Critical Communications in the Nordics. Space solutions for preventive actions and mission-critical operations

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read
Critical Communications in the Nordics. Space solutions for preventive actions and mission-critical operations

The world is going through several political upheavals now. They have affected global political and economic systems, and our perception of what we need to do to guarantee our ability to operate securely and with resilience.

Ubiquitous interoperability within the defence industry and related areas, as well as a stronger and a more encompassing approach to security have proven themselves as crucial domains to foster. Aside from the high-level picture, it all really boils down to critical secure communications and the fact that they have become of paramount importance to the global society. For more than several decades the existence of critical infrastructures, that underpin nations: their security; their economy; and overall operational integrity, has been recognised. In today’s evolving geopolitical landscape, we see that most advanced societies in the 21st century adhere to maintaining reliable infrastructures securing critical communications, without which massive damage can be sustained.

Today, global communications mostly rely on terrestrial network solutions that tend to be more and more integrated. A failure of one element has the potential to create a major service disruption to the entire network. This in turn could impact essential governmental or institutional services or operations that are deemed crucial in various fields. For example, in Finland a similar concern has surfaced due to the recent damage ensued to the finest communications cable connecting Finland to Estonia under the Baltic Sea.

Adding appropriately customised secure satellite communications components to telecommunication infrastructures will significantly help to avoid concerns and ensure the secure components operate uninterruptedly to channel the most sensitive and critical communications services. Moreover, when talking about cybersecurity and confidentiality of data exchange, owning a sovereign satellite communications network is a prerequisite to build a trusted infrastructure capable of data protection against breaches and espionage.

In one of our previous articles, we discussed in detail how communications satellites work, covering a range of aspects from radio links, that have been the weapons of choice for transferring data from satellites to the ground, all the way to cybersecurity, and cutting-edge technology working hand-to-hand in the field.

With this in mind, satellite communications will become – and we are seeing that trend conquering the world already – an essential piece of defence, security, emergency response, and humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, giving global connectivity a crucial strategic role. This also applies to remote settings and rural unconnected areas where mobile operators do not find commercial feasibility to build terrestrial networks. It is exactly the remote territories where non-terrestrial networks can provide affordable and reliable broadband services. What is more, space can cover even hard-to-reach areas and difficult terrains - say, the Arctic or Sub-Saharan Africa, where deploying terrestrial networks is extremely expensive.

CriticalCommunications in the Nordics

Silhouette of a large satellite dish against a backdrop of the night sky filled with stars

This year’s Critical Communications World took place in Helsinki. There was a palpable sense that the event was being hosted not only in the Finnish capital but by the entire Nordic region.

One of the Critical Communications today’s articles, whilst discussing the event, has noted that there are several reasons for this, “not least Northern European culture itself, which seems to place an extremely high value on co-operation…
Norway, Sweden andFinland exist in close proximity to each other, situated across the Baltic Sea in the most northerly part of the European continent. They are all also uncomfortably close to Russia, with Finland sharing a 1,340km border with its much larger neighbour… Naturally, this requires seamless interoperability between their respective public safety radio networks in order to facilitate mutual aid between all three countries’ emergency services.”

While the article was published back in May 2023, the recent events in the Baltic Sea region only proved the sentiments shared in the piece right. The need for a hybrid solution consisting of non-terrestrial and terrestrial networks becomes more evident than ever. To put it bluntly, Finland urgently needs its own sovereign telecommunications satellite.

“Keeping in mind the public safety and critical communications sector development, space can provide unparalleled solutions for both preventive actions and mission-critical operations. Given current geopolitical realities we’re facing today, especially here in Finland, owning an independent telecommunications satellite is not a luxury, but a necessity”, says Sethu Saveda Suvanam, CEO & Founder of ReOrbit.

What we also need to understand when talking about communications satellites is that most networks are owned or operated directly and indirectly by a handful of countries. Naturally, this raises an interest from different sovereign nations to have their data flow through their own networks and infrastructures. ReOrbit, Helsinki-based leading provider of software-first satellites, can support Finland in this pursuit and help it build thriving independent space ecosystem.

"There has rarely been a more challenging time and more pressing need for a 100% secure data exchange", says Timo Harakka, the former Finnish Minister of transport and communications. "To remain resilient, we need the full range of the most advanced technologies."
“Traditionally, Finland has put a strong emphasis on security of supply. Securing the critical functions of the society and resilience is in our DNA. I am therefore especially happy that we have such capabilities and companies like ReOrbit in Finland and supporting the Finnish society. These capabilities support not only Finland but also our allies and partners alike”, says Tuija Karanko, Secretary General of PIA (AFDA in English), the industrial association for defence and aerospace companies.

Delivering certainty in an uncertain world

Security is of utmost importance for us here at ReOrbit. We make sure that satellites can deliver data in the most efficient and secure way. In other words, we unlock data flows in space, and within this framework, cyber security is part of the design process rather than a factor to be considered in the aftermath. Plus, given the highly flexible software-first architecture of our communications satellites, we can tailor security levels to the customer needs, switching it from a vague concept to a tangible design aspect.

In today's geopolitical landscape, cyber and outer space cannot be underestimated, as they play a central role in defence and security. This sentiment is shared across different institutions and stakeholders in Finland. Here at ReOrbit, we are taking this seriously and ready to deliver certainty in an uncertain world.  



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