New World Teleport Association Report Showcases VSAT’s Role Extending Mobile Communications

Satellite’s role in extending mobile communications today is clear. Going forward, its role can continue to expand as new opportunities are created and markets begin to open up.

According to Euroconsult, the number of sites leveraging satellite backhaul between 2007 and 2012 reached 16,000, representing satellite capacity consumption of roughly 15.5 GHz. The analyst firms goes on to say that satellite bandwidth for cellular backhaul in developing economies could grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% by 2023, totaling upwards of $1.1 billion.

Core Capabilities or Competing in Mobile

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The question now becomes how managed service providers can best leverage the opportunities created by this demand for mobile services. This issue is addressed in a new market report from the World Teleport Association, titled “Core Capabilities for Mobile Backhaul and Networking“.

iDirect’s Director of Market Development Richard Deasington was interviewed for this report, which positions TDMA as the preferred solution. Part of the reason for this, according to multiple sources cited in the report, is the fact SCPC services for cell backhaul consume too much bandwidth and can limit flexibility.

The report is a highly recommended read for those looking to understand the opportunity for satellite in extending mobile communications. It outlines the competitive advantages brought to the table by teleport operators, many of which cannot be matched by traditional mobile companies. Read More

Find a Satellite the Easy Way with SatMotion Pocket

Dave DavisBy Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe

In my last blog, “Advanced technology comes with challenges,” I discussed three challenges that come with employing advanced satellite technology. As well as interoperability and the requirement to manage divergent networks, one of the key challenges facing troops on the ground is the increasing complexity of satellite technology and the training required to be able to set up a satellite terminal and commission it into an existing network. Add to this a high-pressure environment and you have the necessity to be able to set equipment up rapidly and with ease.

The next-gen remotes iDirect offers, the 950mp and 9350, will not only be more powerful than anything on offer currently, but they’ll also be easier to use. However, there’s a very powerful tool already on offer, which already makes commissioning remotes that much easier.

Some of the satellite terminals containing the iDirect board product, the e850mp, are designed to reduce the amount of interaction required, but the user still has to align the antenna and carry out basic commissioning protocols.

With a traditional VSAT (made up of an indoor router and an outdoor antenna, BUC and LNB), the issue becomes more pressing with a full line up required. Also, a knowledge of how to operate a spectrum analyser is needed, along with a back channel method of communications with a Network Operations Centre (NOC) to carry out the test, requiring a satellite phone, or similar. Read More

Meet the iDirect Team at OilComm

The oil and gas market is undergoing a digital evolution. From the rigs themselves becoming increasingly modern using sophisticated technology, to the level of high-speed applications being used to run all phases of operation, technology continues to play a critical role in this market.

At the center of enabling it all is the use of VSAT. According to NSR, capacity demand for exploration and production will exceed 18.8 Gbps by 2022. Furthermore, 12% of all connected oil and gas sites will utilize High Throughout Satellite (HTS).

This convergence of digital trends and growing demand for capacity will be on full display at OilComm Conference and Exposition, November 5-7 in Houston, Texas. This event has become the annual gathering place for the communications industry serving the oil and gas market.

This year’s agenda is packed with topics to which the use of satellite communications has an underlying role to play. Everything from managing experiences with connected device policy and security implementation, to visualizing incident response solutions, to offshore enterprise communications present challenges that the satellite industry is working hard to address.

oilcom-reception2Once again, iDirect will be hosting a special networking reception at OilComm. Taking place on November 6, this reception will allow exhibitors and attendees to mix and mingle with the entire market in a casual setting.

Our roster of iDirect attendees brings unique expertise to these discussions. I encourage you to meet up with iDirect Senior Sales Executives Scott Glass, Ken Harris, Jeff Hunsucker, and Senior Sales Systems Engineer Mark West. Collectively they bring more than 40 years experience in oil and gas and are willing to engage into conversations that provide keen insights into the technologies and business strategies shaping the oil and gas market.

According to show organizers, the OilComm Conference and Exposition is shaping up to have its largest exhibit floor to date. Overall, the show promises to present solutions for the entire lifecycle of the oil platform. And VSAT has many important roles to play enabling it all.

Advanced Technology Comes with Challenges

Dave DavisDave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe

There has been a massive explosion in the amount of data being passed across satellite technologies over the last few years. In the military environment, the drivers are broadly the same and a need for high quality, or high volume video imagery is at the forefront.

Military surveillance is getting more and more sophisticated and technologies like Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4k imagery are being used to give an ever clearer picture of what’s happening on the front line. The requirement of backhauling this imagery from remote or temporary locations means that satellite links are the go-to technology.

Another technology driving the throughput of satellite links is cellular backhaul, where deployed bubbles or puddles of coverage, be it 3G or LTE, are used to connect the devices that are already deployed into the wider network seamlessly.

These devices operate as you would expect in any well served street at home. This is known as Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. This also means that devices can be upgraded, replaced or adapted and will still connect anywhere, any time. The key word is interoperability, but it produces an increased reliance on satellite technology.

It is critical that we future-proof these satellite links for the next cellular generation, 5G. Although 5G, is “beyond 2020,” work has already started and it will no doubt, produce data requirements way above and beyond the current needs. A scalable, flexible platform is an absolute must to be able to cope with growth and change. Read More

VSAT Mission for Defence: Network Interoperability

Eric-WatkoBy Eric Watko, Vice President, Technology Initiatives

Throughout the past two decades, the telecommunications industry has transitioned from delivering dedicated circuits to now providing end-to-end services. Access networks are converging onto a common architecture, and satellite is following a similar course with full network convergence in its sights. However, when it comes to the defence and security sector, the idea of full network convergence becomes a bit more complicated.

The access landscape for defence looks like such: defence satellite Ka, Ku, X, commercial satellite Ka, Ku, C, and terrestrial access networks. Add to this the variety of infrastructure of secured teleport and commercial teleport, and you begin to see where things get a bit more complicated.

Let’s paint the picture with a common scenario. A national ministry of defence wants to launch a Ka-band defence network. It may wish to operate on a commercially available platform to cover the areas of operation that are not covered by its own satellite network. Roaming onto the other satellite networks might be an ideal choice.

However, this requires a level of management and control across satellite networks of various operators. This level of interoperability doesn’t quite exist today.

Of course, interoperability challenges are coupled with other challenges, including the high cost of capacity, no common management plane and interface, and ease of use and performance.

At iDirect, we believe the strategy requires addressing the issue of convergence across multiple fronts. Read More

VSAT Comes in First During a 10K

iDirect and partner Elara Comunicaciones have altered the meaning of ‘education and health’ for many citizens in rural Mexico. The companies, which teamed up for Mexico’s 10K project in late-2012/early-2013, now provide satellite connectivity to over 3,000 sites in the country. Students can now attend classes and training programs remotely via the Internet.

Through Internet access, services such as VoIP and video, encourage interactivity, thus providing a supportive and hands-on learning environment. With the help of iDirect and Elara Comunicaciones, many citizens of Mexico now have access to a wealth of information, including broader education and health attention, and broader education is repeated with  a simple click of a button.  To learn more please read or download our latest case study, “VSAT Runs a 10K” below:

VSAT in APAC: An Opportune Landscape for Growth

Two recent events shine the spotlight on VSAT’s continued growth in Asia-Pacific. The region is experiencing an upswing of opportunity, given the launches of multiple satellites, greater demand for high throughput satellites (HTS), and growing opportunities across a number of different markets.

The month of September wrapped up with the annual APSCC Conference & Exhibition, where the theme was appropriately centered on “The New Landscape for Satellite.” APSCC President Yutaka Nagai perhaps said it best when he welcomed attendees with a message that the satellite industry is positioned for an exciting phase of prosperity in Asia Pacific.


For iDirect, the message of HTS in particular was front-and-center at the event, with Tom Cheong, VP & GM, iDirect Asia, participating on an engaging panel discussion titled “HTS and Broadband Satellite Services.”

“Given the coming HTS capacity that will present higher throughput, better mobility support and more persuasive economics for large networks, the Asia Pacific region can expect unprecedented new opportunities for both consumers and enterprise customers,” said Cheong. “Factors like rapid urbanization in major Asian cities, upsurge in air, land and sea travel as well as increasing demand for high-speed mobile connectivity, all speak to this being the right time for HTS to elevate Asia Pacific to the next level.”

This demand is already apparent in the form of communications on the move (COTM) from the defense and homeland security sectors. Multiple coast guard/naval forces, land-based army divisions as well as disaster management agencies in the region have incorporated iDirect technology into their mobile assets.

Likewise, cruise liners and commercial airlines remain the next big wave of mobility for Asia Pacific. iDirect’s strong foundation in the maritime space should propel this market segment forward. Coupled with the government mobility objectives, the outlook for mobility in APAC looks to be well rounded. Read More

Asia-Pacific Disaster Preparedness Strengthened Through Delivery of GVF Satcom Certification to 21 Militaries

From Space Newsfeed

The effectiveness of Asia-Pacific disaster preparedness and response has been enabled through the recent certification of participants from more than 20 militaries on the use of satellite communications systems to ensure that in a crisis or disaster there are trained individuals available throughout the region who can assist with relief efforts.

The one-week training program was held as part of the “Satcom Endeavor” information-sharing module of “Pacific Endeavor”, a joint program of militaries from throughout the region sponsored by the US Pacific Command. The training was provided by GVF, the international association of the satellite communications industry, with support from leading providers of bandwidth, earth stations, integration, and online, inter-active training.

“GVF’s Member companies and partners were instrumental to the success of the satcom training and certification program,” said David Hartshorn, Secretary General of GVF. “SES and SatProf provided Scholarships and expert support for the training, while systems, services and subject-matter specialists were made available by AQYR, GATR Technologies, Integrasys, Mahdi Bagh Computers, Mercantile, and SpeedCast.”

“Thanks to their support, we were able to achieve our goal of ensuring that all participants obtained valuable knowledge and lessons learned from actual field experience, and were able to pass the rigorous training,” said Steve Birnbaum, Chairman of the GVF’s Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response Programs. “They are now able to return to their countries, and stand ready to use their new skills, relationships and ideas for improved collaboration to help save lives during any disasters that may strike the Asia-Pacific region in the future.” Continue>

Intelsat General Increasing Focus on Stopping Interference, Musing Ka-band Options

From Satellite Today

As Intelsat prepares for EpicNG, its next generation High Throughput Satellites (HTS), a key focus will be on gaining strength in the military market. This sector has presented a challenge to Intelsat recently, as sequestration and contract consolidation led to reduced government spending. With the first EpicNG satellite, IS-29e, slated to launch next year, the company anticipates these highly capable satellites will result in newfound growth.

To make sure EpicNG is all it can be for the military sector, Intelsat General, the government-focused wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat, has undertaken several initiatives it believes will prove advantageous. For example, the satellites will support spot beams and an open architecture system to provide higher throughput to existing modems and antennas. But one of the biggest improvements will be a beefed up resistance to jamming and intentional interference.

“In the past we have had limited capabilities to deal with interference on the spacecraft, and now we have capabilities to deal with it,” Mark Daniels, VP of engineering at Intelsat General, told Via Satellite. “We have a whole protected communications roadmap that we are working on where we can bring more options to the table for military planners.” Continue>

Promising Productivity For Inmarsat Presented During MILCOM 2014

From Satnews

Inmarsat, in partnership with its Value Added Resellers, has begun providing wideband communications capability to U.S. government customers through its Global Xpress service carried over the first Inmarsat-5 satellite.

Using 72 fixed beams in commercial Ka-band, along with military Ka-band capacity available on its high-capacity steerable beams, Global Xpress is now supporting aeronautical and land terminal operations in the Indian Ocean Region with high-throughput connectivity. The steerable beams are designed to complement military Ka-band capacity provided by the Wideband Global SATCOM system (WGS) in areas of high demand, while the fixed beams enable consistent and reliable service across nearly all of the visible earth.

Peter Hadinger, president of Inmarsat’s U.S. Government Business Unit, said, ”Our goal throughout the design process was to address many of the U.S. government’s most critical communications needs, and now, Inmarsat is delivering on that objective.”

Global Xpress exceeded expectations during extensive user evaluations and tests. Users indicated that terminals were highly reliable under all operational conditions, providing seamless wideband SATCOM connectivity crucial to their mission requirements. The Inmarsat-5 military Ka-band steerable beam technology efficiently supports very high data rates and very small apertures enabling the satisfaction of previously unmet key mission requirements. Additionally, the iDirect evolution-based Global Service Beam (GSB) performance met or exceeded data throughput available on older Ku-band services using satellite terminals of equal or smaller size. Continue>