Iridium Satellite And Raytheon Provide Failsafe Communications During Emergencies - InformationWeek

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Iridium Satellite And Raytheon Provide Failsafe Communications During Emergencies

Raytheon's ACU product, designed for continuity during emergencies, can interconnect as many as 24 communications devices simultaneously over a range of satellite-, radio-, cell-, and land-based networks.

Mindful that the winds of Hurricane Katrina blew down communications towers and floodwaters knocked out wide sections of emergency calling infrastructure, Iridium Satellite and Raytheon have established an operable emergency service for first responders.

Announced this week to coincide with the first anniversary of the storm that devastated Gulf Coast states, the collaborative effort mates Iridium's satellite network with Raytheon's JPS ACU Interoperability Technology.

"If (first responders') systems did happen to be operational, they couldn't 'talk' with other systems because there was no interoperability component connecting them," Greg Ewert, executive vice president of Iridium, said in a statement as he recalled last year's hurricane. "It was a total breakdown."

While many Iridium users found their systems operated well during Katrina, they had difficulty communicating with other systems. Raytheon's ACU product line solves much of that interoperability problem because it can interconnect as many as 24 communications devices simultaneously over a range of satellite, radio, cell and land-based networks, the companies said.

Raytheon and Iridium noted that the ACU family is plug-and-play-capable -- able to connect seamlessly with Iridium systems, as well as with the devices of first responders. The ACU system, which is neither computer- nor network-dependent, is scalable. Users can connect radio networks, telephone systems, network RoIP/VoIP talkpaths, and satellite communications, the firms said.

Users connect with Iridium's constellation of 66 low- earth orbiting cross-linked satellites.

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