Telecoms sans Frontières uses mainly satellite communications equipment. This equipment is constantly upgraded: they are expanded and developed in response to the demands/needs that we encounter on the ground. The field of satellite telecommunications evolves very quickly; we are informed through our technical partners of all technological improvements and innovations, therefore we can take advantage of each improvement to become quicker to respond to emergencies, be more mobile and more efficient. TSF uses equipment with a worldwide coverage.
The Inmarsat BGan is the latest innovation in satellite communication equipment. It allows 10 computers to be connected to Broadband Internet and also offers voice and fax services. The BGan is light (less than 4 kg) and mobile (deployable within minutes)
TSF has a number of Mini-M devices (Capsat Phone TT-3060A) which, in addition to digital phone facilities at 4800bps, allow fax, data transfer and email at 2400bps. The main advantage of these devices is their small size and their lightness. (52x270x200mm, 2.2kg) Each battery has a charge for 2h30.
TSF uses Eutelsat VSAT. A Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), is a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antenna that is smaller than 3 meteres (most VSAT antennas range from 75 cm to 1.2 m). VSAT data rates typically range from narrowband up to 4 Mbit/s. VSATs access satellites in geosynchronous orbit to relay data from small remote earth stations (terminals) to other terminals (in mesh configurations) or master earth station "hubs" (in star configurations). VSATs are most commonly used to transmit narrowband data (point of sale transactions such as credit card, polling or RFID data; or SCADA), or broadband data (for the provision of Satellite Internet access to remote locations, VoIP or video). VSATs are also used for transportable, on-the-move (with phased-array antennas) or mobile maritime (such as Inmarsat or BGAN) communications.
This Inmarsat satellite phone designed to operate in extreme climate conditions delivers clear voice quality and offers the longest battery life among the products currently in the market (up to 8 hours talk time and up to 100 hours standby time). The IsatPhone Pro offers satellite telephone at 2.4kbps, voicemail, text and email messaging as well as GPS location data. Its dimensions and weight (170 x 54 x 39 mm pour 279 g) make it very useful for emergency calling operations.
TOOWAY™ TERMINAL (KA-SAT)
KA-SAT marks a new generation of multi-spotbeam high-capacity satellites. For this type of heavier bandwidth use, the Tooway™ terminal can deliver speeds of up to 40Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream.
The mobile visio-emergency system allows satellite transmission of live videos filmed directly at the heart of an emergency. This allows a real-time visual assessment of the situation in the field that can be transmitted to the NGOs’ or rescue organisations’ crisis centres or to their headquarters on the other side of the world if necessary. At any time, the recipients can communicate directly with the TSF technician to ask for more visual information (such as scenic views or close-ups). The visio-emergency system gives rescue organisations the means to adapt their action to specific needs. It allows quick decision making by facilitating communication and coordination between the rescue teams in the field and the crisis centres. The images sent to the recipients’ headquarters can also be used to stimulate international opinion and for fund-raising.
The video conferencing system can provide a means of organising meetings between rescue teams in situ and their base. A room equipped for video conferencing is necessary for people at the base site (receiver, television, microphone and speakers).