Jawahar Tunnel on the Jammu – Srinagar, national highway is a technological marvel - a 2.5 kilometer stretch that is often referred to as the lifeline for Kashmir valley. Somewhere in the mountains above the Jawahar Tunnel are telecom network sites that bring mobile connectivity to Kashmir. These sites ensure seamless telecom connectivity within the area and require consistent monitoring and management.
Most recently, in the winters, a particular network site atop the Jawahar Tunnel stopped radiating affecting connectivity for users of a particular telecom operator across the area. This was quite a challenge as operations had to be restored inspite of heavy snowfall , with chances of avalanche being very strong. There is also a threat of wild animals on the mountains . What made it even more difficult was that the monitoring team could not establish contact with the security guard manning the site due to bad weather and connectivity issues. Aijaz Ahmad Wani, a 24 year old network engineer working for Ericsson was part of the team responsible for the site. He shares, “It was crucial to get in touch with the security guard to analyse the situation and prepare our ascent accordingly. Preparation and regular training is a way of life for us working in such extreme conditions. We work to keep the networks running, while ensuring the safety of our personnel.”
Once the team made contact with the security guard, they worked on the plan - how to identify and fix the issue as soon as possible. The networks had already been affected for two days. Given the sensitivity of the area, the team also got in touch with the security forces stationed in the area and they provided the requisite help to proceed further. Aijaz and team travelled to Jawahar tunnel and then trekked to the “Tunnel Top” site. He says, “Once we get an idea about what could possibly be wrong, we try and carry everything that might be useful with us to sites at such heights. We can’t just reach the site and not fix the issue in the first attempt.” And it was on their first attempt that afternoon in February 2017 that Aijaz and his team fixed the issue and restored connectivity for thousands of people in Kashmir.
A graduate from the Royal Polytechnic in Srinagar, Aijaz comes from Qazigund area which is popular for dry fruits. His love for internet is what drove him towards Telecommmunications as a field of study and continues to keep him motivated even now.