Icelandic ash could disrupt mobile calls

The recent eruption in Iceland – the place not the food store –  which has played havoc with flights over the UK, may cause disruption to mobile phones today . It could affect the ‘backhaul network’ which links cellular base stations to the operator’s main network.

The eruption under a glacier in Eyjafjallajoekull has already caused the cancellation of huge amounts of air flights across Northern Europe.

Now, the British authorities are worrying about the dust cloud’s affect on humans if the particles descend to Earth.

TechEye itself is more intrigued by speculation as to how this layer of dust some 3K feet up might disrupt telecommunications.

As we all know, just a regular snow storm or blizzard can cut the link between a satellite – used by the likes of the Sky Corporation –  and a regular TV dish.

A dust cloud could potentially disrupt the microwave and satellite links which some operators employ to link their base stations back to the central phone network.

These kind of links – rather than copper or fibre optic cables – are usually employed in thinly populated and mountainous regions. Precisely the kind of terrain threatened by the dust cloud over Northern Europe.

It’s thought highly unlikely, however, that the dust could affect normal radio wave reception required for mobile phones to operate.