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Getting Connected is Essential to Battling Wildfires and Other Emergencies

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The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a midwestern state is charged with protecting its lands and communities from disasters. During wildfires, the DNR relies on local fire stations to serve as “central command,” coordinating and managing state and federal emergency response activities from those sites.


Fire stations and first responder teams need to have reliable connectivity, no matter the environment. Connectivity must be independent of terrestrial infrastructure susceptible to damage during a disaster. The DNR also needs a solution to facilitate communications with multiple state agencies.

Hughes Solution

Working closely with Hughes, the DNR chose satellite-enabled communications to meet all core requirements. The solution includes:

  • Hughesnet for Government deployed as the primary connection at more than 60 fire and fueling stations to deliver reliable, secure satellite broadband.
  • At each station, a fixed VSAT delivers high speed Internet and VoIP services, enabling stations to run day-to-day operations and coordinate and manage large-scale response efforts that affect their jurisdictions.

The DNR also selected two transportable Hughes communications hubs, locating them at each end of the state for rapid deployment.

  • They can be moved anywhere to provide first responders in the field with access to voice and data services.
  • Firefighters from other states or agencies can also get connected when they join a team since the hubs accommodate most devices.
  • The steel frames and protective lids are well-suited for high heat situations.

Hughes Technology

  • A Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) consisting of a “dish” (antenna) and a modem, with fixed installation at every site.
  • Modems are built with the industry-leading JUPITER™ technology and optimized to operate throughout North America with the reliable High-throughput Satellite (HTS) service from Hughes, which delivers up to 25 Mbps download and up to 3 Mbps upload speeds.
  • The HT2900 is a transportable communications hub designed for any environment and enables satellite and LTE connectivity, onsite Wi-Fi, Voice over IP service and more.