Orbital Data Network (ODN Inc.): Customized Satellite-based Communication Solutions for Emergency Response

Greg Heifner, Founder & CEO , Orbital Data Network (ODN Inc.)Greg Heifner, Founder & CEO
The storm is long gone, but nobody can forget the vast devastation and the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. The natural calamity hit a large geographical area and disrupted a wide range of critical communication infrastructure. The state of Louisiana, one of the severely affected regions, experienced widespread network outages in the southern parishes.Telephones lines were inoperative due to line breaks and flooded pedestals, which hindered first responders ineffectively communicating among themselves as well as with the public after the storm. Stepping into the picture, Orbital Data Network (ODN), a long-standing Missouri-based telecommunications company, aided the state in designing a backup communication infrastructure. By deploying an emergency satellite communications network to support critical operations, the company helped government agencies and community organizations across the state resume data and voice communications for the next storms, which soon came. “We outfitted a series of custom-designed state owned communication trailers equipped with assets such as a mobile motorized satellite antenna system, Ethernet router, IP phones, outdoor WiFi, and a meshed Ku-band radio backhaul link—all of which enable remote communication for emergency responders,” says Greg Heifner, founder and CEO of ODN.

ODN has since expanded the scope of its products to provide top-notch emergency telephone and data services, mobile command centers, and network backup solutions. Today, ODN, which is 18 years old, is a leading satellite network integrator and emergency services solutions provider that designs and integrates a robust set of communication products and services that meets the needs of its agencies.

Built around providing primary remote connectivity and emergency backup for businesses and agencies alike, ODN was founded to specifically address the limitations of terrestrial communication and provide the best possible solutions via satellite communication. “We realized we had the capacity and know-how to solve some of the critical problems associated with communications using our custom, meshed satellite-based solutions,” adds John Potocki, sales manager of ODN. Some examples of the company’s customized solutions and services include automatic tower site backhaul fail over to satellite and/or LTE, a award winning transparently meshed Ku-band satellite network specifically designed for radio and telephone backhauls, emergency backup and tactical telephone networks, communication trailers and command vehicles, and hand-held push-to-talk (PTT) satellite phones.
Greg Heifner, Founder & CEO , Orbital Data Network (ODN Inc.)“The transparent mesh Ku-band satellite network and PTT satellite phones are the biggest markets,” informs Heifner. Specifically designed for radio and telephone backhauls, the Ku-band satellite network provides unparalleled reliability, low latency, high-performance, and cost-effective backup communication for all tower-based assets. In a similar manner, with location awareness features and a fully integrated SOS button, the PTT satellite phone senable fast and simple group communications at the push of a button, from anywhere. “It is one of the aspects that gives us an edge in providing real-time emergency communication,” affirms Heifner. In addition, ODN also provides its customers full support and training on all of the company’s products and services. During the onboarding process, ODN holds discussions with clients to understand what they want. Then, based on the insights gathered, the company analyzes and provides clients with the solution that best fits their needs and requirements.

Specifically designed for radio and telephone backhauls, the Ku-band satellite network provides unparalleled reliability, low latency, high-performance, and cost-effective backup communication for all tower-based assets

Potocki states that Heifner’s leadership and ODN’s profound industry experience and knowledge help the company maintain its superior position in the telecommunications as well as public safety and emergency management sector. Charting out ODN’s plans for the future, Heifner reveals the company intends to grow its network: “While many of the largest public safety wireless systems in the country already use ODN’s network, we want to expand it to some of the smaller systems and increase the saturation of our network.”