16 May 2022

Reaping the rewards of always on connectivity

As we increasingly live in a connected world – from managing our homes via apps to remote diagnostics across just about every industry - Simon Hill, chief technology officer for Excelerate Technology, examines how the requirement for robust and resilient connectivity is keeping first responder personnel, and the public, safe.  

For more than two decades, we have been delivering hybrid connectivity to underpin a whole raft of technologies that help our customers stay connected in areas that are traditionally poorly served by connectivity or, more crucially, where terrestrial infrastructure has been compromised. 

Much of what we have developed and brought to market these past two decades has been as a result of customer need and collaboration, while further developments have come as a result of tests in collaboration with funding partners. However, it’s our agility in delivering this connectivity ecosystem which sets us apart, and one such product fast becoming the solution of choice for first responders here in the UK and globally is our Excell antenna. 

Excell enhances traditional mobile phone network capability, and is a long-range beam forming 4G LTE antenna that optimises cellular connectivity to any available network without the need for boosting or amplification. It works by powering the signal towards the direction of the cellular mast, ensuring a fast, reliable, and secure connection.  

In essence, Excell provides instant connectivity where traditional vehicle routers and mobile phones experience no connectivity.  

Testing in remote areas 

We put the Excell antenna system to the test in a remote location within the Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK. The signal strength on an iPhone on two major terrestrial networks was found to be extremely poor with access to edge (2.5G) data service only. During testing, Excell achieved 17.6 Mbit/s download and 18 Mbit/s upload versus a rival cellular router which achieved 3.4 Mbit/s and 1.8 Mbit/s respectively. That’s up to ten times faster upload speeds which can prove crucial when in operation such as first responders sharing live video data at a remote setting, like a forest fire for example. 

Testing in the marine world 

When sailing away from the shore you would expect the signal to get weaker and weaker, so we trialled Excell off shore and achieved successful streamed videos, 60km away from land and did not lose connection as afar as 82km from shore. 

Real-life operational challenge 

Back in the spring of 2021, Excell was deployed at short notice during a protracted fire incident at a polymers factory in Telford. It soon became apparent that, despite being in a built-up urban area, the cellular connection was unusable, and this impacted communication and connectivity to command-and-control software on the incident command unit (ICU). As a result, the service initiated its contingency plans to maintain the sharing of information, however this was at a much slower pace. 

The root cause of the unstable connection was faulty cellular mast, and the network provider was unable to deliver a suitable solution in an acceptable timeframe. At its lowest point, cellular speed dropped to 4Mbit/s. The deployment of the Excell antenna immediately re-established communication at the ICU, reconnected personnel devices and gave instant access to critical applications, such as the cloud-based command support software. More crucially, it provided enhanced situational awareness and real-time communications. In this instance, Excell boosted connectivity speeds x 10, from 4Mbit/s to 40Mbit/s. 

As a company, we are now seeing vital enhancements across wider sectors where connectivity, often a bond of cellular and satellite, is crucial – from making first responders and the public safer along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset through to innovation in smart highways and improved supply chain logistics.  

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Guest blog by Simon Hill, Chief Technology Officer, Excelerate Technology

About Excelerate Technology:

Excelerate Technology is a market-leading technology and connectivity partner, delivering hybrid connectivity solutions globally across diverse markets including emergency services, public safety, healthcare, governments, transport and utilities.

Through a combination of cellular, satellite and wireless technology, Excelerate specialises in integrated solutions that overcome the boundaries and limitations of connectivity challenged environments, significantly improving real-time data transfer and reliability. 

Follow Excelerate Technology on Twitter and LinkedIn

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