SASS - Satellite Based Alarm and Surveillance System

Status date

The objective of the SASS project was to develop a satellite based alarm and surveillance system. The system has been designed to provide connectivity between alarm and surveillance systems on one side and security centers and other receivers, for example to protect the owners of the property, on the other.

The design goals were:

  1. To comply with the highest performance classification of alarm transmission systems in accordance with the relevant system directives, in particular EN 50136 and VdS 2471,
  2. To provide a transparent link between any 3rd party alarm transmitter and receiver systems conforming to EN 50131 (Intruder Alarm Systems) and EN 50132 (CCTV Systems) and the applicable VdS directives,
  3. To support the transmission of alarms as well as of video, audio and data information for alarm verification, emergency communications and surveillance purposes,
  4. To enable Quality-of-Service provisioning depending on traffic priorities and application type.

In addition to the development and engineering testing of the required hardware and software components, the project conducted a 4 months field trial phase with the objective to validate the system and service performance with real end users including private security service providers and institutional organisations concerned with security tasks.


The SASS project addressed a number of issues related to the use of satellites for security applications:

  1. The characteristics of satellite links are limiting the performance of alarm transmission. The SASS Alarm Transmission Protocol (SATP) ensures alarm transmission with the highest performance classification according to the relevant directives,
  2. The interfaces of standard security equipment are not compatible with basic satellite terminals. The SASS Indoor Unit is equipped with the required interface adapters,
  3. Standard IP satellite services are not managed. The SASS service management mechanisms support on-demand session setup depending on traffic priority and application type.

The SASS system solution has the following advantages compared to terrestrial alarm and surveillance systems:

  • It provides almost worldwide coverage with the same service characteristics and highest transmission performance classification everywhere,
  • The Satellite Terminal Units can be installed and activated typically within less than 14 days,
  • The installation costs and transmission charges can be significantly lower compared to terrestrial alarm transmission lines with comparable performance classification, especially in remote areas,
  • The SASS terminals provide a single network connection for alarm, video, audio and data information while being compatible with existing alarm and surveillance systems at the subscribers premises,
  • The SASS service management mechanisms, unlike most terrestrial broadband networks, provide IP bandwidth on-demand for safety critical applications like alarm verification, video surveillance and emergency communications while being cost efficient.

The benefits explained above do not only make the SASS system attractive for applications in remote areas, but also in regions with well developed terrestrial network infrastructure.


The SASS system concept is based on inexpensive, small and easy to install satellite terminals with built-in alarm, video, audio and data transmission capability. The terminals are linked via a geostationary satellite to a gateway station.

The gateway station provides connectivity to security centers via dedicated IP connections and to other subscribers via the Internet. The service provisioning functions are implemented in a Network Management Center. The basic architecture is shown to the right.


click for larger image


The key features and transmission capabilities are:

  • Support of standardised alarm transmission protocol for public IP networks,
  • Delivery of alarm information within less than 5 seconds to receiver (EN 50136 Performance Class D4),
  • Continuous monitoring of satellite links and terrestrial network connections and reporting of faults in less than 20 seconds (Performance Class T6),
  • Live video transmission with built-in H.264/MPEG-4 software video encoder. The speed is selectable by the user between 64 and 384 kBit/s,
  • Camera pan/tilt/zoom remote control via transparent RS-232 data channel,
  • Audio transmission (bi-directional and uni-directional), 
  • Emergency call function with automatic call setup on phone off-hook detection,
  • Transparent IP data connectivity.

The SASS system design is compatible with DVB-RCS and other two-way satellite platforms providing dedicated IP bandwidth. The satellite bandwidth is assigned to the Satellite Terminals and the Receiving Systems by the SASS Network


The project started in January 2004. In the first 3 months, the system design and service capabilities were specified in co-operation with security service providers, security system manufacturers and certification authorities.


The development of the SASS hardware and software components and the integration with off-the-shelf parts was completed in March 2005. Engineering tests have been conducted using a satellite link emulator and real DVB-RCS satellite links. Thereafter, the system was operated during a 4 months field trial phase.


After validation of the system performance against the user needs and technical specifications, the project was completed in February 2006.

Current status

The project has been completed successfully in February 2006. The main achievements are:

  • The development of prototype Satellite Terminal Units with standardised alarm system interfaces and built-in video/audio codec software,
  • The implementation of Network Management System software for provisioning of alarm transmission services and managed IP services for other security applications,
  • The development of software based Alarm Receiver Systems with advanced capabilities for alarm verification based on live video pictures, emergency calling and data transmission,
  • The specifications and implementation of a set of alarm transmission and IP session control protocols optimised for security applications via satellite,
  • The implementation and validation of mechanisms for the assignment of satellite IP bandwidth depending of traffic types and priorities.

The migration to commercial operation is envisaged into the following phases:

  1. Development of the production version of the Satellite Terminal Units and Beta Testing,
  2. Deployment of the Network Management System and establishment of the commercial organisation to provide the SASS services,
  3. Commercial launch and operation.

Subject to the detailed business planning the first two phases are planned to be completed until mid 2006 followed by the launch of commercial operation in the 3rd quarter 2006.

Prime Contractor