Serial and Ethernet Over-The-Horizon (SOTH/EOTH) Communication System
Overview: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has developed the Serial and Ethernet Over the Horizon SOTH/EOTH Communication System. This system can transparently replace a wired point-to-point data link with a wireless satellite communication (SATCOM) link. The SOTH/EOTH system provides a modular "plug-and-play" SATCOM capability that requires no modification to the interface or software of the original wired system. This invention instantly transforms local hard-wired sensor systems into global wireless remote sensing systems. Current Market Need: Although the system concept is broadly applicable to numerous communication mediums such as cellular, line-of sight RF radio, POTS modem, or IEEE 802.11B, system implementation efforts for the design focused on the most challenging medium, satellite communication. This prototype can be used in any wired sensing system that communicates over a 3-wire RS232 interface or Ethernet and can be instantly transformed into a remote monitoring system with global coverage. Possible applications include companies involved in Remote Pipeline Monitoring, Power Lines, Oil Platforms, Environmental Monitoring, Autonomous Operations, Military Intelligence or Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Typical remote platforms include autonomous vehicles, seismic/acoustic sensors, temperature sensors, bio-chemical sensors, web cameras, and unmanned air vehicles (UAV). Typical base station platforms include laptop/desktop computers and personal digital assistants (PDA’s).
Advantages & Cost Savings: To communicate over satellite via standard satellite modems, designers must alter existing applications to allow communications over a standard 9-wire R232 satellite modem port. Current off-the-shelf SATCOM modem technology requires that the system applications monitor and control through a 9-wire RS232 interface for effective two-way communications. Satisfying this requirement involves substantial modification and costs to the original system's communication software. The SOTH/EOTH product will emerge as enabling "plug and play" system that eliminates these software modifications making it easy for system designers to rapidly move wired systems to wireless platforms. System Description: The system provides a bi-directional serial link over the star satellite phone system. The system simply consists of two point-to-point units, commonly referred to as the base and remote unit. Each unit simply contains a small processor, serial interface board, and a star phone. The processor is responsible for maintaining a link between base and remote units and providing a TCP layer for data packaging. This system effectively provides remote sensing capabilities anywhere in the world without modification to the original wired sensor-based system. Stage of Development & Collaboration Opportunity: This project was developed internally at APL to provide a rugged wireless transmission link. Although several wireless data transmission systems are commercially available, they all are limited in transmission distance or transmission constraints such as line of sight. This system was designed to create a simple point-to-point communication link that is not limited by distance and can work over the entire globe.
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