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Linux smart radio modem

22 April 2009

Claimed to be the world's first Linux based radio modem, the Satellar was launched last week at Hannover Messe. This digital system from Satel is a smart radio modem for long range wireless data combining TCP/IP-functionalities, a Linux platform for customer specific applications, and a versatile modular structure.

Satellar radio modem
Satellar radio modem

Radio modems have conventionally been used to convey data across several kilometers - essentially replacing a cable in inconvenient locations – Satellar has been designed to do a lot more. The central unit is an ARM9-based computer with 64 MB Ram and 128 MB flash memory for running customer specific software applications in addition to the Linux OS, IP-router, and web configuration server. The TCP/IP capabilities include SNMP, SSH and a Firewall among others. In addition to the Linux kernel, other components such as BusyBox, uClibc and SQLite are incorporated.

"Our radio modems have been reputable for their reliability to transfer data wirelessly in critical systems. Now we are able to go much further and provide an environment for developing the exactly right applications our customers need for their systems. As fewer devices are needed to achieve the desired functionalities, costs and complexity can be lowered", said Satel CEO Tuomas Pitkanen.

The radio unit, which is the foundation of the system, offers a 20 MHz tuning range within the UHF frequency band of 380 - 520 MHz. With a transmit power of up to 1 W and a receiver sensitivity of -119 dBm, a range of over 10 km can typically be reached in urban environments. The carrier frequency can be freely configured in 6.25 kHz steps and the channel width can be set to 12.5 or 25 kHz.

The robust die-cast aluminum housing and the wide operating temperature range of -30° to +75 °C, allow for deployment in harsh environments. Applications range from snow guns in the mountains to Scada systems for monitoring oil or gas pipelines in the desert.

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