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Phone service unveiled for African mines

Satellite and fibre communications company Gilat Satcom has unveiled a new phone system it says will provide “high-quality voice connectivity” to people working in underground mines in Africa.

The company, which has deployments in 50 countries including SA, says the new system – dubbed SuricatePRO – uses RF-over-fibre technology from Foxcom.

“Traditionally, communication with underground workers has been via temporary coaxial cables, which are prone to damage and unsuitable for many locations. SuricatePRO provides coverage extension for standardSatellite phones, extending telephony underground without loss of signal quality.”

According to Vialite Communications, RF-over-optical-fibre is small in size, flexible, low-loss technology that uses intensity modulation to transmit RF signals.

“The continued fall in the cost of electro-optical conversion over recent years has led to RF-over-fibre being increasingly adopted for applications such as linking satellite teleports to control rooms, live outside broadcast TV, and enhancing coverage of wireless technologies such as GPS, GSM, WiMax, Tetra and P25, for example, by linking remote antennas inside buildings, tunnels and mines.”

The deployment of the RF-over-fibre solution requires customers to install outdoor and indoor units connected via fibre (up to 6km). Iridium satphone users in the room can then access the Iridium constellation “as if they had clear sky view”, says Gilat.

SuricatePRO is an RF-over-fibre solution that provides coverage extension for standard satellite phones, extending telephony underground.

The company, which has been providing a similar system to underground bunkers operated by military forces around the world for a number of years, says it has adapted this system to cope with the harsh conditions found at many mines.

Dan Zajicek, CEO of Gilat Satcom, says the solution was driven by the fact that communicating with workers in underground mines has always been problematic. “We are actively reaching out to mining companies in Africa.”

Source – Itweb