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 worldwide coverage.
BGAN EXPLORER 710
The BGAN Explorer 710 is a high-speed, portable satellite modem on the Inmarsat network. TSF uses the BGAN in the telecoms centres it sets up during its emergency deployments to provide internet lines and telephone calls to relief workers in the field. Its battery life and integrated wifi access point allow the BGAN to go for several hours without electricity. The output of the BGAN's internet connection reaches 650 kbit/s.
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 metres (TSF tends to favour 1.2m dishes for its deployments). VSATs are most commonly used by TSF when a high bandwidth is required.
The ISatphone 2 is a mobile satellite telephone on the Inmarsat network. It is lightweight and compact, making it ideal for TSF's deployments. The ISatphone is used by TSF during emergency missions, both to provide free calls for the affected populations, and to remain in contact with responders on the ground when mobile networks are down. The satphone can receive and send SMS, make and receive voicecalls and also has an integrated GPS tracking service with an emergency alert button.
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 SHOUT Nano is a pocket satellite terminal used for both messaging and geographical tracking. The SHOUT Nano has an emergency button which once triggered will send an immediate emergency alert to headquarters with the GPS coordinates of the user, as well as the possibility to send scrambled messages and codes .
This piece of equipment is essential to TSF when working in dangerous and isolated areas of the world – it helps the organisation ensure the safety of its workers from several hundred miles away.
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).