by Hank Rausch
Bethesda MD (SPX) Jan 06, 2012
Our nation's defense systems require the most cutting-edge solutions in the areas of end-to-end satellite and terrestrial communications. In order to achieve this, the U.S. Navy needed to be able to maximize use of its leased bandwidth to aid in overall mission support.
Under the U.S. Navy's new Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP), Intelsat General recently undertook the creation of a worldwide command and control system to provision, control, monitor, and display the entire operation. The ability to maximize the use of leased bandwidth also fell under this contract.
Prior to the Intelsat General engagement, dynamic bandwidth allocation schemes were currently not possible due to the equipment fielded on the Navy's ships - with the ships supporting only serial-based Single Channel Per Carrier (SCPC) duplex links.
As such, the efficient use of the leased transponder space involves assigning ships (missions) to pre-arranged carrier "slots." Optimization of use required keeping these slots assigned to missions, and periodically changing the allocation to make best use of the available bandwidth.
To accomplish this, an information system had to be created that displayed current and historical utilization of these resources. Intelsat General created a new system that draws current state information - transponder power, data through the circuits - to provide a real-time and historical utilization metric.
And, instead of drafting a message to assign slots, the mission planner logs into a web site where all current and future slot assignments are visible, creating a new level of efficiencies.
By creating a web-based tool that allows universal visibility into the assignment and utilization process, we were able to play a major role in reducing transaction costs and increasing overall visibility. We imagine that once the system has been allowed to run for a while, we can gain a full picture of how this effort results in higher utilization and more efficient use of the transponders.
Intelsat General Helps Navy Manage Communications Capabilities
The Navy's use of commercial satellite communications is a massive endeavor with 150 ships, 7 teleports, 16 antennas, 108 modems, 408 terrestrial communications ports, and roughly 70 configuration parameters for each of these components.
Believe it or not, prior to the installation of the new command and control system, the tracking of all of these resources was actually done manually. Many operational aspects like configuration parameters were managed locally on spreadsheets that were shared via email.
The new command and control system is based on a new central database accessed via a web server. This database contains all the configuration, assignment, and archived monitoring parameters. In addition to display, it also serves a control function: A request for resources is made on the website itself, and this request is available instantly to all parties with access.
These resources include the satellite modems and terrestrial ports at the teleport, the terrestrial ports at the Navy Communications Stations, and the specific range of frequencies, or "slots", used by the Navy ships to transmit and receive.
Allocation of these resources to one ship precludes their assignment to another ship. Consequently, it is imperative to maintain a real-time display of which resources are assigned to which ships, both for situational awareness and to plan future missions.
Complicating this assignment process is the fact that periodically, the "slots" or frequency assignments are changed-this might be done, for example, to accommodate a different data rate. A given transponder might be "slotted out" for 5 links running at 2 Mbps or 10 links operating at 1 Mbps, for example. These frequency assignments are done on a different software platform, operating its own database.
In the construction of the CBSP web tool, this database was federated to the CBSP database. Consequently, when the CBSP Bandwidth Manager adjusts frequency assignments using his software platform, these new assignment are visible on the CBSP platform in near real-time (within five minutes).
After resources have been assigned to a mission (Navy ship), those resources are shown as unavailable for assignment to other missions during that time period. When the ship begins transmitting, the web server collects receive parameters in real time, stores them in a database, and makes them available for all to see.
This information is useful both for real-time operations and as a way of verifying that we meet the contract's requirements for network performance. This centralization of command and display has significantly streamlined and improved overall operations by reducing the time to provision a mission and increasing the reliability and volume of archived performance parameters.
For a fuller understanding of how Intelsat General managed this complex integration, click through to the complete white paper.
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Dublin, Ireland (SPX) Jan 05, 2012
Globalstar Europe Satellite Services has announced that it has signed an authorized distribution agreement with TS2 Satellite Technologies, a leading provider of satellite communication products and services. TS2 will act as a National Distributor for Globalstar's suite of mobile satellite voice and duplex data products to the defense, government and private sectors within the Polish Mainl ... read more
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