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Bracer Secure Iridium Satellite PTT Upgraded

Bracer Telephony [© QinetiQ]

Bracer Secure Iridium Satellite PTT and tracking system has now been upgraded to offer a SatPhone and dial up data capability.


QinetiQ News Release, Farnborough, 21 May 2024: When you are managing critical operations in contested and congested environments, you cannot afford to lose communications and tracking information. Bracer Secure Iridium Satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT) and tracking system has now been upgraded to offer a Satellite Telephone and dial up data capability in the same device. This feature has been implemented to enhance Bracer’s applicability to Communications PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) Plans.

Bracer is powered by the Iridium PTT service. To enable coverage areas an end user is required to set up Talkgroup regions using the Iridium Command Centre web based application. Areas or Polygon’s can be set up or changed by the end user either as a single area of coverage or multiple points of presence (up to 10 areas) across the globe. Talkgroup sizes range in five increments from 100,000 sq km to 2.5m sq km. This approach to setting up coverage gives an end user incredible flexibility to manipulate the network to meet changing operational needs within a matter of seconds. However, if a user moves out of the pre-defined coverage area they will lose PTT communications and tracking and receive an ‘Out of Coverage Area’ message on the screen of the handset.

Satellite telephone and dial up data capability: As the Iridium Telephony service is truly global roaming, the Bracer handset can now communicate from anywhere. In the scenario above, if a user moves out of the PTT Polygon area they can now simply switch the handset from PTT mode to Telephony mode and make a call to a HQ or alternative location where access can be gained to the web based Iridium PTT Command Centre account. Here the end user can articulate where they need coverage setting up, which can then be done in a few seconds, enabling the end user to return to the PTT service and a fully secure voice and tracking capability.

PACE: When viewing this uplift in capability from a PACE perspective. Satellite phones have routinely been used by military organisations across the world to support their communication plans. By combining satellite telephony into the Bracer system means that the users have less expense with purchasing another piece of equipment to meet a need and it also reduces the weight and space taken up by additional items. There is an argument that one shouldn’t put all the eggs in one basket. However, an Iridium telephony SIM card can be used in any Bracer device and is not locked to a specific handset. This means that even if a Bracer handset becomes unserviceable the SIM card can be dynamically swapped to another Bracer handset. The main fact is that the Iridium Telephony (Voice) Service is a different service to the PTT. This means that if there is a service level issue then users can communicate using a different service.

Accessing the Telephony Function: Access to the telephony function is controlled through the issue of a SIM Card. Therefore, if an organisation only wants commanders or specific personnel to have this capability, then they only issue the SIMs to those individuals who are authorised.

What are the benefits to the user?: Fundamentally satellite telephony has been introduced for multiple reasons, for both emergency and routine needs. One of which is to provide the user with the ability to communicate with Public Service Telephone Networks (PSTN), GSM and other satellite phone networks. Whether this be between the user and its organisation, or with a different organisation that sits outside the Bracer or Iridium PTT network, it provides a level of interoperability.

Bracer brings reliable PACE communications to organisational deployment plans. Providing secure end to end encrypted (FIPS 140-2 Level 3) PTT voice and position reporting, standard Iridium PTT service, standard Iridium satellite telephony or standard Iridium dial up data services from which to maintain vital links. The system is used operationally around the globe by multiple nations and has transformed PACE plans for those that employ it and rely on it!


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