Comms in a cold climate

Philip Mason talks to Intelsat about the challenges of providing communications to the McMurdo research station, located in one of the remotest and most inhospitable regions on Earth

Being a largely UK-focused title, Land Mobile generally concentrates on what might be regarded as ‘low impact’ deployments of communications technology, at least when it comes to environmental conditions.

This is not to say, of course, that UK-based roll-outs are any easier for the lack of extreme weather. It’s just that, even with all the technical challenges, one thing that the – let’s say – Emergency Services Network doesn’t have to deal with is volcanoes, hurricanes or earthquakes.

With that in mind, in this article we are covering a deployment where the main interest is precisely the environmental conditions, namely the US government-run McMurdo research station, located in Antarctica. Without wanting to state too much of the obvious, this is a part of the world which gets extremely cold, with temperatures dropping to as low as -60°C.

At the same time, the station is also incredibly remote, located as it is just north of the largest ice shelf on the continent (that is, the 200,000 square mile Ross Ice Shelf). Needless to say, if any maintenance needs carrying out or an external engineer is required, it’s probably best to plan in advance.

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