Hybrid satellite communications

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Satelite communications

Seamless Communications for Mining Operations Via Satellite

If well deployed, multiple satellite networks and terrestrial connections, which act as the single point of contact for the entire network, through seamless communications, can achieve high end to end performance in any mining environment worldwide.

By Nick Barnes

It is hard to ignore the rise to prominence of satellite-terrestrial hybrid connectivity as one of the critical enablers of efficient communications in modern remote mining areas in the past decade. Interestingly, this is the face of other ‘tried and tested’ conventional techniques which enjoy wide usage. Satellite-terrestrial hybrid connectivity involves the combination of Very Small Apeture Terminal (VSAT), and terrestrial services, based on either Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) or Post Office Protocol (POP).

With keen interest, it is hard to resist the urge to find out what is behind this phenomenon. When asked about what could be driving increase in the adaptation of satellite-terrestrial hybrid -enabled communications in a survey, providers of hybrid satellite communications packages more or less pointed to similar factors.

The need for reliable communications

The significance of satellite-terrestrial hybrid communications is becomes better understood when one looks the need for reliable communications to drive operations and how the satellite as a means fills void.

Reliable connectivity gives decisions makers in mining companies the ability to make effective and timely decisions. In particular, reliable communications serves a number of critical purposes in mining operations, mainly:

  • Enabling the connection of mines, which are located in remote areas, to the outside world as well as machine to machine networks;
  • Improving site safety and security;
  • Facilitating the provision of internet access.

Perfect fit for communications in mines

Providers of satellite-terrestrial hybrid communications, share the view that satellite would be perfect fit for the scattered nature of Africa’s mining operations, mainly due the following factors: Short lead time; No need for infrastructure; and connection of scattered operations under a single platform.

  1. No need for costly infrastructure

There is no need for time-consuming and frustrating process of developing land-based infrastructure. This makes satellite communications comparatively cost effective.

  1. Short lead time

By eliminating the need for costly land-based infrastructure, satellite offers the benefit of a short lead time. In this way, it enables a mining company to have efficient and cost-effective communications.

  • Single management hub (no need for infrastructure)

Broadband internet, delivered through satellite, connects scattered mining operations together under a single management hub. This is possible through uniting high-capacity very small aperture terminal (VSAT)/MSS Satellite connectivity resources to provide a single, seamless network experience. For instance, through MPLS connection, a mine can be able to get satellite connectivity between production sites and hybrid satellite/terrestrial connectivity to its headquarters in the UK.

What mines would need

The service providers indicate that mines operating in remote areas with poor signal would need the following to fully exploit the benefits of broadband satellite internet: the assurance of more broadband, single provider for all terrestrial and hybrid networks, and most of all reliability. Most importantly, mine operators need the confidence of assistance, should there be any issue with connectivity.

More relevant and integral

If well deployed, multiple satellite networks and terrestrial connections, which act as the single point of contact for the entire network, through seamless communications, can achieve high end to end performance in any mining environment worldwide. What makes satellite communications all the more relevant is that currently mining is undergoing a revolution, with equipment automation becoming integral, and advanced communications is pivotal.

Reads also : May/June of First Mining Drc-Zambia 2021 edition

 

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