With all the natural disasters that have been making headlines, the last thing you want to be worried about is your office's communication network. Many businesses promise 99.9% up-time and (hopefully) make plans to ensure this during disasters. However, while we make plans for off-site back up, data recovery, electric generators, and emergency cooling, how many businesses plan for the network connecting their data to the rest of the world to go down?


Depending on how important continuous network connectivity is to your office, you might want to (re)consider what you'd do if land lines are down. For example, maybe you want to consider inflatable satellite antennas?  (I never knew I wanted to say that line.)


How it works


The dish is actually a thin, flexible, polyimide material that is enclosed in an giant inflatable ball. They look like person-sized exercise balls or like Rover from The Prisoner. When the ball is properly inflated, the air pressure holds the material in the proper satellite dish form. After inflation, it acts like any normal, rigid dish satellite antenna.




The original research was conducted by NASA during the 1960s to produce inflatable space structures. In the 80s and 90s, NASA and SRS Technologies coordinated to develop a inflatable solar concentrators. This was then used to develop the inflatable satellite. Read more about it from NASA's Spinoff (PDF).


Disaster Planning


Inflatable satellite antennas aren't for everyone, obviously. There is a high price tag associated with them that makes them out of the reach of many companies. However, if your company is dedicated to continuous network connectivity, or if portable satellites antennas are already part of your disaster plan, this might be the technology you never knew you were looking for.


Satellite communications can provide internet access, VoIP, and video conferencing access. The inflatable antennas can provide all of this during high winds (sadly not hurricane force winds) and extreme temperatures.


If you don't have the money to invest in inflatable satellite antennas, you can use SolarWinds NPM to get notified when your network connection goes down and our Failover Engine to ensure 24X7 availability of your Orion servers within your network.