based on their connectivity to neighboring access points. Route calculation is carried out on a per-group basis. As a result, route calculations for the address of individual terminals are not necessary. This grouping enables communications between as many as 1,000 access points, a significant increase over the roughly 100 unit maximum for ungrouped access points.

  3. User priority settings
    User authentication can take place, even if communications infrastructure has failed. An authentication function within access points authenticates a client certificate previously issued to user terminals using the EAP-TLS (*2). The client certificates hold user attribute information that allows systems to distinguish between priority users and general users. As a result, higher priority can be assigned to the delivery of information from priority users when there are heavy volumes of transmission demand after the occurrence of a natural disaster.

Going forward, NEC and Tohoku University will continue to proactively drive the development and commercialization of highly reliable communication technologies.


About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at

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(*1) DTN (Delay/Disruption/Disconnection-Tolerant Network)

(*2) EAP-TLS (Extensible Authentication Protocol-Transport Layer Security)