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Not just a truck

NEW ORLEANS--If you passed it on the freeway, you might think this was an ordinary Verizon Wireless truck on its way to maintain equipment. Look a little closer, however, and you'll see this is a different kind of vehicle. Known as a COLT (cell on light truck), it's actually a fully contained cell site that can be driven to almost anywhere in the country in a matter of hours. Verizon can deploy one of its 100 COLTs to a disaster-stricken area to boost the carrier's network for residents and emergency workers. On either side of the cab are antennas that can reach 60 feet tall.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Be prepared

Hans Leutdenegger, Verizon's regional vice president of network, described the carrier's initiatives for disaster preparedness. And in a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, he reminded us that the 2012 hurricane season begins June 1.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Come in

You enter the COLT through a door on the driver's side.

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Keeping it cool

Two air-conditioning units keep the inside comfortable cool. Indeed, it felt great on a humid New Orleans day.

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Linking up

The equipment immediately inside the door is used to establish a link between the COLT and Verizon's network.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Wires everywhere

Even in a wireless world, it takes a lot of wires to power the network.

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4G LTE

This locked cabinet houses the needed equipment for powering the carrier's 4G LTE network.

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4G LTE

Here's a look inside the door.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Voice and 3G

In the next cabinet you'll find the equipment for the 2G voice and 3G EV-DO data networks.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Staying on

For power, the COLT has 18 batteries (pictured here) and a generator that can last three days.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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Cables

Thick cables connect the batteries and generators to the network equipment.

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Drive time

The cab seats two people, but only one person is needed to operate the COLT.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Kent German/CNET
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