EUMETCast antenna

Ten years of EUMETCast

EUMETCast antenna
EUMETCast antenna

Ten years ago we revolutionised the way users can access satellite data, with the introduction of EUMETCast.

Last Updated

07 December 2020

Published on

28 March 2013

EUMETCast is a data dissemination system which allows users to access numerous data streams via regular, ‘off-the-shelf’ satellite TV equipment and a PC.

Every day more than 100 GB of data, from 37 data providers, are disseminated to our users worldwide.

Graphic showing the EUMETCast data flow
Figure 1: Graphic showing the EUMETCast data flow

The system was originally introduced in 2002 to transmit data from the EARS service. From late 2002 the EARS-ATOVS pilot service and Meteosat-6 Rapid Scanning products were operationally available.

However, an issue with transmission of data from the Meteosat-8 satellite led to EUMETCast being used to transmit all Meteosat data. Later the service was extended to also provide Metop and Jason-2 data.

Klaus-Peter Renner, the Dissemination Operations Engineer in charge of EUMETCast, explains: “The failure of a Solid State Power Amplifier onboard MSG-1 necessitated the implementation of an alternative dissemination method for the MSG Direct Dissemination Service. In March 2003 the EUMETSAT Council approved use of EUMETCast as alternative dissemination mechanism for Meteosat-8 services, resulting in a bandwidth extension to 2 Mbps in summer 2003.”

 

Figure 2: EUMETCast data rates

For EUMETCast’s users, currently more than 3,000, the system is ideal because it enables them to access various types of data via one station.

It also offers:

  • Secure delivery — multicast to a specific user, or group of users.
  • Handling of many file formats and both high and low volumes.
  • Quick delivery.
  • Worldwide coverage through the GEONETCast partnership.

Originally only providing data from Europe, the EUMETCast service has expanded and now includes:

A C-Band Service for users in Africa was added in November 2003 and the initial bandwidth allocated was 2.4 Mbps. Gradually the available bandwidth has been increased in support of the dissemination of additional products and services. Also, in order to provide users in South America with MSG images and products, the EUMETCast Americas Service was launched in January 2006.

Klaus-Peter explains: “Progressively, the available bandwidth has been increased for implementation of additional services such as DWDSAT. The largest increase was from 4 Mbps to 12 Mbps in April 2006, for dissemination of EPS Global Data. Further bandwidth increases followed for the inclusion of, among others, MSG rapid scanning, Metop-B and MSG-3 — reaching a total net bandwidth of 20.5 Mbps in 2013.”

Users with EUMETCast reception stations can access Meteosat, Metop and Jason-2 satellite data, products from EUMETSAT’s Application Ground Segment as well as numerous products from third party data providers. The full catalogue of services on EUMETCast is provided in the Product Navigator.

 

Figure 3: EUEMTCast gross rates

Further expansion

In the future a Training Channel will be added. Via this dedicated channel users will be able to access a number of training resources compiled by EUMETSAT’s training team.

Trainer Mark Higgins explains: “The training channel gives users information about the data with the data; without needing an internet connection. It means that users without good internet still get access to good training resources. EUMETCast is the backbone for operational dissemination of Earth Observation data in Africa, it creates opportunities, like RETIM and DWDSAT, for the member states, and encourages innovation from amateurs, like the GEO group, and researcher groups, like ITC in the Netherlands.”


EUMETCast timeline

2002

  • January: Start of trials with T-Systems (bandwidth 256 Kbps)
  • November: Start of operations: EARS and Meteosat-6 Rapid scanning on Channel 1

2003

  • March: 52nd EUMETSAT Council approved use of EUMETCast as alternative dissemination mechanism for Meteosat-8 services
  • April: Upgrade to 2 Mbps net bandwidth and inclusion of MSG High-Rate SEVIRI dissemination in Channel 2
  • July: Start of the Multi-Service Channel 3, including Met-8 Low-Rate SEVIRI dissemination, GOES data and MDD services
  • August: Start of C-Band trial dissemination : African & East Coast USA & North-East South America coverage.
    Upgrade of Ku-Band to 2.256 Mbps and start of DWDSAT trial
  • October: Start of DWDSAT routine operations phase
  • November: Formal acceptance of C-band Service (start of operational/contractually specified service)

2004

  • January: Start of Meteosat-8 routine operation
    Supply of H/W, S/W and training to C-band trial users (Nairobi/Kenya and Pretoria/SouthAfrica)
  • February: Increase of total C-Band bandwidth to 2.7 Mbps
  • May: Start of operational EUMETCast Key Unit (EKU) based encryption
  • August: Change of Ku-band transponder on Hotbird-6 from tp 129 (old) to tp 117 (new)
  • September: Switch off of tp 129 (30 September)

2005

  • January: Performance of an end-to-end test, adding 8 Mbps simulated EPS Global Data to the operational service, with a total data rate of 12 Mbps
  • February: Increase of bandwidth for the DWDSAT service to 1.5 Mbps resulting in a total EUMETCast bandwidth of 3.8 Mbps
  • July: Trial dissemination of Basic Meteorological Data (BMD) for WMO RA VI
  • August: Ku-Band bandwidth increase by 3 Mbps to support EPS Global Data dissemination validation

2006

  • January: Start of EUMETCast C-Band South America Service
  • April: Total Ku-band bandwidth to 12 Mbps to support EPS Global data operational dissemination

2007

  • February: Minor upgrade Ku-Band to 12.3 Mbps
  • October: Africa to 3.0 Mbps (+300, gross)

2008

  • January: Africa to 3.3 Mbps (+300, gross)
    Ku-Band bandwidth to 14 Mbps to support Meteosat-8 Rapid scanning
  • April: Americas to 2.7 Mbps (+600, gross)

2009

January: New contract with T-Systems on new satellite Eurobird 9a with 14.5 Mbps

2010

January: Addition of RETIM service, Europe 16.5 Mbps, Africa to 3.6 mbps (gross rate)

2012

  • February: Addition of 1 Mbps for Metop-B (Europe now 17.5 Mbps)
  • April: Addition of 2 Mbps for NPP (Europe now 19.5 Mbps)
  • September: Addition of 1 mbps for MSG3 commissioning and parallel dissemination (Europe now 20.5 Mbps), will be transferred to NPP in 2013