Arctic Ocean Communications: Performance Of High-Data Transmission Over The Iridium System

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jeremy Wilkinson1, Lovro Valcic2, Martin J Doble3, Ted L Maksym4 and Jeremy Robst1, (1)NERC British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (2)BRUNCIN, Zagreb, Croatia, (3)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (4)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
The Iridium satellite communications service was launched over 15 years ago, and it is presently the “go to” service for transmitting data and voice from the polar regions. However there is very little information available regarding the metrics associated with the throughput of data via this system. During a recent campaign we released over 30 “dial-up” iridium enabled drifting buoys in a relatively small region of the Arctic Ocean. Over the past 6 months relatively large amounts of data have now been routinely downloaded (every hour) from these systems. Each platform, as well as the base station in the UK, independently monitored the throughput of data and here we present an analysis of the metrics (download speed, drop outs, power consumption etc.) associated with the transmission of data through the Iridium system. As the role of autonomous platforms in the polar region increases there is a greater need to better understand the issues associated with data transfer. Iridium is a vital component of any autonomous system and therefore the information presented here will be of value to the technological, scientific and engineering communities.