Satellite Phones as Back Up Communication – Things to Consider

22 Mar 2019

If your agency, EOC or Command Center relies on more than one phone line for communication, then there would be the need for more than one back up satellite phone to fulfill your communication demands in an emergency. During emergencies when satellite phones are most likely to be needed, communication demands increase. Logically, the larger the facility the more back up lines would be needed to meet the demand. It is important to make sure your back up plan is scaled accordingly. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Satellite Phone Back-Up Basics

Of course, you can buy several satellite phones, put them in a drawer and pull them out for emergencies.  The problem with any satellite phone is that it must be outdoors and able to reliably "see” the satellite to function. During emergencies, going outside to make or receive a phone call is usually not practical. The solution is to put the phone in a docking station connected to external antenna. The external antenna allows the phone to work indoors and the docking station keeps the phone powered up and charged, ready for service. 

With most docking stations you can plug in and use regular analog phones or standard cordless phones to make and receive calls. Those phones can be located anywhere in your facility, so your satellite phones/docks don’t have to be located where the calling takes place.  This configuration also allows you to have more than one wired or wireless phone attached to each dock, providing multiple extensions.  The docking station can also be plugged into your office PBX or phone switch allowing that satellite phone to show up as an extension on any phones, or phones, in your facility. This configuration would allow multiple people to have access to the satellite phone.  With any of these configurations, a phone/dock it is still just a single line, so when one person is using it, no other calls can come in or go out. 


Multiple Line Solutions

Adequately prepared facilities will have multiple satellite phones installed in the facility to meet anticipated volume. This mean multiple phones in docking stations or multiple Comm Center units like the ASE MC08 or MC05 which replace the phone/dock combination. Each unit installed will have to have its own antenna and cable. While this adds a level of complexity to the installation, it also adds a level of redundancy.  As an alternative, the Iridium Pilot is a single unit consisting of one antenna and modem, but provides 3 separate satellite phone line and a data connection.



Managing Multiple Lines:

Each satellite phone line in your back up contingency will have its own unique phone number, but for simplicity you may only want to give out one emergency contact number.  A little know feature of the satellite phone system is the ability to "roll the phone” from one line to another. With the proper set up, you can give out one emergency contact number for your facility. When someone calls that number, if that line is busy, the call would automatically roll to the next available line, allowing the call to be completed.  The 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc. line in the group would still be available for direct dial using their assigned phone number.  

For more details please contact us with brief details of your requirements.