Latency Memo

Memorandum regarding Tesoro

During a pipe-line shipment project, I developed real-time control capability in spite of large satellite TCP data latencies. These latencies are not trivial problems, witnessed by the fact that the same latencies tripped up federal military satellite communication during the Katrina disaster, as reported in the September 19, 2005 issue of Federal Computer Weekly:

Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, Northern Commander’s chief, said during a Pentagon press briefing Sept. 6 that the Defense Department was using Military Satellite Communications (Milsatcom) systems to back- haul signals from Gulf Coast cell phone towers cut off from their commercial, land- line connections.

But that was a good idea that never happened amid the confusion sur ounding Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. A Northcom spokesman said the command explored the idea with several cellular carriers but dropped it when NORTHCOM officials “identified software issues within commercial switching centers that could not tolerate the net work latency resulting from satellite delay.” Maybe a lesson learned in planning for the next disaster and there will be one is to figure out how to fix those software issues so Milsatcom could link cell towers and back-end switching systems.

These are precisely the same issues our team of 4 programmers ran into when designing software to run isolated from the world at diesel powered stations, communicating over a geo stationary satellite link. We characterized the problem, mitigated the limits, and delivered a DOT compliant oil pipeline control and reporting capability to the customer.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply