NEFOCAST: the concept

The concept

Recent catastrophic events due to adverse meteorological conditions and flooding by waterways in Italy and overseas illustrate the need for better forecasting and weather information sharing. Technologies to improve the systems used to process weather forecasts and provide real-time details about weather conditions are of particular relevance and interest.
MBI has been involved for several years in the definition and prototyping of satellite telecommunication systems based on new waveforms that make it possible to obtain many  improvements compared to other technologies often used in this field: greater robustness against interference, lower transmissive power, better use of transmission capacity resulting in lower terminal ,management costs.

EUTELSAT SA, one of the biggest satellite operators, has recently decided to adopt these technologies, commonly  known as F-SIM, to provide an innovative telecommunications service.

This system will allow domestic systems, used to receive transmissions from the EUTELSAT SA satellites to be transformed into two-way communication systems, combiing the reception of high-definition signals with the ability to transmit messages to service centers using the satellite system. All it takes is a few modifications to the antenna system and minimal costs. The relevant EUTELSAT satellites are Hot Bird 13°E, used by broadcasters such as RAI, SKY, MEDIASET).
The commercial name of this system is SmartLNB and it will be available to be marketed by the end of 2015. The SmartLNB system is able to receive transmissions on the usual frequencies used by satellite transmission systems (Ku band) and to transmit using frequencies much higher (Ka or Ku band).

MBI with EUTELSAT SA is involved in engineering and implementing transceiver systems at the teleports that will be used by SmartLNBs. This system (EBIS – EUTELSAT Interactive Broadband System) will allow the collection of information transmitted from all SmartLNB terminals to an integrated technology platform and then forward them to the data centers of the various operators.

MBI is involved together with EUTELSAT SA in the engineering and implementation of transceiver systems at the teleports that will be used by SmartLNBs. This system (EBIS – EUTELSAT Interactive Broadband System) will collect information transmitted from all SmartLNB terminals to an integrated technology platform and then forward them to the data centers of the various operators.

PROGECOM is the promoter of Prociv PAS (Prevention of Security Alerting), an integrated network of communication for the public to indicate the state of ongoing alerts and the main contents of the Municipal Civil Protection Plan. It is based on a website-gis and on a smartphone app that people living in the areas taking part in the project can download for free.

The concept underpinning the project is the fact that each SmartLNB terminal must first perform a power analysis to be used during transmission, in order to properly transmit its signal. This analysis takes into account various factors, including the power of the signal received from the satellite.
The power level at which the terminal transmits is communicated to the teleport which is also in possession of the power level of the signal effectively received (clearly attenuated for propagation).
Using these values it is possible to determine the attenuation of the signal during propagation.

At the teleport, the position of each SmartLNB terminal is also known, so it is possible to create a map of the attenuation levels of the signal. Clearly, the higher the number of terminals, the higher the accuracy.
The attenuation of the signal is due to many factors, but at the frequencies used by the SmartLNB terminals this attenuation is mainly due to precipitation.
The aim of the project is to build an integrated technological platform that makes it possible to obtain rain fields based on the signal attenuation maps.

Meteorological precipation is due to many different factors. this attenuation is mainly due to precipitation.

The use of an inversion algorithm based on measuring radiofrequency signals in order to estimate precipitation fields and other meteorological phenomena is a particularly adventurous scientific challenge. SmartLNBs would be able to transmit updates on power levels with very high frequency. This would mean obtaining up-to-date precipitation fields practically in real time.
For each of the locations where the SmartLNBs are installed, it will be possible to know the trend of precipitation over a short span, without the need to install dedicated equipment (eg rain gauges, meteorological radars, etc.).

In the coming years it is expected that the number of SmartLNB terminals installed worldwide will grow, gradually replacing the satellite reception systems currently installed in homes. Therefore, with the proposed solution it will be possible to have a very detailed map of the state of precipitation at a global level in a short time.

Meteorological precipitation is the result of many concomitant factors. The use of an algorithm to estimate precipitation fields and other meteorological phenomena is a particularly adventurous scientific challenge.

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