An Extreme Network for extreme weather

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Karen Schulz

Verizon’s network is built to withstand the harshest weather

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An Extreme Network for extreme weather

When we say we’re right here with you and we’ve got your back, we mean it!  In the day-to-day routine and in the most chaotic of circumstances, Verizon is ready to keep you and your loved ones connected.  Verizon’s architects and engineers have designed and built a network that stands up to the most extreme circumstances – we call it our Extreme Network.  Our switch locations, the brains of our network, are critical to the network’s operation and so are built with standard redundant systems nationwide.  We also have portable assets nationwide that can be deployed in case additional capacity is needed.  That’s just table stakes for the most reliable network in the nation.  But what we do to keep people connected in extreme weather when it matters most – now that’s where our customers really win.

Blizzard’s coming? Not a problem!
Our sub-zero switches are built in places like Minneapolis, where snow and ice are the biggest weather threats to our facilities. Reinforced roofing, specialized entranceways, thicker insulation and fiber buried to a much deeper level are key characteristics in this weather-fortified building.   When ice melts, we have aquadams which when deployed extend 500 feet around the perimeter of a switch location, and when filled with water acts as a barrier to flood waters to protect the building.

Hurricane a blowin’ – we’ll keep you talkin’
Throughout Florida, an area known for hurricane activity, “super switches” are built to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds.  These switch locations boast tilt wall block construction built of concrete and rebar and - because of possible flooding - fiber enters the facility in two distinct locations to ensure additional redundancy. Additionally, because commercial power loss is often associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, the Florida Super Switches have dual on-site generators and HVAC systems.  The switch facilities also serve as emergency operation centers when hurricanes or other emergencies arise.

When the waters rise...
Along the east coast, flooding is a significant issue when tropical storms and hurricanes threaten.  So Verizon has built cell towers on stilts and elevated platforms.  Base stations which house the majority of a cell tower’s equipment including its power, generators, cooling systems and transport interface, are elevated from ground level so if flood waters reach the tower, the equipment is safe, dry and remains in performance.

If the earth starts shaking – we keep streaming.
Because earthquakes cause lateral and vertical movements, the switch location in California is designed to withstand likely seismic movement patterns.  Steel frame walls, suspended ceilings and extra bracing throughout for on-site generators, fire suppression agent tanks and battery racks keep this building standing. Exterior generators are integrally mounted to their fuel tanks to prevent severance of buried lines and subsequent fuel spills.

Did you say tornado proof?
In the heartland, tornados often threaten equipment that is stored outdoors as most of Verizon’s mobile equipment is.  In Kansas, however, mobile assets are safely stored 60 feet underground in a 20,000 square foot cave, which provides safe and convenient storage for emergency assets including portable Cells on Wheels (COWs), Cells on Light Trucks (CoLTS), HVACs on Roadside Equipment (HORSEs), Generators on a Trailer (GOATs), Repeaters on a Trailer (RATs) and Cell Repeaters on Wheels (CROWs).  We call this our farmyard in a cave!


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