Photograph © EUMETSAT
EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organisation that supplies weather and climate-related satellite data, images and products. It operates a system of meteorological satellites gathering accurate and reliable satellite data on weather, climate and the environment 24h a day, 365 days a year.
EUMETCast is EUMETSAT’s primary data dissemination service based on satellite broadcast disseminating the collected data to the National Meteorological Services of member and cooperating states in Europe, and to other users worldwide. Established in 2004, EUMETCast has to date more than 4,000 registered users benefiting from the service.
EUMETCast is the European component of GEONETCast, the global network of satellite-based data dissemination systems coordinated by GEO.
Accurate weather forecasting relies on continuously updated weather information. Each national weather agency needs to receive the same data set originating from EUMETSAT at the same time. This requires the data to be transferred in near real time, simultaneously to all end users across Europe and beyond continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ensuring stable and reliable data access, both, EUMETSAT and end users, need to be able to monitor the data flow and be able to get support should any issues arise.
EUMETSAT identified during a dissemination trade off analysis that satellite multicast is the most attractive solution for a large number of distributed users and for its reliability and committed Service Level. Such has been established with EUMETSAT’s satellite based primary dissemination mechanism EUMETCast.
Multicasting using terrestrial network infrastructure e.g. via GÉANT was identified as an attractive complementary component for the dissemination of large data volumes to a smaller number of users and a better alternative compared to other protocols or Internet;
Since spring 2015 the first phase of a EUMETCast Terrestrial Demonstration service using GEANT has been established. The data is disseminated via IP multicast from EUMETSAT HQ in Germany reaching simultaneously client sites across Europe, using the infrastructure and services provided by GÉANT and the NREN networks. It is envisaged to reach selected sites in 31 European countries by 2018.
Multicast conceptually allows disseminating the same data over the IP infrastructure of a network from a data providing source to multiple end-sites at the same time. End users can technically access the service via their respective NREN.
Throughout the entire implementation process GÉANT acted as Single Point of Contact and coordinator between EUMETSAT and the NRENs. GÉANT supported the implementation of the EUMETCast Terrestrial Demonstration service further by provision of a centralised Network Operations and Network Service Management using a specifically developed Monitoring and Reporting Platform and First Level Support including the coordination of anomalies between the involved NOCs.
Photograph © EUMETSAT
EUMETSAT and GÉANT have been exploring ways to cooperate since 2009. This included a Proof of Concept, a feasibility study and finally the current Demonstration Service with currently user stations in 5 European countries and two additional non-European sites in the USA and Korea suitable to determine the best technical approach to meet EUMETSAT’s requirements. This intensive collaboration was crucial to develop an integrated, reliable and at the same time scalable service solution.
GÉANT is able to provide a highly scalable network and network management service allowing EUMETSAT to have new European users to join easily, while catering for future plans to extend the service also to further non-European sites for instance in Africa and Australia.
This usage of existing network capacities by GÉANT and the involved NRENs was seen as a major strength. This included how GÉANT and the NRENs addressed the specific demands for monitoring and technical service support. Such had been implemented by deploying network level monitoring functions and development of a related web based near real time monitoring platform. Both allow an efficient escalation process in case of anomalies.