Silvus Technologies

Silvus Technologies

Silvus Streamcaster Radios 

The  StreamCaster radio family from Silvus Technologies are extensively deployed in the Broadcast, Military and Security fields to deliver mobile and temporary network requirements for personnel and vehicles both manned and unmanned. Due to the high bitrates achievable with MN-MIMO, they are often used for video transmission, but can happily carry multiple Voice, Video and Data feeds simultaneously, lending themselves perfectly to situations where a full suite of mobile video, voice communications and situational awareness (mapping) information is needed. 

Silvus offer 4 x 4 and 2 x 2 MIMO Meshing Radios with superior performances to conventional Microwave COFDM in point-to-point configurations. The radios form self-healing peer-to-peer meshes over extended coverage areas, delivering seamless IP connectivity between all “nodes”. 

Network availability in mobile environments has become completely routine in day to day operations, due to the global availability of cellular data provided by ISPs and Telco companies. Cellular networks (including PSMB - Public Safety Mobile Broadband) have proven themselves to be highly capable in this role for the vast majority of circumstances, ensuring that network-enabled tools have become and are rapidly becoming even more ubiquitous in a huge range of applications from Mining through Emergency Services to Broadcast and the Military. If however those networks are not available, the resultant loss of connectivity can be disastrous fpr workflows that have become dependent on them. Unfortunately this can happen all too often through natural disasters (eg Bushfires, Floods), operating in areas without coverage (remote areas or overseas).  

Silvus Radios deliver a deployable IP network to the field, managed and maintained by the user themselves, independent of 3rd party infrastructure or services. This network can deliver extended connectivity amongst members of a team working either in an urban environment or in isolation, and in challenging environments such as remote bush locations, ravines, caves and flood plains, and can also connect that team directly back to base or through the internet using any backhaul systems that may be deployed – including the PSMB and public cellular systems. A whole range of network-based communications, video and management systems can be freely deployed to working areas without fear of loss of connectivity due to infrastructure failure. The system has the potential to deliver: 

  • Significantly expanded coverage for ground based mobile crews based on use of a distributed contribution network operating into local backhaul access points. Local access points may be as simple as a WiFi hotspot, Satellite backhaul, or direct connection into a national Public Safety Mobile Broadband Network or regular 3G/4G mobile data network.

  • IP connectivity to remote field units for control, communications and file transfer as well as live video contribution and distribution.

  • Multiple real-time voice, video and data paths to and from multiple field units with relaying and add/drop capability.

  • Reduction of channel management issues by use of single-frequency networks in a wide range of available bands from 400 MHz to 6 GHz.

  • Independence from fixed infrastructure and therefore the failures often associated with that infrastructure particularly at times of crisis.

  • Significant performance enhancements (range and reliability) compared to WiFi (802.11)-based solutions 

  • Significant cost reductions and performance improvements compared to “Cell on Wheels (CoW) or other temporary network solutions 

MESH Radios 

The principle of a MESH Radio network is that multiple radio nodes bond together flexibly to form a fluid self-healing network that carries IP (network) data. A node can move around freely within a MESH-covered area and retain network connectivity to all other nodes. 

Most MESH Radio systems are designed for commercial use, typically using the 802.11 standards family, and suffer from: 

  • Limited performance 

  • Limited available frequency range 

  • Low data rates and often symmetrical – 50% forward, 50% back 

  • Inflexible packaging 

  • Complex setups 

Silvus MN-MIMO (Mobile Net – Multi In Multi Out) Radios – Silvus radios differ from normal MESH radios. 

  • They deliver exceptional point-to-point performance equal to or better than conventional Microwave platforms, but typically in less spectral bandwidth.  

  • They are available and deployed in Australia and New Zealand today in Public Safety, ISM and licensed frequency bands.  

  • High Power amplifier solutions are available.  

  • They have been designed for mobile deployment in temporary and semi-permanent installations rather than as a permanent infrastructure product. 

  • They offer asymmetrical data rates of up to 100 Mbps. 

  • They are “switch on and go”, requiring little or no management once configured for field operations. A Silvus MESH is a true peer-to-peer self-forming self-healing mesh with no master and no configuration requirements after initial setup. Members of the Mesh can join and leave freely

Technology Overview and Background

In 2007, Silvus was funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a new communications waveform which would satisfy the need for reliable, high-bandwidth video and data communications in harsh environments. Target applications included challenges such as: 

  • Cluttered environments with a high degree of signal reflections (multipath) such as dense urban canyons 

  • Non-line-of-sight (NLOS) operation involving the penetration of obstacles and/or making use of reflective signal paths to bypass obstacles 

  • Vehicles and platforms with a high degree of mobility 

  • Connectivity in the presence of interference and jamming 

MN-MIMO 

The revolutionary waveform, now known as Mobile Networked MIMO (MN-MIMO), is a proprietary implementation of 3 powerful communications technologies: 

  • Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM) – Data is distributed over a number of sub-carriers to provide robustness in environments with multipath signal reflections and even in non-line-of-sight (NLOS). Forward Error Correction (FEC) is applied to further enhance link reliability.  

  • Multi In Multi Out (MIMO) Antenna Techniques – Spatial diversity is achieved through the use of multiple antennas on each side of the link. This is leveraged in several ways, each providing a unique benefit to the user.  

    • RX Eigen Beamforming – The use of multiple antennas to receive the signal improves the likelihood that the signal is successfully received, and allows energy seen at each antenna to be summed together to produce a stronger signal than is seen at any individual antenna. The benefit is increased range and link robustness. 

    • Spatial Multiplexing – Unique data streams are sent from each antenna, but all at the same frequency. Sophisticated digital signal processing on the receive end allows us to distinguish between these signals and recover them. The benefit is an increase in throughput without a penalty in range, power levels, or RF bandwidth.  

    • Space Time Coding (STC) – A single stream of data is sent from multiple antennas. On each antenna, a unique signal processing coding is applied to the stream in a way that enhances the ability of the receiver to separate the data from the background noise.?The benefit is a further increase in link robustness. 

  • Silvus use 4 x 4 and 2 x 2 MIMO depending on model selected.

  • Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) – Silvus radios join together to form a fluid, self-healing, self-forming, single-frequency mesh network. Each radio may use its neighbor as a relay to transmit data across a network of radios via the most efficient route. The network topology is decentralized and there is no central point of failure.Page Break 

Application Example - MN-MIMO for Public Safety and Emergency Services 

MN-MIMO is uniquely suited to address many of the key requirements of Emergency Services, including: 

  • Operation in remote areas without reliance on public infrastructure 

  • Transmission in dense urban environments, including NLOS and penetrating in/out of buildings 

  • Operation in a variety of frequency bands 

  • Increased data rates to support high resolution video imagery (up to 100 Mbps) 

  • Low end-to-end latency (<10mS per hop) 

  • Improved spectral efficiency (more bits per second per hertz) and simplified frequency coordination (single RF channel shared by multiple users) 

  • Bi-directional capability supporting either symmetrical or asymmetrical traffic 

  • Flexible network infrastructure to facilitate end-to-end IP workflow 

  • Establishing a secure private cellular network – the system is secured by AES 128/256 encryption. 

Silvus’ MN-MIMO technology can be leveraged to provide a high performance IP network between 2 or more assets, including: 

  • Remote camera – MN-MIMO can be used for the ‘first mile’ link to connect a remote camera to: 

    • Command and Control Vehicle 

    • Portable point-to-point microwave or high powered MN-MIMO link 

    • 3G/4G modem (for instances where camera is in a building or area with poor cell reception) 

    • BGAN or other satellite terminal 

    • WiFi hotspot 

Since the link is bi-directional, latency is low, and throughput is significant, MN-MIMO is a single radio solution suitable for the transport of video, return video and communications. 

  • Command Vehicles – Command Vehicles can act as a relay, connecting field units to each other and to Headquarters. 

  • Helicopters and UAVs – MN-MIMO is well suited for long range airborne links. Helicopters and UAVs can also be used as a relay for Command and Control vehicles and ground-based assets to provide coverage in areas inaccessible via terrestrial links. 

  • Headquarters – Central receive configurations are available with high gain directional or omnidirectional antennas 

  • Point-to-point links – MN-MIMO facilitates bi-directionality and high bandwidth, making it an ideal solution for the transport of video, audio, and data over portable point to point links 

  • Strategic receive sites – Multiple receive sites can be installed at strategic locations to provide blanketed ‘cellular’ coverage of a large sprawling metropolitan area 

  • Tactical receive sites and “reach points” – Radios can be temporarily deployed at hotels, coffee shops, Fast Food outlets, private residences, businesses, stadia, hotels or any other location with an internet or WAN connection. This provides the ability to setup ad-hoc receive sites to cover incidents that occur outside the range of strategic receive sites. 

  • Field operatives – an EMERGENCY SERVICE member equipped with a Silvus Radio can not only benefit from Push-to-Talk (PTT), video transmission and reception and WiFi connectivity themselves, but can also provide access to these facilities for their team members. 

Practical impact of Silvus MN-MIMO on EMERGENCY SERVICE operations 

Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET or MESH) Radios (nodes) have the ability to link together to form a seamless IP network. The linking can occur either across the air (node to node), via the Internet (3G/4G, Satellite links, WiFi hot spots) or through a Local or Wide Area Network (NBN access point, Public Safety Mobile Broadband connection, terrestrial “hard” network). Any radio that sees any other radio will automatically form a link. The following diagram shows 5 nodes in a MESH. The colors indicate RF signal headroom between nodes, which determines the data capacity between those nodes. 

 

An IP packet sent into the Mesh is automatically routed by the best possible route at any given moment, with the radio adjusting its modulation and signal strength on a packet-by-packet basis to optimize the overall network. The benefit of this is that any node can move around in an area covered by other nodes, and they will all form a seamless network to transport the traffic from that node to wherever it needs to go. 

In order to cover a large area, it is only necessary to place a succession of nodes (for example in water proof cases, battery powered with Solar charging) to cover the area required, with one of the nodes connected back to headquarters. Operators can move freely around between them and they will remain connected to headquarters. Any IP requirement can be met in the covered area – Mobile computers, tablets, smartphones, IP Communications systems... A private, secure cellular network has been established. It is important to note that the “MESH” can be extended to cover any interconnected areas - across the state, country or globe – as long as there is an appropriate network connection to be had. The network is secured using AES Encryption to Military standards. In this way the MESH forms a seamless extension to the headquarters WAN – without the operator having to do anything but turn on a node and watch for a green light. 

If the connection to headquarters is unavailable, the local network is still in place – allowing members of a field group to remain connected to each other even whilst disconnected from HQ. A local Command and Control unit can therefore still extend all of its network capabilities to members of an attached field group even if no Headquarters connection is available.


A mobile integrated IP network connected to HQ via mesh, helicopter relay and local backhaul points 





















Silvus Streamcaster 4200 MN-MIMO Radio 

SC4200 series radios are available in 1-watt and 4-watt output versions and are effective when size and weight are of concern. These are ideal for body-worn systems, un-manned vehicles, and other applications where the increased power of the SC4400 series is not required. 

  • 2x2 MIMO 

  • 4 Watts Output Power 

  • TX Beamforming: 2-3dB Additional EIRP 

  • Multiple frequency band options  

  • Ruggedized IP68 enclosure or OEM 

  • Date rates of 100+Mbps 

  • Integrated Bi-Directional Voice Comms 

  • Ethernet, Serial, and 2x USB Interface 

  • FPGA Based / Software Defined Radio 













Silvus Streamcaster 4400 MN-MIMO Radio 

SC4400 series radios are available in 1-watt and 8-watt output versions and are effective for applications that require the benefit of additional power and receive sensitivity. These are ideal for vehicle integration, fixed infrastructure, long range airborne and maritime systems.

  • 4x4 MIMO 

  • Up to 8 Watts Output Power 

  • TX Beamforming: 5-6dB Additional EIRP 

  • Multiple frequency band options  

  • Ruggedized IP68 enclosure or OEM 

  • Date rates of 100+Mbps 

  • Integrated Bi-Directional Voice Comms 

  • Ethernet, Serial, and 2x USB Interface 

  • FPGA Based / Software Defined Radio

















GPS Location Tracking


Each StreamC
aster Radio has provision for connection to a GPS antenna. When so connected, the radio will make available a map of its location to any connected Net Management client:



Maps may be either preloaded into each radio, or downloaded in real time via an available Internet connection. 

The SC4400 and SC4200 are also available as OEM board sets for integration into custom enclosures such as active Radio/Power amplifier/Quad Antenna combinations or for permanent integration into vehicles or road kits. 






















Accessories 

A range of accessories for the radios are available, ranging from PTT Headsets for communications through bodyworn and PTZ Video cameras to mounting systems for poles, vehicles and buildings. Tracking antennas are available for Ground to air applications to extend range out to 150kms plus.

















Flexibility is the key
 

Silvus meshes build themselves out of any nodes that are within RF range of each other or connected by LAN, WAN or Cellular. Every node acts as a relay point for every other node. The implication is extreme simplicity in setup – antenna placement is really the only field consideration that need be trained. Field operators and volunteer’s equipment is typically either cabled or connected by WiFi to the resulting Mesh network. 

Nodes can be configured in many formats to achieve the desired results, some examples being: 

Vehicle Unit – an SC4480 with higher gain Omni Antennas mounted to the roof of a vehicle or boat, and providing an anchor point for the rest of a local Mesh as well as a hardwired access point for management systems. The local connection systems (3G/4G modems, Satellite systems etc.) can also be housed in the vehicle. 

Portable Node – a self-contained unit with integrated Battery, optionally with Solar Charger, that can be temporarily placed in any location to either provide a relay, semi-permanent monitoring point, or temporary access point to a backhaul network. 

Personal Unit – with or without Video, WiFi Access Point, PTT, GPS locator. Typically one unit deployed for every other person in a field team, with the balance of the team accessing the Mesh via WiFi. 

Tower System – permanent or temporary towers, with high gain sector antennas and/or amplification, providing area coverage for mobile teams.


Visit the Silvus website for more information on their specific products.

Contact us to discuss how Silvus can benefit your organisation.


Recent Blog Posts for Silvus

National Aerial Firefighting Centre use Silvus aerial mesh radio system for firefighting efforts

Optimum Solutions Engineering LLC and Silvus team up to test MIMO radio with GPS tracker

Silvus Technologies
radio military
broadcast
maritime communication