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Uplink: No Sky View? No Big Deal...
By Ami Schneider, Director of the Mobile Satellite Division, Gilat Satcom

If you’re underground or in some other closed facility location that lacks a view of the sky, communication with the up-top world can sometimes be difficult or even downright impossible. A new communication solution to deal with these conditions has been created by Gilat Satcom. This solution allows users of Iridium satphones to communicate with those above ground and outside the closed facilities without having to leave their surroundings. This is a light weight, easy-to-install, and cost-effective solution for obtaining sky view when such is not available.

GilatFig1 Named for suricates who, upon coming out of their burrow, immediately post a sentinel on high ground to watch over them, Gilat Satcom’s Suricate PRO™ posts an antenna with sky view to maintain communications with the satellite(s) orbiting overhead. Just as the suricates on the ground rely upon their sentinel to maintain vigilant watch and communications, Suricate PRO provides Iridium satphone users with constant and reliable communications even when they do not possess that all-important sky view.

The Solution
Suricate PRO provides coverage extension for Iridium satphones without sky view using wireless capabilities that extend the signal up to 6 kilometers, even underground. Similar to the posting of the sentinel to provide communication to the suricate clan, a Suricate PRO outdoor antenna is placed on the surface of the mine or other facility where it has sky view. In constant contact with the satellite, the antenna is connected to an outdoor unit that takes signals received from the satellite and transfers them to a fiber optic cable which is run into the mine or secure facility. The fiber cable plugs into in an indoor unit which takes the signal from the cable and puts it into the air within the facility at satphone radio frequencies.

GilatFig2 Iridium satphones pick up the clear signal within the facility as if they have sky view. If it is necessary to extend the signal, repeaters can be mounted in the facility to provide coverage throughout providing all the mobility necessary for the Iridium satphone users. (See the Suricate PRO schematic.)

Suricate PRO comes in a small plug-and-play kit that can be set up quickly. Once setup, the system enables one or several Iridium satphone users to make simultaneous phone calls, send text messages and receive pages as they normally would. Computers and data networks can be connected to satphones in the normal manner to enable Internet access and other types of data communications between the remote facility and anywhere else in the world.

With Suricate PRO, Iridium satphone users lacking sky view can enjoy the entire menu of satphone services with complete mobility. Easy to setup and operate, Suricate PRO provides the rapid and reliable communications of an ever-present sentinel.