For years AT&T routed millions of phone calls each day through their major switching center located in the World Trade Center in New York, NY. In 1993 a truck bomb was detonated by terrorists below the North Tower of the World Trade Center, in New York, NY. While there was no damage to the AT&T system, the United States Congress determined that the potential loss of this switching system would result in a catastrophic communications breakdown for Manhattan that might take weeks to restore. Therefore, AT&T quietly embarked on a program to mobilize a redundant set of their core network technologies to allow for rapid restoration of the nation’s communication system should there be further terrorist attacks or disasters. Critical assets were staged and ready to roll if needed. This foresight and planning allowed the rapid restoration of communications to New York City immediately following the attacks on September 11 that destroyed World Trade Center. Within hours AT&T was able to mobilize a fleet of 53 foot semi-trailers that housed equipment that mirrored the switching system lost when the towers collapsed. Within hours of the disaster, AT&T had phone, video, and data communications available to the NYPD and other first responders. Soon thereafter phone service was restored, allowing everyone to better cope and respond to the devastation.

Wenzlau Engineering partnered with AT&T to engineer and manufacture the mobile equipment to house the telecommunications systems. The challenge was how to package equipment designed for a data center into trailers. Each trailer required power, cooling, cable distribution, and shock attenuation. The equipment to be installed was both fragile and very heavy. Wenzlau Engineering developed a series of custom engineered 53-foot trailers that were structurally designed to handle very heavy loads, incorporate on board power generators and cooling equipment. Similar to a military mission, when the equipment deployed no local infrastructure could be relied upon. Wenzlau Engineering designed satellite dishes and terrestrial antennas to provide communication links outside the area, expandable command center trailers to support the team managing the deployment, as well as the many components required to assure redundancy and reliability required for mission success. Over the course of this project, Wenzlau Engineering has delivered over 100 semi-trailers, satellite communications vans and earth stations, power generators and miles of cable. While disasters and attacks are unfortunate realities, AT&T’s foresight and commitment to invest is outstanding and softens the blow to all those touched by the tragedy.

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About Wenzlau Engineering

Wenzlau Engineering, Inc. was established in 1956 to provide engineering solutions for the protection and mobilization of sophisticated electronic systems. We remain focused on our initial mission to provide each customer with a single source for mobile products and services resulting in a solution that is cost effective, quick to market and consistently reliable. Our extensive capabilities allow us to assist our clients throughout a program, including conceptualization, business development, engineering, project management, manufacturing, testing, and after sales support.