Home > Articles > Networking

Using Satellite Communications for Disaster Recovery, Part 1

📄 Contents

  1. Satellite Technology: Overview in 200 Words or Fewer
  2. Is Satellite Right for All Applications?
In an era of mega-disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Christmas 2004 tsunami, satellite communications might some day be your organization's only connection to a twenty-first century communications infrastructure. Learn what you need to know (and what others have discovered) about this versatile lifeline in this informative series by Leo Wrobel.
Like this article? We recommend

I recently finished a terrific science fiction series, titled Weapons of Choice, by an author named John Birmingham. The story begins in the year 2021, with a U.S.-led aircraft carrier task force in the Pacific that is instantly transported in its entirety to June 1942 through a botched scientific experiment. The technological, political, and social chaos that ensues in the book is riveting, but you will have to buy the book and read all about that yourself.

One thing struck me in the beginning of the book immediately following the "transition" to 1942. It was astounding to see how dependent the twenty-first century people (military and otherwise) had become on satellite communications. Everything the "uptimers" did as far as voice communications, broadband, video links, email, weather forecasting, reconnaissance, global positioning, and a host of other applications suddenly turned into a blue screen with "NO SIGNAL." The world of instantaneous communications to which they had long since become accustomed and the secure feeling of being constantly bathed in wireless broadband on demand was suddenly gone; possibly for many years. Indeed a good portion of this book is devoted to how the uptimers coped with the loss of everything from GPS-guided weapons and smart bombs to no longer having 600 channels of bad TV to watch. The time travelers did, however, get some "21C" telecommunications online quickly by implementing one of their own Disaster Recovery solutions—one that came along with them to 1942. The solution was to bounce radio signals off the troposphere. Through a relay arrangement from Hawaii to an aircraft carrier, then from the carrier to an AWACS plane, then from the AWACS plane to a stealth cruiser, they were able to communicate from Hawaii to the USA (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 Relay system: Hawaii to San Francisco

They were even able to link up video conferences when all the relays lined up in the right spot. All the while, they lamented about what they would pay for "one lousy satellite" because none were in existence in 1942. Personally, I got a big kick out of this part of the book because Tropospheric Scatter, or "Tropo," is what we used 30 years ago, when I was in the military, for "long haul" links before satellites became popular. Astoundingly, this technology is still in use in today’s military—as a backup for satellites. It was just funny to see them in this book and in that particular context.

There is nothing like viewing a particular technology from a perspective 70 or 80 years in the past to have an appreciation for what we have today and how easily we take such things for granted. That school of thought plays directly into disaster recovery. When today’s companies lose critical communications links, they feel as lost as the hapless twenty-first century uptimers, ripped from their secure world of instant communications and tossed into oblivion.

Therefore, today’s companies and organizations must realize that when terrestrial communications is damaged due to a disaster, satellites provide a critical lifeline. Moreover, for getting communications to remote areas far from traditional landline communications, satellites may be the only link available to an "uptime" twenty-first century communications infrastructure.

Satellite Technology: Overview in 200 Words or Fewer

Satellite communications have taken leaps and bounds over the last few years. Satellite is essentially microwave radio aimed upward—it uses essentially the same frequencies as microwave radio. The technology has gone from elaborate teleports and 16-foot dishes in years past to pizza pan dishes that fit on the side of a building. In fact, in the case of Global Position Systems and freight tracking technologies, the units literally fit in your hand.

Notwithstanding timing delays (it takes a fraction of a second for the signal to go from the earth, 22,300 miles to a geosynchronous satellite, and the same distance back), satellite is a clean, reliable, and cost-effective disaster recovery solution. Even so, it is interesting to note (as in the twenty-first century military in my Weapons of Choice example above) that some corporate enterprise networks are virtually 100% satellite already. Network television is a prime example. It is therefore probably prudent in these cases to explore another technology for backup. Network television providers do the opposite of what your organization probably does. Your organization may back up terrestrial landlines with satellite. TV providers who already use satellite may back up the satellite with fiber and landlines. Granted, it is probably not practical for your company to license and install a Tropo system, but even so, there are ways to back up satellite with other technology.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020