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Contrary to popular belief, satellites carry less than 1% of human communications. Fiber-optic cables, stretching across the sea floor, buried under cities, and connected to people’s homes, carry the rest. While they’re mostly used to transmit telecommunications, they can also detect motion.
While the US federal government continues to pursue its strategy of building a physical barrier, a border wall, for enhancing its border security, various technological solutions may be more promising.
A fiber-optic technology that could pinpoint with precision where border intrusions occur, determine what exactly is coming across, and relay the information to Border Patrol agents in realtime, was recently mentioned by Will Hurd, a Texas Republican congressman. He teamed up with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in July 2017 to introduce the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology (SMART) Act, which would have tasked the Department of Homeland Security with deploying high-tech systems like radar, LIDAR, fiber optics, drones, and cameras along the border. However, the bill stalled in committee and never moved forward.
Experts and industry leaders told businessinsider.com that fiber-optic technology is already advanced enough to work across most of the US-Mexico border, nearly 10 times less expensive than a wall, and is ready to be deployed immediately.
Moe Momayez, an associate professor of mining and geological engineering from the University of Arizona explains that a fiber-optic technology they tested by researchers in the past does not require any sensors on the fiber, the fiber itself can be turned into a sensor. “Because we can detect movement, we can detect events anywhere along the length of the cable.”
One of the solutions is offered by Adelos, that claims that the same fiber that could secure the border can also be used for telecommunications — and even provide broadband internet access to communities that live nearby. “What we’re doing is we’re taking sound that is caused by things in the sky, on the ground, or subsurface — we’re converting those sound waves, that pressure, and we’re measuring how it impacts light in the cable itself, the fiber optic glass, and then we can convert that into acoustic information,” the company founder and CTO Alex Philp explained.
However, fiber-optic sensing is only one of many other solutions. The technology would need to be combined with Border Patrol agents on the ground who are ready to respond to intrusions.
Learn more about border technologies at the Border, Perimeter & Offshore Security Conference and Exhibition on May 7, 2019 at the Lago Conference Center, Rishion LeZion West.
Booth/sponsorship: [email protected] +972-54-6742036 +972-74-7451370