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Artic Satellite Communications Made Possible by Ready-Made Solutions

Communication close to the poles has always been a challenge. But, as remote as it is, the Artic is becoming a strategic zone for many and communication capabilities are becoming essential.  

The Artic region has become the center of attention for many governmental and non- governmental organizations given the current geopolitical situation. NATO is, for example running part of its Steadfast Defender exercise, the largest of its kind since the Cold war, across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. 

Consequently, functional communications over the region have also become a priority. Major satellite communication companies are working on different solutions, such as building a new constellation specifically for the Northern Polar region or using LEO networks with dedicated polar orbit satellites within their fleets, but those will take time before they are fully available. 

Readily available solutions, provided by companies like Satcube, are being utilized in these high latitude, far-north areas in both the United States and Scandinavia to make communication possible today.  

“While there is enormous investment in satellite and space, there is very little investment in ground infrastructure and equipment, such as portable and mobile user terminals and viable e-commerce solutions, to satisfy the rapidly evolving Satcom market,” said Jakob Kallmer,  founder and CEO at Satcube. 

In Utqiagvik and its latitude of 71, as far north as you can get in the United States, as well as in Arvidsjaur and its latitude of 65, results spoke for themselves with both up and downlink speeds enabling voice and video transmission. 

As both government and non-government organizations look to achieve connectivity at the poles, there are a few key things to consider.  

  1. Perform a pre-study of locally available beams 
    Use a beam map to find the most optimal beam for signal strength and elevation, which will result in higher link speed. This will also help you find which direction to point.  
  1. Optimize the elevation angle and line of sight  
    Those two are the most important factors that will need to be refined for the highest possible transmission speed. To do this, you will need to find an open area to the southeast or southwest, depending on the beam, and calculate maximum object height and distance, based on the elevation. 
  1. Use a state-of-the art satellite terminal 
    When looking for a terminal, ask these questions: How rugged is it? Does it keep functioning at minus 20°C or under a layer of snow or ice? Is it battery-powered or are you depending on a power source? Can you still transmit in areas subject to GNSS-jamming? 

In other words, the number one priority is to make sure your satcom gear is as robust and secure as it needs be to perform in artic conditions. 

Learn more about artic satellite connectivity here.

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