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ARMS: ViaSat Mobile Satellite Service for PTC communications

ARMS (Automated Railroad Maintenance Systems) has introduced the ViaSat Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) to the railroad industry with potential use for multiple types of secure, reliable broadcast, multicast and unicast communications across both voice and data applications. ARMS has been selected as an integrator and distributor for ViaSat products and services to the railroad industry.
According to an Association of American Railroads paper, more than 32,600 Wayside Interface Units (WIUs) will be employed to support Positive Train Control (PTC) coverage on 60,000 track-miles. It is estimated up to 10 percent of these WIUs will lie or operate outside cellular coverage. Moreover, the Federal Railroad Administration estimates there are 62,000 track-miles of "dark" territory where there may be limited or no cellular coverage. The MSS solution can augment PTC communications from WIUs and other devices, thereby improving overall network availability and extending the utility of PTC, according to Transportation Products Sales Co. (TPSC), which represents ARMS products and services to the rail industry.
The MSS solution offered through ARMS will operate over the SkyTerra-1 satellite, a next-generation commercial L-band satellite that is operated by Ligado Networks. Launched in November 2010 by Ligado, the SkyTerra-1 satellite system features a 22m reflector, along with a reliable, flexible design with ground-based beam forming to enable communications with user terminals that support smaller form factors, lower-power consumption and lower-cost devices. This, in turn, opens up new opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, TPSC officials said.
The MSS solution is a full-duplex, low-latency (<800 milliseconds) IP delivery service that enables real-time applications such as PTC. Its high-capacity L-band service significantly reduces user service costs and fees. The service also employs AES256 data link encryption, which provides stronger data security than what is offered on 4G cellular networks.