Satellite Installations on a Deadline

Satellite Installations on a Deadline

Throughout my career I have had many different types of companies from a range of industries ask how they can connect their devices over satellite, at very short notice. Satellite connectivity is often the last option they have as there is no broadband connection, no cellular connectivity and no radio link available and therefore some applications will not have been designed for use with a satellite terminal. Discovering at the last minute there is no connectivity on site can cause long delays and cost more money, which is not wanted by any company. This is where the fun starts. 

The first stage in the process is to understand what the customer is trying to achieve. Why do they want to monitor this application. Is it stationary or mobile?  Does it need to be on all the time?What does the equipment need to interface with? And finally how much data will be transmitted? These are just some of the questions to help identify the right equipment and network to integrate with, for a working, reliable solution. 

Then comes the tricky part ‘How much is it going to cost?’

The notion that satellite connectivity is extremely expensive is still common today, and it can be when you are comparing directly with a cellular network that can provide gigabytes of data for just a few pounds each month. However what many people seem to forget at this point is this solution won’t work and that is why they will be looking to deploy a satellite solution. There are ways of reducing costs. Identifying exactly what data needs to be monitored is often a quick way of reducing costs easily. If a pipe should be full of water and you are only monitoring to see when a leak occurs, transmitting ‘I’m ok’ every hour will cost you significantly more than ‘ I’m leaking’ when there is a problem. This way the messages are less frequent and the information that needs to be acted upon is transmitted when needed, reducing the airtime costs and possibly the hardware as different types of equipment can be utilised. 

The next stage is the integration with the customer application.

This in theory should be difficult- It’s satellite……… it’s alien to many…………..it must be very complicated to integrate with.

This is not always the case. There are a range of ready made terminals available now that have standard connections, for example ethernet, that will allow for a plug and play approach- very similar to the standard cellular modem. On the occasion that a satellite core module is required, the use of RS232 and standard Hayes AT commands can be easily added to an application firmware or script, allowing the control and transmission of data from the modem.     

The final step is deployment. Installation on a specific site if the solution if stationary can be completed with ease, as long as the preparation and testing has been carried out before hand. This applies to all satellite solutions, whether a large VSAT or small messaging device. Antennas will need to be installed with a good line of sight to the satellite and any cabling will need to be suitable for the environment. The majority of even the largest installations can be completed in under a day with a site working successfully and the customer happy by night fall.    

To the end customer, satellite connectivity is just another means of viewing information remotely, so a person does not need to be on site or, in some cases, enable someone to be on site safely with all the information required to do a task. Utilising this type of connectivity can be easy and extremely quick to deploy. Working with the right provider can be really beneficial in scenarios where a quick deployment is required- one with vasts amounts of experience and flexibility- will make the whole project run smoothly and hopefully make satellite the number one choice for future installations. 

Talk to Satellite Insight for further information. 

Kay Barber
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