Report says rain, temperatures and wind to blame

Wi-fi and mobile networks at risk from climate change

A government report has warned that wi-fi networks were at risk from the effects of climate change including rising temperatures.

A Defra "Climate Resilient Infrastructure" report said that urgent action was needed to protect vital infrastructure from the effects of climate change and that new systems will need to take into account the impact of more extreme weather.

"The economy cannot grow if there are repeated power failures, or goods cannot be transported because roads are flooded and railways have buckled, or if intense rainfall or high temperatures disrupt Wi-Fi signals," said Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.

The report also warned that movement towards ‘cloud computing’ could increase the risk of disruption as "the ability to operate locally becomes dependent on artifacts of the system which will be remote from the user."

In terms of communications infrastructure, the report tabulated the impact of a range of expected climate change indexes including temperature, wind, humidity and rainfall.

Increased temperatures and rainfall were said to be at risk of impacting quality of service of radio-based networks, either directly due to physics of refractive index or changes in vegetation.

A summary of the ICT section of the report can be found here (pdf).

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