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Multi-State Emergency Network with Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Services

Resource Type
Case Study
people monitoring networks


"Loss of communications is one of the biggest obstacles faced by first responders in the wake of a widespread disaster. LEO-supported broadband can quickly provide reliable connectivity throughout the affected region, jumpstarting critical relief efforts, helping responders coordinate across different organizations and offering residents and their families peace of mind."

The regional incident response center (IRC) of a federal agency must coordinate local, state and national teams in response to natural or manmade disasters and liaison with relief organizations.


The IRC required a communications solution in the Gulf states to connect on-the-ground responders with regional and national resources in the wake of a disaster when terrestrial networks are often destroyed or overwhelmed by demand. The response area covers anywhere from a few square miles to multiple counties to several states. Re-establishing voice connectivity, internet access and video services is imperative to support the work of relief teams and for residents in the disaster zone. Personnel trained for disaster response are not necessarily trained for satellite communications, which made the use of traditional VSATs particularly challenging when trying to deploy resources quickly.

Hughes Solution

With Hughes Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity, establishing an effective communications system in a disaster area can be accomplished more quickly and easily than ever. LEO satellite-enabled services offer those in the disaster zone the ability to:

  • Set up voice and internet access with electronically steerable antennas (ESAs) that are self-pointing and do not require special training to deploy;
  • Provide reliable, two-way communications for rescue personnel and vehicles moving throughout the area;
  • Establish medical facilities and relief centers to help treat and comfort those in need;
  • Power mobile hotspots to offer residents cell service and internet connectivity to contact loved ones and access essential services; and
  • Help local businesses and government offices return to operations and support the restoration of terrestrial services.

With consistent, low-latency service available everywhere and turnkey equipment pre-staged across the region, the IRC is able to respond quickly to any situation with reliable communications. This can mean the difference between life and death for some residents and also help the people and the region recover from the disaster more quickly.

Hughes Technology

Hughes disaster and emergency management communications systems that incorporate LEO satellite services support the needs of emergency responders from urban centers to the most remote areas with resilient and effective connectivity in any situation. Hughes offers:

  • A range of turnkey systems, from manpacks to vehicle-mounted antennas to transportable base stations that can be set up and turned on quickly, without the need for specialized satellite communications training;
  • Electronically steerable antennas that do not require any special training to deploy and operate;
  • Solar-powered flat-panel antennas and kiosks that provide services even when primary power infrastructure is down;
  • High-performance, broadband connections across the entire response site to enable voice and location services even in the most remote and hard-to-reach areas; and
  • Local connectivity for on-site coordination combined with central network links for incident command and control.