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Virtual Telecommunication Facility Tour
Behind the scenes of where your voice and data is processed!
By Red Squirrel

The microwave center is a small shed-size metal building in the bush, which has equipment for RD6 radios and other type of radios and also has a dish that points to a satellite in space.

First lets start inside the building. In order for a radio to use the same dish or antenna for Tx and Rx, both directions need to be filters so waves don't interfere with each other. To filter it, all it takes is a type of canister which is passive (not mechanical, but not electronic) and let's only certain size waves go through. That way, it does not take two dishes to send and receive, just one.

In this building there is also equipment for the actual radios and also there are fiber drivers to send the data to the main central office which we covered a while ago. Further down the few small rows of other radios and equipment there's a rack for the microwave dish. This provides service to Peawanuk, which is a reserve in the north by the James/Hudson Bay area.

Wave amplitude filters
Wave filters
(Fiber driver | RD radio | RD radio (different one) | Microwave radio rack | Microwave radio diagram)

Inside this little building there is a small room which has a generator in case of power outage, and there is also a compressor to pump about 2psi of air inside the cables. This avoids moisture from getting in, in case of a hole.

Standby generator

Outside of the building, there's the tower right beside it, and as well as the Microwave dish. The tower has various dishes on it that communicate with various locations, and the Microwave dish points to a Telesat provided satellite in space, and goes back to Peawanuk to a microwave dish. Believe it or not, that tower is actually standing on about an inch thick metal rod on a ~4' square cement block! The microwave driver is inside a shed-like structure and is covered with standard kitchen foil paper. This is because a local radio station was interfering with the dish!

Microwave Dish
Microwave dish (click to enlarge)
(Tower | Tower zoom | Tower foot | M/W dish driver)

Well this ends the tour. You should now have an idea of what can be found inside a telecommunication central office.

Red Squirrel,
IceTeks Administrator and Webmaster

25112 Hits Pages: [1] [2] [3] [4] 1 Comments

Latest comments (newest first)
Posted by Red Squirrel on April 04th 2004 (08:33)
Thanks for the feedback. The radio tower is actually part of the backup in this setup, but there's no OC3's for backup, its mostly all lower bandwith. There's actually regulations and it's required by law for any telco to have some kind of backup. At least so emergency data can pass through (people calling 911 etc...)
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