When Disaster Strikes
Engineers at CET are ready to deal with emergencies at a moment’s notice so that customers are back online as soon as possible. Many customers have a need for an uninterrupted service and diversity in how it is delivered is a primary consideration. Here, Ken Armstrong discusses the importance of having different links as a back-up solution and argues that preparation is the best way to ensure rapid disaster recovery
CEO, CET Teleport
Q: Please tell us about CET Teleport and the scope of your business?
A: CET Teleport GmbH is one of the largest teleports in Europe delivering a wide range of corporate VSAT and media broadcast services. We have satellite links covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caribbean and South America and provide SCPC links as well as contended services through the iDirect Evolution® and iNFINITI® platforms to support enterprise, government, military, oil & gas, mining, banking, NGO and many other customer groups.
The teleport was constructed on the main east-west and north-south German national fibre network and, in addition to multi-Gigabit international Internet access to London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, CET has redundant dedicated access to BT’s Global Media Network (GMN) considerably increasing CET’s reach to the worldwide fibre network.
CET Teleport provides all the services required to ensure that a system is tailored to satisfy the specific needs: project management, installation, licensing, field service and maintenance, network monitoring and management, third party hosting and data storage and, for satellite operators, telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) services.
We can also arrange local licensing, installation and maintenance with Service Level Agreements guaranteeing the highest level of availability to ensure that, whatever the application, the connection is there when needed.
Q: What is your coverage and in which regions can you provide services?
A: The location of our teleport means that CET is better positioned than almost any other teleport to deliver the kind of international services required by organisations which operate globally. Its location allows access to more than 200 geostationary satellites located from 58°W to 76.5°E and provides a major Ka-band gateway.
The teleport in Hameln, northwest Germany, sits in 160 acres of land and has extensive disaster recovery facilities, a 24/7 Help Desk and with over 50 antennas ranging from 15m diameter downwards.
We supply services in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia primarily but also other parts such as the Caribbean and South America.
|Photo: © CET Teleport.
Q: You have capacity on a brand new satellite AFRICASAT-1a. How is that complementing the coverage and services you already have over Africa?
A: CET has been steadily building up its portfolio of services and expanding the coverage. Adding AFRICASAT-1a to the offer has completed another phase – that of having the African continent covered with Ku and C-band.
We are delighted to be one of the first operators to take capacity on this modern new satellite. This capacity will greatly improve our C-band coverage of Africa, complementing the existing Ku-band coverage. We already have services on NSS-7, T11N, Eutelsat 21A, Eutelsat 10A and many other satellites that cover the region.
Africa is a vibrant market and there is a constant need to provide broadband and VoIP connectivity for government, commerce and individuals in both the urban areas where the infrastructure has been damaged and also in rural areas which have not been properly served in the past.
Q: Which industries are you supporting with your VSAT solutions?
A: Through dedicated SCPC links and through our iDirect Evolution® and iNFINITI® platforms providing shared services, we support enterprise, government, military, oil & gas, mining, banking, NGO and many other customer groups.
CET is able to provide its customers with pretty well everything they need in the way of VSAT services and VSAT connectivity - Internet links from Siberia, distance learning in Central Asia, GSM backhaul services, VoIP or rural telephony networks in Africa, disaster recovery protection in the Middle East or services to ships in the Atlantic or Mediterranean?
Q: You provide services for Oil & Gas and Mining sector across the world. We know how important it is to keep the communications live at all times. For these companies, satellite is often the only solution due to their remote locations. What can CET offer as a solution?
A: Mines and Oil rigs are typically located in remote and inhospitable parts of the world, often beyond the reach of mobile phones and outside of terrestrial Internet range. Communication problems could pose real hardship for operators and increase the sense of remoteness and separation for the expatriate employees at the site. In most cases satellite communication is the only practical way of opening up these locations for communication with the outside world.
A satellite system installed at the main site location often needs an additional step – to connect many computers sitting around the base or to link a number of support facilities located at longer distances.
If the distances are short, we can assist with cabled or wireless local area networks (LAN) or for longer distances WiMax wireless links.
Again, every customer has a specific requirement and plan of growth, therefore each solution has to be tailor made.
|Photo: © CET Teleport.
Q: How can you help when a disasters strikes? How quickly can you set up remote services?
A: When disaster strikes, we are ready to be on the way quickly and help our customers back online. We have many people on the ground, in Africa, in particular. Depending on a location we can provide critical communications within 24-48 hrs. We might not be able to restore the full service immediately but the critical communications will be up and running quickly.
We often advise to be prepared for an emergency. Many of our customers have a need for an uninterrupted service and diversity is something we take into consideration from the early days. It is important to have different links as a back-up solution but what those are would depend greatly on the circumstances.
We consider all on case by case basis and discuss it with customers to understand their needs. Sometimes satellite is a back up to terrestrial Internet or fibre; sometimes we provide Ku-band services as a back up to C-band, other times, Ka-band is the solution. There are many possibilities but they should be considered in advance. Yes, we can act quickly in case of a disaster, but the best solution is to be prepared for when it strikes. That gives customer an edge over the competition and it is not as expensive as people think when packaged correctly. Certainly cheaper than what you need to pay in case of disaster if you are unprepared. It is like paying for your insurance and having your mind at ease in the knowledge that you’ll be fine in case of a catastrophe.
Q: What is next for CET?
A: We have many plans. We grow every day, investing in our infrastructure and skilled staff. Our customers are supported by highly-qualified engineers. We have many of them on the ground already but we always strive for improvement.
Besides the German Headquarters, CET has offices in the United Kingdom, India, Sierra Leone and DR Congo. We are in the process of opening Angola and Dubai offices at the moment. There a few other countries lined up already.
Our goal is to continue providing quality services without compromise.
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