Abstract

Telecommunications services are essential in all aspects of the oil and gas industry from exploration right through to the distribution of the final product. MSV (Mobile Satellite Ventures), offers a comprehensive range of telecommunications services in support of wide-area mobile communications and remote fixed-site applications from the High Arctic to Colombia and Venezuela. (Motient Corporation (Satellite Division) and TMI Communications recently joined forces and integrated resources to form a new entity, Mobile Satellite Ventures).

The paper first outlines the broad range of services available that include phone, fax, group-oriented dispatch radio and both circuit-switched and packetswitched data. The paper then describes various applications of these services to the oil and gas industry that include fleet dispatch and management, automatic vehicle location, SCADA, asset tracking and lone-worker protection. The paper also provides a description of the satellite radio hardware and an outline of the pricing structure applicable to the services available. The paper concludes with a brief description of the next generation of satellite services under development using a unique approach to provide a fully integrated satellite and terrestrial communications network using a single radio for wide-area satellite as well as urban-based services.

Introduction

The MSV network has been operational for more than 6 years and provides a broad range of communications services and hardware options for the enduser community.

Coverage

MSV owns and operates the MSAT geostationary satellite network which provides a comprehensive range of telecommunications services throughout a coverage area which embraces Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and most of Colombia and Venezuela. The MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 satellites also provide coverage 200 n.m. off the east and west coasts of North America and throughout the Caribbean.

Telecommunications Services

MSV manages a network of service providers, dealers and application developers with significant operations in Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. MSV, through its service providers, offers circuitswitched services, packet-switched services and an asset tracking service. Under bulk capacity arrangements other partners offer their own custom services such as asset tracking/messaging services and, in B.C., a differential GPS service.

The circuit-switched network provides telephone service, data (2400 and 4800 bps), fax, STU III (secure voice, data, fax) and the dispatch radio service outlined below.

The packet-switched network provides standard asynchronous and X.25 data services as well as the MSVproprietary Specialized Services outlined below. In general, packet data applications will include a group(s) of remote mobile and/or fixed-site units operating over the satellite into a host(s) that can provide a broad range of functionality. Network services such as the MSV asset tracking service and other bulk capacity services such as asset tracking/messaging are spread spectrum offerings.

Hardware/Communicator Options

Several manufacturers provide a comprehensive range of MSAT Communicators suitable for land mobile, aeronautical (fixed and rotary wing), marine, fixed and portable applications. The 2.4 kg notebook-size portable unit offers the full range of circuit-switched services. A hybrid unit offers both circuit-switched and packetswitched communications capability. Very small robust hardware has been developed for packet data and asset tracking with power supply, modem, transceiver and GPS receiver combined in a single unit.

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