International Report

TETRA to the Rescue in Poland

The response time and coordination of the emergency services in Czluchow, Poland, are set to improve, after the Polish government commissioned a pilot project to set up a new control centre equipped with a modern TETRA radio system. With a view to improving internal security and cooperation among rescue teams, R & S BICK Mobilfunk, a subsidiary of Rohde & Schwarz, has supplied and installed a TETRA ACCESSNET®-T radio system in the centre.

The new radio communication system comprises a TETRA base station with integrated exchange (DSS-500), which includes a gateway to the in-house PBAX system, permitting radio conversation to and from the in-house or public switched telephone network. In addition, in-vehicle terminals are equipped with global positioning system (GPS) receivers, enabling the TETRA dispatcher to use the position data to coordinate action.

Use of the system's data capability can relay important information that will aid selection of the optimum hospital and give advanced warning of admission of a patient. There are already plans to extend the radio coverage area, and other communities in Poland are also interested in setting up this new system.

Alcatel Broadens New Zealand Network

To provide an end-to-end solution for its national broadband wireless network, New Zealand's Broadcast Communications Limited (BCL), the state owned communications network company, has contracted Alcatel to deploy optical transport and microwave radio equipment to backhaul its broadband access radio traffic. The company will implement an integrated end-to-end solution in conjunction with BCL's nationwide backbone, to deliver Ethernet and voice services to rural areas.

For the project, Alcatel will provide its synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) data-aware Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems equipped with Integrated Service Adaptors (ISA), as well as low-to-medium urban microwave radio equipment based on Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH) technology. Additionally, it will install an Ethernet switch infrastructure to interconnect the BCL access network under deployment to the existing digital microwave radio backbone.

Scheduled to begin service at the end of October 2003, stage one of BCL's open access wholesale broadband wireless network will consist of 28 sites throughout New Zealand. Commenting on Alcatel's selection the company's technical director, Keith Ladyman, said, "Alcatel's integrated solution and field-proven technology were two key factors that made us decide to choose them. Furthermore, their solution integrates well with our existing and planned network assets."

Communication Satellites at the Double

SES ASTRA has awarded Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) the contract to design and manufacture two high powered communications satellites to be deployed at ASTRA's prime continental European orbital position of 19.2° East. Due to be launched in the second half of 2005 and in 2006, respectively, the satellites will be built on Lockheed's reliable A2100 platform and will have minimum service lives of 15 years.

The first, ASTRA 1KR, will feature 32 active Ku-band transponders in the FSS band, with a TWTA output power of 140 W and a pan-European footprint. The second will be built in parallel and will serve two missions - in case of an ASTRA 1KR launch failure it will replace that spacecraft; if the launch is a success, it will be reconfigured to include a Ka-band payload and become ASTRA 1L.

It will be designed in order to reinforce SES ASTRA's inter-satellite back-up concept at a single orbital position, by providing satellite protection in the Ku- (FSS & BSS) and Ka-bands. This satellite will feature 29 active Ku-band transponders as well as a two-transponder Ka-band payload for interactive applications.

Collaboration Explores the Other End of the Spectrum

UK-based Antenova has announced a contract with the Radiocommunications Agency to develop multi-input multi-output (MIMO) prototype antenna arrays. The contract was won by a collaboration consisting of Antenova, the Queen Mary University of London and operator, Orange. It forms part of a wider investigation commissioned by the Radiocommunications Agency into optimising spectrum efficiency to enable future expansion of wireless network systems by using MIMO technology with multiple antennas at the handset and base stations.

Antenova's role is to design an antenna that will provide more capacity, allow more calls and increased data rates. It is envisaged that the company's High Dielectric Antenna (HDA) technology will provide high degrees of isolation between the multiple antennas on these small devices.

The Queen Mary University will provide complimentary technology known as photonic band-gap surfaces, which can serve to enhance isolation between antennas. In addition, the university will be investigating alternative antenna technologies, which could provide both spatial and polarisation diversities for MIMO technology. Orange will be supporting the venture by providing a technical and commercial perspective, from an operator's standpoint.

A Qualified Success for RSL's Scottish Facility

The Hybrid Microcircuits group at Raytheon Systems Limited's (RSL) Glenrothes facility in Fife has achieved full Qualified Manufacturer Listing (QML) - the US Department of Defense (DoD) approval of capability. QML listings exist for a wide variety of components, and QML-38534 specifically relates to the manufacture of hybrids. Notably, the RSL unit is only the second UK facility on the list, out of a total of 39, with only five of these being outside the US.

As some 75 percent of Glenrothes' work is related to US defence, this is a significant approval for the facility and is expected to lead to additional business for Glenrothes, particularly within airborne radar programmes for the US Air Force and US Navy. RSL is already a major supplier of such systems to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Thales Profits From Networking in Malaysia

Two contracts, totalling $180 M, have been signed by Thales and broadband service provider AtlasONE Sdn Bhd, contracting the former to provide equipment and services for a national deployment of wireless broadband services in Malaysia.

Under these agreements, Thales will assume responsibilities for all facets of system integration, programme management and broadband technology solution selection for the last-mile access architecture, and backbone transmission network.

This partnership will not only offer higher bandwidth IP services to large businesses and high rise buildings using the 3.5 GHz spectrum, but will also provide individual and small business portable Internet connectivity and voice services through the recently awarded 2.5 GHz spectrum.

The service provider plans to roll out comprehensive wireless last-mile network infrastructure, initially in the Klang Valley and key markets along the Western Corridor of the peninsula in the second half of 2003. The company is targeting to set up 60 base stations for the 3.5 GHz spectrum by the end of the year.