Announcing the 1.8-Meter MST

Skycasters Announces the 1.8-Meter Mobile Satellite Trailer (MST)

Exciting things are happening here at Skycasters. Today, we have the pleasure of making a major announcement to our current customers, prospects, and curious consumers.

Jerry Piland, head of Research and Development at Skycasters, has been spending a lot of time working on a new solution to address challenges we often see in the field. Inaccessible oil rigs, distant mining camps, telemedicine, and first responders to natural disasters often rely on satellite internet services. It is our mission to ensure they stay connected and online.

As such, the Mobile Satellite Trailer, or MST, is one of our most popular technologies. This durable dish on wheels can be attached to a trailer hitch and hauled just about anywhere for portable internet access. Typically, our MSTs have a 1.2-Meter antenna and on-board Wi-Fi adapters to help businesses in oil and gas communications and disaster recovery keep a connection when they need it most. However, it just might not be the best choice for some of the worst-case situations.

Today, we announce the 1.8-Meter MST which features a variety of improvements from our smaller model. With a larger dish, the 1.8 MST has a better chance of getting a clear connection on whichever satellite you’re using, even during heavy rain fades that might knock other customers out of the network. This trailer also has a host of other advancements, including:

  • An extended run gas tank system for a 2000-Watt Honda Generator.
  • Electronics insulated against harsh hot and cold weather conditions.
  • 1000 BTU, closed-loop air conditioner and 350-Watt, built-in heater.
  • Two axial fans mounted to provide maximum cooling to the server rack.
  • A removable aluminum frame with two polycarbonate lids provides quick, efficient, and safe access to the inner electronics whenever you need to get to them.
  • Additional storage space complete with fire extinguisher, tool bag, and LED light bags.
  • A portable and collapsible LED light pole can make the trailer easier to modify in the field.
  • A three-section Turtle Shell Cover with lockable latches protects the dish during transit.

While our other MSTs are certainly a feat of engineering, the 1.8 is truly a triumph! With the larger dish, customers can get increased throughput and CIR service levels during bad weather. Modifications like these are essential in some industries to keep the internet running during emergency conditions or on-site at remote mining camps.

One of the best things about this announcement is that all of the new bells and whistles available for the 1.8 MST are now available for the 1.2-Meter trailer. A more technical press release for the 1.8 MST can be found here. For more information, contact your sales representative, email us any time at sales@skycasters.com, or simply call us at 1-800-268-8653 Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 6:00pm Eastern.

Go anywhere. Get online. Stay connected. Skycasters.


National Hurricane Conference 2014

Skycasters to Showcase New Mobile Satellite Trailer

at National Hurricane Conference in Orlando

Skycasters is pleased to announce that we will be attending the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida next week from April 14th to April 17th. Curious attendants will be able to visit our booth and talk to specialists from both Sales and Marketing and our Engineering departments about the exciting new technology and plans we offer for disaster response and back-up satellite internet.

As core segments of our business, Skycasters is always interested in enhancing disaster recovery plans and networking with individuals in businesses, government agencies, hospitals, and the telemedicine industry. With fewer points of failure, satellite internet is also generally more reliable during emergencies.

The National Hurricane Conference offers an important opportunity for Skycasters to meet and brainstorm with experts in the industry so we can learn to predict what technologies might be valuable before they become a necessity. One such offering is our brand new 1.8-Meter Mobile Satellite Trailer, or MST.

First exhibited last week at Disaster Recovery Journal’s DRJ Spring World 2014, the 1.8 MST has already generated a lot of interest. In emergency situations, first responders and federal organizations like FEMA may need to set up a mobile command center with internet access when the telephone and power lines have been damaged.

“The self-pointing antenna on the Skycasters MST makes deployment quick and easy even for users with little or no technical background,” commented James ‘Skip’ Anderson, Skycasters’ Director of Sales and Marketing. “Upon arriving on site responders can deploy the MST and have internet access within 10 minutes.  This rapid deployment allows responders to begin using the internet communications while working on other critical, life-saving missions.”

Anderson and Skycasters Network Engineer Tom Reed will be on hand during this year’s 2014 National Hurricane Conference. While there, they will be running regular demonstrations of the 1.8 MST, presenting informational videos on loop, and speaking with show attendees about satellite internet solutions and disaster recovery plans.

Hurricanes, earth quakes, floods, and other natural disasters are just a part of life, but it pays to be prepared. If your company or organization doesn’t have a back-up internet connection or disaster recovery plan, stop by and talk to us next week in at the Hilton in Orlando. We are always working to make data more disaster-proof.


SATELLITE 2014 Conference

Thousands convened at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. for the SATELLITE 2014 Conference. Spanning March 10–13, the premier annual event provided unmatched networking opportunities for its attendees, which included a mix of executives, military officials, network engineers, and broadcasters from around the globe.

Representing Skycasters in the crowd of satellite communication professionals were Richard McKinney and James Anderson from the Sales team, who teamed up with Senior Network Engineer, Kelly Olsen.

“The first day of SATTELLITE 2014 was overwhelming,” Anderson said, in response to the large scale of the event.

After settling in, McKinney and Anderson began Day 2 with the goal of seeking out companies that want to partner with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with the intent of expanding Skycasters’ sales avenues. The entire team also had the opportunity to link up with a few existing partners along the way.

As one of the biggest shows of the year, it’s not just about finding business. Skycasters is always looking to help provide solutions for customers and businesses frustrated with their traditional communications failing. The company offers a variety of satellite services for disaster recovery, the oil and gas industry, and other scenarios where the options are rather limited. The show also gives Skycasters personnel a chance to interact with the companies like iDirect which we rely on to keep our technology delivering high-quality internet service.

“We were able to meet with iDirect to discuss upcoming products and services. We also spoke with people from Telesat and IsoTropic Networks.”

Telesat, owner and operator of a communications satellite used by Skycasters, shared how there will soon be a way to extend the life of satellites by sending manned space flights to repair and possibly re-fuel older units. This would be extremely helpful to ISPs in maintaining cost-effective services for customers. Announcements like these are one of the biggest reasons we like to attend these shows.

The conference introduced new technology that will help Skycasters become even more efficient. Although still a way off from mainstream availability, the team learned of some exciting advances regarding the transmission of data compression (excluding video). This would improve bandwidth and maximize “actual” throughput by helping to isolate it from compressed data amounts.

Skycasters will continue striving to be a leading provider of broadband satellite Internet. Our people are always seeking out the newest and most reliable innovations in the industry. Events such as SATELLITE 2014 provide excellent opportunities for establishing and maintaining this standard.

“It was interesting to see various solutions, so when a customer comes to us with something out of the ordinary we have the resources to solve the problem by using different reflectors, bigger BUCs or other equipment, Anderson said.


Weathering the Storm with Disaster Recovery

While the North Pole was experiencing unusually mild weather[1] in early 2014, the United States saw the coldest temperatures of the century[2] in some areas. Cities like Chicago and Boston saw frozen rivers and lakes[3]. Even New Orleans saw temperatures in the high 30s. States like Texas needed a boost from wind energy[4] or nuclear[5] to keep their customers’ lights and heating systems on.

Whether or not you believe in global warming[6], the average winter climate in the United States has been colder and more turbulent over the last few years. The recent dip in the jet stream, or polar vortex, is just one example of how the cooler months can be very dangerous. Ice and heavy snow can weigh on power and communications lines. When these lines fail, emergency crews and first responders are even more critical. IEEE Spectrum[7] and other technical websites have reported on just how tough things were for our country’s electrical infrastructure.

Temperatures at our Akron, Ohio teleport were as low as -12 below without wind chill and -35 including it. Just like the rest of the country, we struggled with our car batteries and spent 48 hours keeping a much closer watch on our network and satellite RF equipment. While our systems and the American power grid survived this round, the winter weather highlighted just how tenuous our positions can be sometimes.

The first step is having a disaster recovery plan. How will you handle your data if backups fail? Where will your food, water, and power come from? Improvisation works well in comedy, but not when you’re facing difficult times. The best outcomes result from good planning.

Whether you’re a business, a homeowner, or a first responder, the primary concern is people. During winter storms or oppressive midsummer heat, you need to be concerned for your own safety. We all need food, water, shelter, and mild temperatures. Once you’ve taken care of the most basic, primal necessities, though, you need to consider how you’re going to stay connected.

Unlike traditional internet, satellite service isn’t susceptible to the infrastructure around you, especially if you have access to an auxiliary power supply or generator. With a solid primary or backup satellite connection, your business can keep browsing even during a polar vortex.

When it comes to creating a disaster recovery plan, businesses don’t often think about how snow and ice might affect their internet capabilities. If a strong ice storm or extremely cold temperatures strike, traditional landlines could go down for days or even weeks before recovering. Wind and nuclear[8] may keep the power from going out, but modern businesses just can’t afford to be without internet access.

Skycasters satellite internet service is a great option for primary or back up internet services. We’re used to working in the oil and gas industry where satellite communications are the only option and reliability is essential. We also work closely with a number of government agencies and first responders who just can’t afford extended downtime offline. But how can you plan for what hasn’t happened yet and why should you invest the resources?

Our network’s latency is generally around 650ms which means you can count on traditional business applications and VOIP running on our network at broadband speeds even when no other communications options are available. Skycasters’ dishes can be packed up and moved to other sites on a moment’s notice. In disaster areas or a state of emergency, crews need to be able to communicate with the people in charge or to retrieve information from medical databases.

Don’t let natural disasters catch you off guard. Make sure to plan for any situation and get more information about a back-up or primary internet connection via satellite.

 




Prepare for Resort Season with Skycasters

With winter swiftly rolling in, the comfortable temperatures of autumn have begun to plummet to dreadfully low numbers. For thousands of people this is the perfect time to take a vacation somewhere warm and sunny; for those working in hotels and at resorts winter can be the busiest time of the year. These days, when it comes to amenities, hotel guests have more than just room service in mind. In our technologically dependent era, travelers expect a strong, consistent internet connection wherever they go. While this might not sound like an issue at first, the unfortunate truth is that most private beaches and islands have trouble getting traditional internet access.

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Now is the perfect time to investigate the internet capabilities of your hotel or resort, and to ensure any potential issues are resolved. Even the wealthiest establishments will find that emergency or back-up lines can be extremely helpful in the event of an unforeseen or unfortunate circumstance. Smooth and reliable remote communication is the key to retaining satisfied customers, and maintaining control over the use of service is integral for a business to remain profitable. Balancing these two necessities might seem impossible, but through our point-to-multipoint solution Skycasters can ensure satisfaction for both.

Most business owners are familiar with the practice of setting up a captive portal when offering internet service. With point-to-multipoint, or PTMP, you can provide a hot-spot just about anywhere, with no complicated set-up. All you need is a Skycasters Satellite Internet connection and our PTMP service. We’ll do the configuration for you.

When a user opens a browser on our PTMP network, they’ll be redirected to our secure login and signup page. After signing up and logging in the user may browse the internet at their leisure through Skycasters’ high-capacity fiber connections. The entire process is easy, quick, and provides insurance for both the user and the business providing the service. To ensure flawless customer satisfaction this resort season, call or e-mail us today to find out more about remote communication and point-to-multipoint procedures.


The Future of Mobile Internet is with Skycasters

Mobile technology is, without a doubt, one of the 21st century’s most impressive and amazing advancements. When most people hear the word “mobile”, however, a very specific image comes to mind. More often than not, the idea of connecting to a satellite while moving is mentioned. While Skycasters does not currently provide this service, it is a very interesting option when discussing the idea of mobile communications.

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Moving while maintaining a connection to a satellite can bring up a host of technical concerns. While it is possible, it is very expensive and rarely necessary. In situations where a medical team must treat a patient while on the way to the hospital, or when chasing storms and feeding data back to a remote server, moving communications and internet access can be very important. Most of the time, a company can’t justify the cost of this technology for its uses. Generally speaking, what businesses typically need is connectivity in areas where the infrastructure isn’t fully developed as well as the ability to pick up and move elsewhere.

When Skycasters uses the term “mobile”, we introduce the concept of satellite dishes affixed to trailers or other vehicles. We have our own customized trailer-mounted solution called MSTs or Mobile Satellite Trailers. These convenient devices can easily be moved from location to location, which is perfect for industries like oil and gas exploration. MSTs can act as mobile LANs and can even be ordered with self-pointing dishes.  Using these “nomads” Skycasters is able to bring mobile satellite internet to an even broader range of business users, while simultaneously decreasing any inconvenience. By providing another option for connectivity, Skycasters aims to bring the best service possible to businesses in a wide variety of locations.

Trailer or vehicle-mounted satellite antennas are far from the only innovation available to our customers. When you work with Skycasters, we guarantee that the customer’s interest always comes first. Our business model is driven by providing custom solutions, whenever and wherever possible. No matter how specific your request, we will work with you directly to solve your business’s unique needs.

Far from just self-aligning dishes, we’re constantly trying out new devices to meet customer demand. Although we don’t sell the equipment required for truly mobile connections, we have the experience to meet that need if a customer comes to us. Another cool mobile technology available are GATRs, a dramatic leap in technology that involves inflatable, bullet-resistant, stand-alone communications terminals. While we haven’t yet used these in the field for customers yet, we can incorporate them where and when they are needed. No matter what our clients ask for, we’re comfortable crafting a custom plan and working with new technology to make it happen.


Join Skycasters on Location in Houston!

This year the Oil Comm Conference and Expo comes to Houston, Texas from November 6th to November 8th. Renowned as one of the largest expositions for communications in the oil and gas community, many of the names you’ve come to know and trust will be traveling to the three- day event. With approximately 1,500 individuals attending, 30 countries represented, and over 125 exhibitors networking during the conference, there are sure to be countless opportunities to socialize and learn from the best in the business. James ‘Skip’ Anderson and Richard McKinney will be representing Skycasters, LLC, to showcase the company’s capabilities and explore partnership opportunities.

“We enjoy spending time networking with prospects to see if they have a problem for which we can provide a solution, as well as meeting with existing clients to ensure that they remain satisfied with our services,” says Anderson. “We attend the show with the intention of speaking to the other vendors, hoping to find potential partners with which we share a mutual interest.”

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The Skycasters crew will be showing Skycastes’ Mobile Satellite Trailer capabilities – MST for short – to the show via an informational DVD presentation along with other clips. Videos will continuously run on a loop, providing attendees the freedom to stop by whenever their schedules allow. Those who visit will be able to learn more about Skycasters, including current projects and how they are improving gas and oilfield communications. Bring your problems and an open mind along, but prepare to walk away with solutions.

Don’t miss your chance to ask questions, receive alternative perspectives on portable and remote communications, and build a larger network at the OilComm Conference and Expo. Skycasters will begin preparations for another event scheduled for December once the weekend comes to a conclusion. More information about future events will be announced as the appropriate dates approach. Until then, we look forward to seeing you in Houston!


Don’t Let Hurricane Season Defeat You

Hurricane season is a time of dread for many people, with terrifying winds and waters assaulting homes, businesses, and public areas alike. Thankfully, due to calmer meteorological conditions, hurricane season started fairly late this year and has been relatively humble compared to initial forecasts. Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski explains, “A large area of high pressure over the central Atlantic has been very strong and very good at driving dry air southward into the tropics into September.” Experts fear, however, that this may lull unimpressed bystanders into a false sense of security.

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Since the middle of September 2013, at least three major tropical storms have developed along the Atlantic coast and surrounding areas. While these storms may not last for as long as expected, the tradeoff is that a greater number of storms are developing. Likewise, the death toll has already reached double digits, which leads us to shy away from referring to this hurricane season as “unimpressive.”
Agnes, Andrew, Diane, Hazel, Katrina and Sandy were all single storms that caused unexpected levels of damage, and cautious observers refuse to believe that a similar event this year is impossible. Since Hazel and Sandy both occurred in late October, meteorologists have reason to believe that we are nearly in the clear as we approach Halloween. With such a mild hurricane season, there may be unused funds waiting in reserve. Instead of allowing this accumulated capital to expire – resulting in a smaller budget for next year – why not invest in future seasons and the year to come with a secondary internet connection for first responders?
Due to the unruly nature of natural disasters, being ready for any situation requires backup communication methods designed for optimal speed and connectivity. When a disaster strikes, Skycasters offers a reliable connection to the internet even when land lines and local power are damaged. Our technology is so dependable; that several state Homeland Security offices rely on our trailers for portable satellite service and disaster response.
Even when all forms of landline communication are unavailable, our satellite service will still work perfectly and is often cited as one of the greatest support assets to first responders repairing an area. Our rapid deployment systems can stand the test of weather and wear, remaining functional under extreme circumstances –making them the best option for first responders on the scene.
Are you prepared for the remainder of hurricane season? What procedures of emergency response do you rely on? Could your safety be improved with better disaster recovery techniques and equipment?


Sun Fade Season Approaches

As we begin to enter the month of October, Skycasters would like to take the opportunity to remind our clients that they may encounter temporary outages due to a phenomenon known as sun fade. Sun fade, or sun outage, occurs when a satellite is positioned directly between its receiving station and the sun. The overwhelming solar radiation, which includes the microwave frequencies on which satellites communicate, disrupts the received signal and causes interference. Each outage lasts no more than a few minutes. While we understand any interruption in service may be an inconvenience to you, rest assured that all possible measures are being taken to minimize any loss in service.

Due to the look angle between the satellites, sun, and receive station, outages vary by geographic location, and this means that there will be sun fade at both our headquarters and customer locations. The schedule for these outages generally runs from north to south from approximately February 20th to April 20th, and again from approximately August 20th to October 20th. At our teleport in Akron, OH clients can expect minor issues during the following dates:

SATELLITE CITY DIAMETER DATE TIME (GMT) DURATION
G28 AKRON, OH 8.1 m 10/08/2013 17:46 3 min
G28 AKRON, OH 8.1 m 10/09/2013 17:45 2 min
T11N AKRON, OH 8.1 m 10/08/2013 13:56 3 min
T11N AKRON, OH 8.1 m 10/09/2013 13:57 1 min
AMC-1 AKRON, OH 2.4 m 10/07/2013 18:49 3 min
AMC-1 AKRON, OH 2.4 m 10/08/2013 18:47 5 min
AMC-1 AKRON, OH 2.4 m 10/09/2013 18:47 5 min
AMC-1 AKRON, OH 2.4 m 10/10/2013 18:49 1 min

It is important to note that clients will experience the effects of sun fade not only from their home location, but also from our base in Akron, OH. For more information on when and for how long you can expect an interruption of service at both your location and ours, please follow the links below:

G28: http://www.intelsat.com/webapps/SunInterference/PublicSunInterference.aspx
T11N: https://support.telesat.ca/SunTransit/
AMC1: http://www.ses.com/7794865/AMC1_SEPTEMBER_E2570_NAMERICA2_RIF.PDF


Skycasters leaves lasting impressions at the Offshore Technology Conference!

Skycasters sales and marketing team joined together this week to attend the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, TX! At this show we had the opportunity to meet with 2,700 exhibiting companies from over 110 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2013
different countries in offshore resources that specialize in drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.
OTC provides Skycasters with the access to leading-edge technical information, the industry’s largest equipment exhibition, and valuable new professional contacts. Communication is vital to these offshore industries like subsea exploration and mining, safety and environmental management systems, deep-water well construction and project management. It is important for us to get our products and services known and recognized in these industries, so they can begin and continue to lean on us to help them complete their dally business routines.