Satellite communication – SatCom – is the communication channel of choice in cases where the terrestrial telecommunication infrastructure is in danger of breaking down or has already done so, for example during crises or in remote areas. Additionally, SatCom is an option if the terrestrial infrastructure does not allow enough bandwidth or there is a need to be mobile. Satellite terminals are becoming smaller and more cost-effective all the time. In addition, their use has increased thanks to common access technologies and protocols, such as IP.
Satellite Communication Systems
Amongst the various satellite communication systems (SatCom systems), BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) manufactured by the Inmarsat Consortium, has made a name for itself recently. Inmarsat operates a network of geostationary satellites in four generations which provide communication worldwide even in remote areas and, most notably, at sea. With the fourth generation, i.e. BGAN, Inmarsat has made available a convenient IP broadband service. In addition to IP and depending on the satellite terminals used, there are also telephony-based services such as voice, fax and data available. The BGAN terminals have the dimensions of a laptop or smaller, can work off batteries and thus can be operated independent of infrastructure all over the world.
A further SatCom system is Thuraya. The two operating Thuraya satellites provide a comparable IP service to BGAN through Thuraya DSL, on the one hand, and a service similar to GSM for voice as well as data and fax (inbuilt modem) through Thuraya GSM, an MSS handheld solution, on the other. The handheld terminals not only enable the user to communicate via satellite, but can also be logged into a GSM network. If both networks are available, the user can choose which one to use. The geostationary Thuraya satellites cover the area from Europe to the Near and Middle East as far as parts of Asia and including large areas of Africa.
Satellite Communication Costs
When using satellite communication you need to be aware of the costs. On top of the investment for the deployable system, there are running costs charged by the satellite access provider (usually by subscription). These are comparable to mobile telephony and also operate using SIM cards. There is competition between the providers and hence a variety of pricing schemes. These should be matched to the user's communication profile in order to keep operating costs low. Crypto AG can offer assistance in making the right choice of provider / subscription.
Deployable Satellite Security Systems
Deployable Satellite Security Systems from Crypto AG contain the required components such as the satellite terminal, encryption device, end device and accessories - all prewired and neatly packed into a single case or several cases - tailored exactly to your requirements. The cases are available as "Traveller Case" for civil use as "Heavy Duty Case" ruggedised versions for military purposes. The main versions available are:
1) Phone / Fax System
Using the BGAN telephony system, voice, fax and potentially data communication can be carried out similarly to traditional PSTN. This is of interest to anyone who does not wish to use the internet or IP-based applications in general. Crypto AG is able to offer solutions for this with the SatCom system BGAN.
This system uses IP-based applications, i.e. traditional IT services such as e-mail, file transfer, internet browsing or other client/server applications, by means of remote access to the relevant IT infrastructure. It is possible to add real-time applications such as voice (voice over IP, VoIP) or fax (fax over IP, FoIP) to this.
BGAN and Thuraya DSL are options for SatCom systems; however, realistically, only BGAN also makes real-time applications possible as it provides the necessary quality of service. For real-time applications it is worth considering that although there are no technical difficulties with these, they can be expensive depending on the operating mode and the corresponding tariff model. It is worth comparing prices with the available telephony channel which can also transmit voice and fax.
3) Peer Messaging System
Likewise, peer messaging is possible via telephony channels or via data services. In contrast to e-mail, which operates via a central server, peer messaging does not need a server but passes directly between the sender and receiver. BGAN, ISatPhone (also operates via BGAN satellites) and Thuraya GSM are possible systems for SatCom. The two Crypto messaging solutions HC-6835 and HC-6830 are suitable for peer messaging.
Autonomous power supply
Anyone working in a remote location can rarely count on a reliable power supply. For this reason, many components in the deployable system also work off rechargeable batteries (they either have their own rechargeable battery or they can obtain power from another device). To recharge empty batteries and, if necessary, produce AC power, an additional supply case using solar panels is available. Producing power by using a vehicle battery is also an option.