The 86th Communications Squadron, with the help of the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron and Vodaphone, activated a one-of-a-kind, 5G mobile cell truck at Ramstein Air Base, Sep. 3.
For Operation Allies Refuge to run efficiently, Airmen need internet access along the flightline to perform their duties and assist evacuees to other transient locations.
“The Department of State and other government agencies are processing evacuees through hangars and in order to do that, they’ll need internet connection,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Katrina Williams, 86th CS section chief of plans and requirements.
Operation Allies Refuge is bringing Airmen from all over the world to Ramstein to help assist the mission.
“With so many volunteers coming in to help, the cell phone coverage has been very saturated,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ron Richards, 86th CS noncommissioned officer in charge of cable operations. “5G provides more capability, faster bandwidth, better speeds and it’s more reliable.”
86th CS Airmen also partnered with TKS to provide a WiFi connection inside each of the hangers. For the WiFi coverage to work properly, a mobile cell tower was needed in the area due to the connection on the flightline being poor.
“We’ve supported hangars one, two and five,” said Richards. “We set up communications for the Joint Mobility Processing Center to help the in-processing folks and I know we were able to cut the Department of Homeland Security processing times down from what they originally were.”
The 86th CS has expanded NIPR access to Airmen along the flightline, like setting up equipment for the religious practices of evacuees, among many other things for OAR.
“Without communications, you’re back in the stone age out there,” said Richards.