National Weather Services' Satellite Broadcast Network Bandwidth Tripled


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National Weather Services' Satellite Broadcast Network Bandwidth Tripled

By Shane Nolan

July 1, 2011 - Enhancing forecasters' access to data and imagery from an array of sensors and satellites, Raytheon’s Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System team has successfully tripled the bandwidth on the Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN)/NOAAPort, the primary vehicle through which hydrometeorological forecasting products are provided to the National Weather Service's Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). 

Serving more than 130 weather forecast offices and river forecast centers, the SBN expansion is critical to the performance of AWIPS, which gives forecasters access to data and imagery from an array of weather sensors and satellites through interactive workstations. AWIPS provides complex analysis and data integration for more than 130 weather forecast offices and river forecast centers across the nation. 

"Communications provides data—the lifeblood of NWS operations; and with the SBN expansion, forecasters using AWIPS will have access to more precise data than ever, which is critical for improving forecasts and warnings, and saving lives," said Don Berchoff, director of NWS Office of Science and Technology." 

"Tripling the SBN bandwidth will also benefit forecasts, warnings and other products for the mass media, emergency management agencies and private weather services," said Todd Probert, vice president and chief operating officer of Mission Operations Solutions for Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems. "The SBN expansion is part of the Raytheon AWIPS team's commitment to going beyond just simply meeting program objectives by providing superior technical solutions to help the National Weather Service achieve mission success." 

The driving force of the bandwidth expansion and hardware upgrade is to support the dissemination of additional data products over the SBN/NOAAPort such as dual polarization radar products, GOES and POES satellite products, and analysis and forecast products. 

In addition to the expansion, the team also transitioned the SBN to a Digital Video Broadcasting–Satellite–Second Generation service, and provided for the incorporation of NOAA Weather Wire Service broadcasts into the SBN as part of the Weather Radio Improvement Program. 


Since 2005, Raytheon has been NOAA's partner for the operations, maintenance and evolution of AWIPS, providing the integrated mission services required to sustain and enhance system performance. AWIPS is used by the NWS to ingest, analyze and disseminate operational weather data including time-sensitive, high-impact warnings that save lives and safeguard property.


Now testing next generation of Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System software, as the architect of the AWIPS evolution, Raytheon designed, developed and is currently testing the system's next-generation software that features a service-oriented architecture. AWIPS II will improve weather operations by bringing enhanced functionality to forecasters and help guide environmental decision-making at the national, regional and local levels.

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