British Antarctic Survey (BAS) modernisation of communications

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have been collaborating with OmniAccess since October 2017. We were initially tasked with setting up VSAT communications across 4 Antarctic research stations and providing connectivity for 2 of their research vessels (RRS James Clark Ross, and RRS Ernest Shackleton), this included all installation, 24/7 support, maintenance, and various on-site hardware upgrades. More recently, the commissioning of RRS Sir David Attenborough which will replace the previous two vessels.

BAS are a world-leading center for Polar science and Polar operations, they are based out of the United Kingdom, forming part of the Natural Environment Research Council, UK’s largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation. Their goal is to gain a better understanding on how Earth works, and particularly, how it is responding to an ever-increasing human pressure. With more than 500 staff, they operate five research stations, two ships and five aircrafts in and around Antarctica.

They are involved in joint research projects with over 40 UK universities and more than 120 national and international collaborations.

As part of the company´s strategic vision for modernisation of telecommunications and IT infrastructure at the King Edward Point Research Station, OmniAccess provided BAS a fully redundant, mission critical, VSAT system. This was further enhanced with the implementation of a localised WiMax (WiFi) solution that provided connectivity across various infrastructures at the research station.

In addition to this, we implemented our traffic shaping platform across all BAS remote sites and vessels. By leveraging our state-of-the-art network traffic monitoring tools (CSP and Plexus Controller app) and congestion management capabilities, the system now allows BAS to dynamically apply customised data policies, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of the user experience.

Now all users, either land or sea based, ranging from scientists to engineering and operations teams, can have seamless and reliable access to applications such as email, web-browsing and social media including Instagram video, whilst also operating mission critical applications such as scientific data exchange (download and upload), and even telemedicine video links.

On a recent mission to understand what lay beneath the Antarctic ice shelf, a team led by geologist James Smith drilled a hole through the icecap and unexpectedly discovered life existing in complete darkness, 160 miles below the surface!

OmniAccess is proud to partner with BAS, to support discoveries that further science and operations, addressing issues of global importance as well as helping society to adapt to a changing world. 

To find out more about BAS and current projects check out their website: