Network fits in a briefcase

Setting up a telecoms network in a war zone can be risky but it is possible

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Setting up a telecommunications network in a short time in a war zone can be risky but is doable, said a telecom expert.

Portable fast-set-up systems have been available for years, having been developed mostly to help restore communications quickly after disasters such as earthquakes.

"Being able to deploy very fast is on everyone's mind. The first thing you want is utilities, inclusive of telecom," said the expert, who declined to be named. "There are 'briefcase setups' that do exist."

Telecom networks have been set up this way in conflict zones as well, he said. Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan all saw foreign private firms come in to set up service in the midst of civil war or insurgency.

"It takes a special character to take the initiative to do it, certainly. But technically it shouldn't be too difficult," he said.

Some of the key equipment used in Benghazi was compact enough to be carried by one person. It came from a US-based firm called Tecore Networks that specialises in compact rapid-deployment network kits.

"We were able to provide this in the size of a briefcase," said the Tecore chief executive, Jay Salkini. "It was checked in as luggage."