Hunter and Nanometrics: satellite networks that saves lives

Hunter and Nanometrics: satellite networks that saves lives

Unreliability is not an option when it comes to relaying critical information about potential earthquakes and volcanos.  Hunter provides the guaranteed data transmission this seismic monitoring company requires.

The Challenge

For a seismic monitoring site to provide the greatest benefit, a critical component is to obtain seismic data continuously and in real-time – receiving data the day after a volcanic eruption does little to save lives.  Therefore a key part of Nanometrics’ efforts is developing the telecom infrastructure to ensure that seismic data is transferred continuously and uninterrupted 24×7 to central locations (typically government agencies and universities).  In locations with strong wireless infrastructure, LTE cellular devices are often used as a least-cost option.  However, the gold standard for Nanometrics to ensure best-in-class guaranteed data transmission is with the use of satellites.

Since its inception, Nanometrics has deployed VSATs as their preferred data transmit medium – for use in remote locations such as earthquake zones and volcanos.  The issue that haunted early deployments, however, was something with which most commercial off-the-shelf VSAT manufacturers did not readily concern themselves: power consumption.  For Nanometrics, an antenna deployment near the apex of a volcano required solar panels – and the greater the power consumption, the greater the number of solar panels and the batteries required to hold power at night.

In the 1990s, Nanometrics developed its own in-house TDMA VSAT platform – a specialized modem that minimizes processing power and therefore power consumption.  Now on their second version of an in-house designed modem, the LIBRA-II, Nanometrics manufactures the modems at their headquarters just outside of Ottawa, Canada.  The LIBRA-II succeeds in several key features. Utilizing less than 0.5 watts of power, a typical deployment will use one or two small solar panels versus eight for today’s more typical VSAT system.  It operates on less than 100 kHz of satellite spectrum for each seismic network, and has a unique feature that allows the hub transmission to the remote VSATs to use the same spectrum as the incoming data from the remote seismic stations.

Hunter is proud to have worked with Nanometrics for over 12 years, with satellite deployments ranging from Peruvian volcanos, Caribbean earthquake hotspots, seismic monitoring throughout Canada, the US and many locations throughout the world, including some of the most remote islands.  Agencies such as Natural Resources Canada, Institut de Physique du Globe du Paris, a variety of universities and various national agencies all monitor for threats of disaster – both man-made and natural.  With Hunter’s most current satellite payload over Canada and the US, hosted on Eutelsat’s E115WB satellite, we advance our mutual efforts to deploying sites throughout North America.

We highlight Nanometrics as one of Hunter’s premier customers, in large part because of the humanitarian benefits that these seismic deployments provide – for our planet and all who live on it.

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