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Wireless Infrastructure over Satellite for Emergency Communications

Project description


ICT for Environmental Risk Management
In case of emergency, break out the satellites

European researchers have developed an emergency communications system capable of establishing a basic mobile phone network in hours.

The system will help emergency services communicate with each other and respond faster in critical situations, such as natural or industrial disasters.

When disaster strikes, communications are key to an effective response. Yet often communications systems are first to go down in emergencies. Forest fires may consume cell towers, earthquakes uproot landlines, industrial explosions wreck networks and hurricanes level everything.

Enter the WISECOM project, which developed a flexible, robust and comprehensive communications system to help services respond to disasters.

The system integrates several terrestrial mobile radio networks – such as GSM, 3G, and wireless Ethernet – with existing satellite systems, using lightweight and easily deployed technologies. It can also provide location-based services, an enormous benefit during rescue operations. These services can track rescue teams as they operate in the field, for example.

Demanding constraints

Creating the system was a tough task. The basic wish list for a rapidly deployable mobile network with satellite uplink is daunting.

WISECOM’s researchers also developed and tested an instantly deployable, suitcase-sized base station to provide GSM coverage locally and a global connection via satellite. The weight of this base station is just 5kg. The system is designed for use over the medium term, while emergency services get organised.

WISECOM also developed the system for use on a larger, high-capacity base station for connection to a terrestrial backbone, the central linking spine of a telecommunications network. While the instant solution provides coverage during the initial emergency response, the high-capacity version provides larger communications coverage during recovery operations.

Creating wireless data networks

However, establishing phone networks is only part of the equation. WISECOM’s researchers also developed systems capable of deploying wireless networks for data, which are essential in allowing users to quickly update and disseminate rapidly changing information during an emergency situation.

For example, during a forest fire, the fire front may change rapidly in response to local wind conditions. Wireless networks allow coordinating and rescue teams to keep track of the front and respond appropriately.

The team developed a service that provides wireless Ethernet access, suitable for internet access over hundreds of metres. They even explored using WiMax services. WiMax is an emerging standard that enables wireless internet connections over kilometres rather than metres.

The system could also enable the use of telemedicine, allowing emergency services to consult doctors scattered around the world. Doctors can use the service to help triage disaster victims, and provide advice and support to onsite medical teams.

How it works

The system combines GSM and wireless base stations with the Digital Video Broadcast, Return Channel via Satellite (DVB, RCB) standard. DVB, RCB is a satellite transmission standard that provides backhauling, or connection between nodes in the network, such as telephone exchanges or base stations.

The technologies developed by the WISECOM team could dramatically improve emergency response and disaster recovery. In case of emergencies, users would simply turn to the satellites.

Call for proposal

FP6-2005-IST-5
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

DEUTSCHES ZENTRUM FUR LUFT - UND RAUMFAHRT EV
Address
Linder Hohe
51147 Koln
Germany
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 254 897,50

Participants (7)

STEINBEIS-STIFTUNG FUER WIRTSCHAFTSFOERDERUNG

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Willi-bleicher-strasse 19
70174 Stuttgart
Activity type
Other
STEINBEIS TRANSFER GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 167 700
Address
Adornostr 8
70599 Stuttgart
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
SAFRAN PASSENGER INNOVATIONS GERMANY GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 218 425
Address
Argelsrieder Feld 22
82234 Wessling Oberpfaffenhofen
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
AKTSIASELTS REGIO
Estonia
EU contribution
€ 91 610
Address
Riia 24
51010 Tartu
Activity type
Other
AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE SAS
France
EU contribution
€ 253 467,50
Address
31 Rue Des Cosmonautes Zi Du Palays
31402 Toulouse Cedex
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
THALES ALENIA SPACE FRANCE SAS
France
EU contribution
€ 89 650
Address
Avenue Jean Francois Champollion 26
31100 Toulouse
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
ANSUR TECHNOLOGIES AS
Norway
EU contribution
€ 201 250
Address
Martin Linges Vei 25
1364 Fornebu
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)