During a major disaster, cellular signals can become flooded by high call volumes, but German scientists are testing a method of linking household routers to provide emergency teams with a backup communications system. According to Security Week, a team from the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany scanned the density of their city to see just how effective the technique would be, locating almost 2,000 routers in only half a square kilometer. With a population of 142,000, Darmstadt is smaller than many metropolitan areas, so implementing a similar system in a major city would theoretically provide an extremely robust web of internet access.
To utilize the service, routers would include a special channel that could only be accessed by emergency responders. Not unlike a standard "guest channel," this method ensures that the privacy of the router's owner remains in tact. In highly populated areas where mobile networks are already bogged down from everyday use, the alternate wireless access points could prove invaluable when traditional methods are tied up.