Detecting Neutrinos in the Antarctic Ice Shelf

Detecting Neutrinos in the Antarctic Ice Shelf

Sub-zero temperature wireless link

April 2012 – The University of California in Irvine is embarking on an ambitious research project to detect and count ultra-high energy neutrinos coming from the Afar depths of the universe.  They have selected Afar Communications to provide the wireless network that retrieves the data captured by an array of detectors, which, when fully deployed, will consist of 960 stations in the Antarctic, covering a 30 x 30 km square.

Neutrinos are subatomic particles that have no electrical charge and until recently were thought to be massless. Most neutrinos traversing the earth are generated in the Sun but the UC Irvine team is interested in the ultra-high energy neutrinos that come from the far regions of the universe.

The UC Irvine team, led by principal investigator Steven Barwick, developed a neutrino detector consisting of broadband radio antennas, pointing down and buried in the ice shelf, to detect radio pulses that result from the extremely rare collision of a high energy neutrino and an atom in the ice. The plan is to deploy a 960 detector array (named ARIANNA for Antarctic Ross Ice shelf ANtenna Neutrino Array ) which will record those radios pulses and then transmit that data, through the Afar radios, to the McMurdo station in the Antarctic.

Several stringent requirements for the radio communication system led to the selection of the Afar radios: 
  1. Extreme environment: the radios are deployed outdoors in the antarctic where temperatures can reach -40 C and below.
  2. Power consumption: Solar and wind are used to provide all the power needed at each station . It is imperative that all electronics consume as little power as possible.
  3. Low noise: The radio pulses that UC Irvine is trying to detect are extremely weak, so all the surrounding electronics and communication equipment needs to be uncommonly quiet.
The engineers at Afar worked closely with UC Irvine to provide a solution that met these demanding requirements. In 2012 UC Irvine successfully deployed four detector stations, each with an Afar radio, communicating with another Afar radio at the top of Mt. Discovery (46 km away), which then relays the data to a radio at the McMurdo station (75 km).  

 

Wireless network over ice
 

Afar radios now support advanced encryption

Afar radios now support advanced encryption

August 27, 2010 – Afar Communications announced today the release of new firmware for its family of pulsAR Wireless Ethernet Bridges that supports encryption of all data transmitted over RF. You can now configure your wireless network to encrypt all data packets using any of the following encryption methods:

  • DES-56
  • Triple-DES
  • AES-128
  • AES-256

When you turn on encryption you can specify a unique key (with different lengths for each method), or have the radios generate the key based on a unique phrase. Encryption makes it virtually impossible for an unauthorized user to eavesdrop on your wireless link and decode your data.

The DES-56 encryption method comes now standard with all radios. The other encryption methods are optional and can be added at the time of purchase or upgraded in the field.

New 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz radios from Afar

New 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz radios from Afar

(Download PDF brochure)

November 15, 2009 – Afar Communications announced today the introduction of 5 new radio models.  These new spread spectrum radios will provide the same versatility and robustness of the current pulsAR-24027 wireless bridge, but in addition will offer the following advantages:

  • Choice between 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz ISM bands
  • Higher RF transmit power (up to 27 dBm)
  • Optional encryption of all data transmitted over the air
  • Compliant with Power over Ethernet (PoE) IEEE standard
  • Very low power consumption and sleep modes

The various models occupy different RF bandwidth allowing you to match the radio with your data throughput requirements while keeping the highest possible RF performance. 

The new models will become available in February 2010.  You can download a PDF brochure which includes the specifications for all the 5 new spread spectrum radio models.

 

Afar radios provide wireless telemetry for seismic activity monitoring in India.

Afar radios provide wireless telemetry for seismic activity monitoring in India.

Tehri damMay 25, 2008 – Refraction Technologies, Inc., (REF TEK) recently completed the deployment of an Afar wireless network for seismic activity monitoring around the Tehri Dam in India.  The wireless network uses multiple Afar PulsAR-24027 spread spectrum wireless bridges to cover an area in excess of 2000 square km over very rugged terrain with several links exceeding 30 km spans.

REF TEK uses the network to collect data from their broadband seismometers and seismic data recorders installed at 12 separate remote stations.  The equipment at each of the 12 seismic stations, including the Afar radios, is powered from  80 W solar panel kits that allows for unattended operation over long periods of time.  The Afar radios carry the telemetry data to a Central Control Station located in Tehri Town where an operator can view the seismic data from 130 Recorders interactively.

The Tehri Dam is located on the Bhagirathi river, the principal tributary of the sacred river Ganges.  The region is part of the Central Himalayan Seismic Gap, a major geologic fault zone.  In October 1991 there was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter 50 km from the location of the dam.

Below are some pictures of the wireless telemetry network for seismic activity monitoring at Tehri Dam.

seismic monitor wireless network topology Wireless over rugged terrainAntenna tower for wireless seismic network
 

Afar delivers wireless telemetry system for the NASCAR Nextel Cup

Afar delivers wireless telemetry system for the NASCAR Nextel Cup

NASCAR uses Afar radios for wireless telemetry Santa Barbara, California, January 4, 2008  –  Afar Communications Inc. announced today the delivery of a wireless telemetry system to Sportvision, for deployment in all the NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars.  The system includes 8 fixed base radios that will be installed around the track, and 55 radios to be deployed in every race car. These radios collect and transmit GPS and other telemetry data which is then used in a TV production truck to generate various enhancements during  the live broadcasts.

This is the third such system delivered to Sportvision, which previously had purchased separate systems to cover the Indy Racing League and the NASCAR Busch series .  Those systems have been in operation since 2006.

There is a new twist with this system: during a NASCAR racing event there are times when race cars for the two series are on the track at the same time. Sportvision needed to operate both systems simultaneously with the 8 base radios for each system co-located on the same poles.  Afar upgraded the firmware in all radios to use a synchronization technique developed for our standard PulsAR Wireless Ethernet Bridge .  With this technique all co-located radios synchronize their transmissions and completely avoid self-generated interference .  For the 2008 season viewers will be able to enjoy uninterrupted enhanced TV coverage for both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and the Busch series.

  Wireless telemetry allows addition of pointers during TV live broadcasts

 

Afar radio gets SRRC certification for operation in China

Afar radio gets SRRC certification for operation in China

Santa Barbara, California, September 14, 2007  –  Afar Communications Inc. announced today that the State Radio Regulation Committee (SRRC) of the China Ministry of Information Industry (CMII) issued the Type Approval Certificate for the Afar PulsAR-24027 Wireless Ethernet Bridge .  This certification adds to the list of countries where the PulsAR-24027 has been approved by local agencies, which include the USA, Canada, Brazil, European Union, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia.

China Automated People Mover with Wireless controlAfar obtained this certification in support of a deployment by Bombardier Transportation for a new fully Automated People Mover (APM) system for the Guangzhou Metro Corporation (GMC).    This system will be based on Bombardier’s CITYFLO 650 Automatic Train Control system, which uses an enhanced version of the Afar PulsAR-24027 radio for the wireless communications between the trackside equipment and vehicles .

The dual-lane, underground system for Guangzhou will serve the Zhujiang Xincheng Central District of Guangzhou City. Four of the system's nine stations will provide connections to Lines 1, 3 and 5 of the Guangzhou City metro network.

Bombardier Transportation's facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be responsible for the design and supply of 14 Bombardier CX-100 vehicles and the Bombardier CITYFLO 650 automatic train control system. 

 

Afar Communications Inc. wins bid to supply Wireless Equipment for SEPTA

Afar Communications Inc. wins bid to supply Wireless Equipment for SEPTA

SEPTA Light rail Santa Barbara, California, April 14, 2007 – Afar Communications announced today that it has been selected to provide 140 of its Wireless Ethernet Bridge and accessories for the upgrade of Southeastern Pensylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Light Rail Tunnel in Philadelphia.   

The system will be upgraded to Bombardier ’s CITYFLO 450  which uses a lossy-line (“leaky feeder”) in tunnel areas to communicate between trackside equipment and trains using 2.4 GHz Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Radios.  Those radios will be provided by Afar Communications and consist of an enhanced version of our standard PulsAR-24027 Wireless Ethernet Bridge .

SEPTA ’s Light Rail Tunnel is 2.5 miles long and contains two main tracks for a total of five track miles.  According to SEPTA’s Deputy Chief Engineer, John LaForce, “The purpose of the project is to install a modern state-of-the-art Positive Train Control system, defined as a Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) to improve safety while maintaining efficient rail car movements.  Ridership in the tunnel is approximately 60,000/day utilizing a fleet of 112 light rail vehicles. The new CBTC system will support 60-70 rail cars/hour with 30+ rail cars normally operating in the tunnel during the worst-case peak hour under the present scheduling. In the event of a delay, the number of rail cars in the tunnel could be much greater than 30, however, the CBTC system will be capable of handling up to 75 rail cars/hr as well as multiple berthing of cars in all stations.”

Afar Communications will deliver the wireless equipment in June 2007 and the system is expected to be in operation, with the Afar radios, before the end of the year.

 

Local High School robotics team, sponsored by Afar Communications Inc., reaches final in the San Diego robotics competition.

Local High School robotics team, sponsored by Afar Communications Inc., reaches final in the San Diego robotics competition.

  Santa Barbara, California, March 26, 2007  –  For the second year in a row the local Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy participated in the robotics competition organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) .

Team 1717 Robot - Dos Pueblos EngineeringFIRST was founded in 1992 by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway .  FIRST’s vision is "to create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."  The program has grown every year and in 2007 more than 100,000 kids participated in the various robotics competitions around the nation.

In Goleta, the physics teacher at Dos Pueblos High School , Mr. Amir Abo-Shaeer, established an Engineering Academy to foster an interest for science, math and technology among its students.  For 45 days the senior class worked 6 days a week well into the night to design, build and test a remote controlled robot that would perform the specific tasks established by FIRST .  In March, among much fanfare, music, and loud cheering, the school participated in two regional competitions held in large sports arenas in Los Angeles and San Diego.  Over 60 high schools competed in each event and Dos Pueblos High School reached the semi-finals in Los Angeles and the finals in San Diego.

Afar Communications Inc. is a proud sponsor of the Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy and we congratulate its Robotics Team 1717 for this outstanding achievement.

Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Team