Ka-band mobile satellite broadband supports improved information sharing and decision making

Ka-band satellite broadband has a higher data carrying capacity than other broadband frequencies. This means it is able to deliver even greater benefits to users such as emergency services, broadcasters, government departments and agencies.

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The transmission of higher levels of data and live, high definition video imagery means that users can gather and share more accurate information about events on the ground during disasters and emergencies, supporting improved decision making and a more efficient deployment of resources - people, emergency vehicles and equipment.

According to Henry Walker, founder and technical director of the company: ‘In the mobile satellite communications arena Ka is the newer emerging technology and we are now supplying this technology to growing numbers of emergency services, companies, government agencies such as the Met Office and to Sky News, who are using it in the broadcast field. We initially provided equipment to Sky for evaluation. The evaluation process took into account such things as the sturdiness of the satellite system unit, was it susceptible to weather, was it responsive to wind, would it stand up to difficult conditions, and was it easily deployed and managed by a non-technical television reporter? It passed all of those hurdles with flying colours and Sky have now bought systems and are installing them on their new fleet of Land Rover Discovery Satellite News Gathering (SNG) vehicles, which are going live throughout the UK.

According to Henry Walker: ‘Two areas have come together here. We have used our expertise from the Sky arena, delivering daily high quality video technology from their vehicles to the broadcast studios, and taken that technology and implanted it into the HQ and ICU, so the emergency services are now able to do the same thing as TV broadcasters.  We have brought the two industries together, allowing the emergency services to have the same high quality video as broadcast TV.

‘One of the things that has been the bane of everybody’s life has been how to deliver high quality video footage from the incident ground back to command headquarters in a manner that can be of use particularly where bandwidth is restricted from either a capacity or budgetary perspective. We believe that by using the television broadcast type technology we have the best solution to this challenge. This is one of the capabilities that the Ka technology has. Before we had the incredibly large bandwidth capability of Ka we couldn’t do this.

‘Cornwall FRS has recently upgraded to Ka band systems, and we have now delivered a new command vehicle to Cumbria FRS which is also benefiting from the strengths of Ka, and North Yorkshire Police, one of our oldest customers, is also introducing our Ka solutions to a new Incident Command Unit currently in build.

‘There are other benefits of the Ka technology. It operates on beam technology, with high capacity throughput within that beam. One of the arguments that might be used against Ka technology is that you need beam capacity as you move between the different beams. However, our satellite hardware is agnostic to the beam; secondly we have a solution that will allow transparent movement between any of the beams, that argument is therefore negated.’

 

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