Challenges Of Ensuring Accuracy
The military environment is a particularly challenging one for
maintaining viable satellite communications links. At the same time,
continuous links are often critical for the safety and well being of
One of the
biggest challenges for military users is the nature of their
communication links. They are often in remote areas of the world where
the terrain can be extremely challenging. This means equipment will
certainly get bumped and bashed around a great deal more than in other
environmentsâ€”only extremely robust equipment will be able to withstand
this sort of treatment.
these areas experience extreme weather. Communications equipment must
deal with rain fade and the equipment must continue to work in gale
force winds, heavy rain, and even the burning sun. Such is no mean feat
ensuring their crucial equipment adheres to the various military
specifications is â€œmustâ€ as a starting point. Any military equipment
should adhere to MIL-STD-810, which ensures that the equipment has met
the approved standards for resistance to extremes of temperature,
shock, dust, vibration, humidity, and solar radiation.
constantly on the move also means the satellite communications
equipment must be able to point and re-point all of the time to ensure
proper alignment with the needed satellite throughout the mission, no
matter what obstacles are encountered by the personnel in their
vehicle. Additionally, satellite Communications-On-The-Move (COTM)
places severe restrictions on the size of the antenna that can be used,
with the military keen to ensure the vehicle remains as aerodynamic and
with as low a profile as possible.
terminals can accurately point at the correct satellite while moving
can be extremely challenging, especially as the equipment itself needs
to be as small as possible. Add to that the fact that the GPS signal is
not always available, and the risk of error dramatically increases and
potentially cause issues, such as satellite interference.
Satellite-On-The-Move (SOTM) terminals have dual GPS built-in, which
ensures the terminal remains aligned with the satellite, no matter the
road conditions. The terminals also work without a GPS signal for those
occasions when the signal is temporarily lostâ€”re-acquisition is
instantaneous. This backup connectivity is vitally important to
ensuring continuous communications at all times.
in the military environment, COTM/SOTM doesnâ€™t always mean the needs
are vehicle-basedâ€”often personnel are required to carry all of their
equipment in order to cover vast areas. This means there is a need for
lightweight SATCOM equipment which meet all the other conditions
already mentioned. The challenge is in keeping the terminal light in
weight, enabling the terminal to be carried by an individual. Easy
deployment is also a key requirement, as there is often very limited
time to setup the equipment and ensure it is fully operational and
mobile.IBETOR has developed an ultra lightweight manpack, which weighs
only 9kg, making the unit quite portable, all the while adhering to the
standards already mentioned.
constant threat of hostile activity is another reason why the equipment
should be small in size, so as to avoid it becoming, itself, a target
and to make certain the vehicle and the personnel remain safe. Should
the equipment become the target, adherence to MIL-STD-810 provides
another reason for the acquisition of robust equipment that is able to
withstand a certain amount of force.Thanks to High Throughput Satellite
(HTS) technology, the size of antennas now able to be smaller than
previously possible. Such greatly benefits product use for military
applications and allows manufacturers to create far lower profile
antennas that are aerodynamic in design and far less visible than
previous models, yet still offer accurate satellite connections.
Strike Up The Band
military users, operating in X-band offers a certain number of
important advantages, such as greater capacity and less probability of
adjacent satellite interference, as well as a higher level of security.
Therefore, X band is one of IBETORâ€™s core business lines.
Simultaneously, there have been a number of significant, technological
advancements in the satellite industry of late, such Ka-band
development. The IBETOR pointing mechanism is accurate enough to work
with all of the new frequencies, which demand more accuracy than X- or
Ku-band.The military is a unique and challenging environment within
which to ensure continuous satellite communications links. Satellite is
often the only communication method available that is able to serve the
militaryâ€™s needs. With the correct equipment, all communication
challenges can be overcome.
About the author
Villa is the CEO of IBETOR, a specialist provider of
satellite and wireless communications products and technology. He is
also president of SEDAT S.L. as is also the founder of ISID S.L. Prior
to founding IBETOR in 2009, Luis held a number of consultancy roles
within the telecommunications and military industries with such firms
as Hughes, Lockheed Martin, and Vitro. Luis holds a number of
engineering degrees, including Industrial Engineer, specialized in
Energy techniques from the Technical University of Barcelona.