Category Archives: HTS

The New Imperative: Innovations on the Ground Aligning with HTS Opportunities in the Sky

High Throughput Satellite (HTS) advances in throughput are well understood at this point. Now, the demand for innovation shifts back to ground infrastructure. In particular, how will ground infrastructure technology providers advance their platforms to enable satellite operators and service providers to best capture the HTS opportunity?

At iDirect, our goal is to ensure that service providers can leverage their investment in the existing ground infrastructure while taking advantage of HTS opportunities in the most profitable way. However, these new HTS satellite architectures come with a new set of challenges for the ground.

In a brief video, Designing a Ground Infrastructure Platform for HTS, Greg Quiggle, VP of Product Management, identifies the areas of innovation that we are looking to do at iDirect to enable both of our platforms iDirect Velocity™ and iDirect Evolution® to be optimized for HTS. He outlines the areas around scalability on the hub, higher performance on the remote side and scaling and automation on the network management side.

Here are some key considerations that we are looking at in the video:

HTS offers higher throughput rates than traditional broad beam satellites. Enabling these advances on the hub side means that the platform infrastructure must handle higher aggregate symbol rates, deliver more efficient modulation and coding techniques, and saturate larger transponder sizes. The hub infrastructure must be able to manage increasingly more beams, more frequencies, more MHz and ultimately many more carriers on the service providers’ network. The other consideration for the hub side is adaptivity achieved by Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) and Adaptive TDMA to maximize data throughput and optimized traffic in changing weather conditions and satellite link degradations. Read More

OmniAccess Joins Panasonic In Developing Extremely High Throughput Satellite Network

From Via Satellite

Maritime communications specialist OmniAccess has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Panasonic Avionics to participate in the development of the company’s XTS “Extremely High Throughput” satellite network program.

Panasonic has agreements with Intelsat for high throughput capacity on two EpicNG satellites, as well as with Eutelsat for the upcoming Eutelsat 172B. The company is in the process of contracting for XTS high throughput satellites to bring massive amounts of capacity to aeronautical, energy, maritime and mining customers. Through this agreement OmniAccess has secured access to Panasonic’s existing capacity, currently contracted capacity, and the future XTS satellite network, bringing that same capacity and performance to its yachting and cruise ship customers. OmniAccess also foresees extensive cooperation in the areas of entertainment systems and content provisioning.

In a February 2015 interview with Via Satellite, David Bruner VP of global communications at Panasonic Avionics described the company’s “Extreme HTS” strategy as reaching global coverage, then layering additional capacity over highly traversed areas. The company envisions having global HTS coverage by 2017. Continue >

Mobil Satellite Technologies Launches New 10 Mbps x 4 Mbps iDirect Broadband Service In USA

From PR Newswire

Mobil Satellite Technologies, a leading provider of mobile and fixed satellite Internet connectivity services, announced today that it has launched a new high-bandwidth 10 Mbps download X 4 Mbps Ku-Band service for use anywhere in the North America.

This iDirect compatible service offers a great solution for users requiring high-throughput satellite performance while leveraging existing Ku-Band hardware. Ku-Band service operates with longer wavelengths, giving Ku-Band a superior ability to perform through inclement environmental conditions.

The Mobil Satellite Technologies satellite network has been configured to support this new service with 1.2 meter antennas with only an 8 Watt BUC, which are now available in a small, fan-less form factor that no longer require auxiliary power supplies that allows a simple replacement of the existing BUCs on almost any mobile or fixed 1.2 meter VSAT antenna.

Kirk Williams, Director of Sales at Mobil Satellite Technologies, commented: “This new service gives users the ability to upgrade to an extremely robust satellite broadband service while continuing to use their existing Ku-Band equipment. Before this new service, users would have had to buy all new Ka-band satellite hardware to have access to service plans offering these kinds of data speeds.” Continue >

Up To The Task Of Providing Greater Resiliency In HTS

Nikola-KromerBy Nikola Kromer, Senior Director Product Marketing, iDirect

The need for greater resiliency to your High Throughput Satellite (HTS) network is apparent: Just ask Denis Sutherland, who pointed to five reasons in his last blog.

As he outlined, HTS satellite architectures oftentimes drive a higher concentration of hub equipment at the central gateway site. Higher throughputs on HTS drive larger scale and service complexities resulting in massive networks with thousands of remotes managed by fewer gateways. Scaling many more networks and customers from fewer gateway locations introduces a greater need for network resiliency, and more specifically, teleport and gateway reliability.

Protecting the network from service degradation, service interruptions or even catastrophic events is key to ensuring a very high availability and reliability of the HTS network. And since quite a few HTS constellation leverage Ka-Band, where its frequency has a higher susceptibility to rain fade compared to Ku-band and C-band, maintaining consistent network availability under all weather conditions requires special features.

Final final HTS blog picture

The Reliability of the Network and its Components
At iDirect, we have designed our platform to have built-in high availability on all aspects of the hub infrastructure ranging from superior line card availability and hub component redundancy, to rain diversity and all the way to complete gateway redundancy. Read More

5 Reasons HTS Networks Need To Be More Resilient

By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

It has always been critical to ensure that satellite communications infrastructure remain online, and operational. High Throughput Satellites (HTS) introduce many reasons for redundancy and resiliency—five reasons, to be exact. Let’s take a look.

HTS 5 reasons final

1)      Gateway Architecture

One of the critical factors that impact satellite operators and service providers is the architecture of a high throughput satellite. Centrally located hub infrastructure accessing a gateway beam, a feeder link, leads to an increased amount of traffic generated from a single teleport, which equates to greater risk of network failure or service impact from uplink degradation. This is particularly relevant in the case of Ka-band, as its frequency has a higher susceptibility to rain fade compared to Ku-band and C-band. Since Ka-band frequencies are particularly prone to rain fade, a network must also leverage adaptive modulation techniques, such as Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) and Adaptive TDMA, to achieve the maximum data throughput and optimized traffic in changing weather conditions.

In many cases satellite operators that are managing the teleport will make provision for service degradation such as for weather so severe that ACM can’t protect the link, or for a failure in the teleport. This will also drive operators to consider smarter gateway diversity, ensuring that failure in one gateway, will be backed up in a different location. This is the case with Telenor’s Thor 7, as explained here, which has two uplinks in Norway to achieve carrier-grade availability.

2)      Scale of Networks

In a previous blog I considered how HTS networks will increase in scale. There will be additional network infrastructure with HTS, due to increased numbers of beams, more terminals, and higher data rates. As the networks grows the need for reliable network infrastructure increases. Read More

Managing Bandwidth Across HTS Spot Beams

By Nikola Kromer, Senior Director Product Marketing, iDirect

Nikola-KromerIn his recent blog Denis Sutherland, iDirect’s Director of Business Development, points out the challenge facing Satellite Operators when it comes to having the right amount of satellite capacity available in the right place over the lifetime of the satellite. This is critical to the success of Satellite Operators launching High Throughput Satellites (HTS). And managing that bandwidth across multiple HTS spot beams comes with a set of additional considerations for both Satellite Operators as well as Service Providers. Why is that?

Managing HTS bandwidth across multiple spot beams, compared to a single wide-beam coverage is a challenge. It comes down to being able to maintain Service Level Agreements (SLAs) across the entire customer network by managing the network capacity on multiple spot beams as one single bandwidth pool.

Think also about the difference in operational economics that come with multiple spot beams. Service Providers who are only using a few MHz on each beam would need to equip multiple spot beams with ground infrastructure versus just a single wide beam. That’s why we see more Satellite Operators planning to pre-populate multiple spot beams with hubs and line cards to allow Service Providers to cost-effectively operate regional networks. It is for these reasons that we expect to see more Satellite Operators coming down from space to start offering managed services.

It will have a direct impact on the business models for how Satellite Operators will bring HTS to market. Check out this infographic that describes the HTS business models in more detail.

Thus far, the most common model we have seen play out with HTS is the Satellite Operator as the principle owner and operator of the platform, managing bandwidth on one or more satellites. Depending on the business model, the Satellite Operator sells a Mbps service to Service Providers or end-customers directly. Read More

HTS Bandwidth Management: Can A Satellite Change Its Spots?

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

Having the right amount of satellite capacity available in the right place is critical to the success of Service Providers and Satellite Operators leveraging High Throughput Satellites (HTS).

As discussed in previous blogs, I expect to see Service Providers deploy a blended portfolio of different business models. That means they will use managed services in some geographical regions, but then also deploy their own infrastructure on other satellites. At the same time we will see satellite operators coming down from space, and offering Mbps service due to the economics of multi-spot beam HTS. Service Providers will leverage these products as well, with terminals roaming from their own network infrastructure onto the satellite operator networks based on the geographical locations the services require.

Managing Bandwidth Across Multiple Spot Beams

Maintaining Service Level Agreements (SLAs) across the entire customer network requires managing the combined bandwidth from the multiple spot beams dedicated to that service as one single bandwidth pool. In traditional wide-beam satellites, a regional network was often covered by a single beam. In a multi spot-beam environment, however, covering a similar region means managing bandwidth across multiple spot beams and networks.

Mobility

HTS planning issues become acute when you have mobile terminals. Imagine you want to cover a large geographic area, for example, North America; some HTS satellites need 50 spot beams to cover such an area. Now consider a service provider that offers an SLA to provide 1 Mbps to each terminal over this region; as terminals move around from beam-to-beam some spot beams could be empty, while others would have many terminals. Read More

iDirect Velocity® Capitalizes On Greater Performance, Scale And Reliability

By Nikola Kromer, Senior Director Product Marketing, iDirect

Nikola-KromerScale. As Denis Sutherland, iDirect’s Director of Business Development, addressed in his most recent blog, the advent of high throughput satellite (HTS) services is challenging the entire satellite ecosystem with regards to scale.

It is a thread that I’d like to discuss as we look at how the ground infrastructure is evolving to support new HTS architectures.

The Facts:

HTS delivers higher aggregate throughput for the same amount of allocated frequency in orbit. A significant reason for higher throughput is frequency reuse, which is the process of using the same spectrum across multiple sites within a network resulting in a need for the ground infrastructure to enable many more carriers across a wider MHz spectrum.

Hub equipment needs to manage an increasingly diverse and integrated network portfolio that comprises of multiple satellites, frequency bands and market applications. Plus with the larger transponder sizes with HTS it requires massive scaling on the hub and line card systems.

The use of gateway beams changes where infrastructure must be located and how it will be deployed and managed. With an HTS uplink design, an operator can no longer place hubs anywhere under a beam. Instead, the entire hub infrastructure is oftentimes concentrated in fewer gateway beams scaling the network a single satellite or network operator needs to manage to new heights.

HTS throughput levels can also lead to more remotes per network and a larger overall bandwidth pool to manage, which can ultimately drive business growth for satellite operators and increase the operational complexity exponentially.

iDirect-Velocity-Capabilities Read More

Scaling To New Heights With HTS

By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

Denis SutherlandStaying in sync with the exciting innovation in space is one of our primary objectives at iDirect. When developing products and solutions, we consider the current and future environments in which they will operate, along with the challenges our operators may face.

Here’s what we are seeing:

High throughput satellite (HTS) services will be delivered through a technology ecosystem where all the elements are being challenged in terms of scale. Satellites are rapidly growing in terms size and capability, thus the ground infrastructure needs to be scalable. Consider the recent announcements from satellite operators SES, Telenor, Telesat, among the examples. Looking in particular at the Intelsat EpicNG platform, it will provide three- to-five times more capacity than Intelsat Broadbeam satellites. The expected throughput is 25-60 Gbps, typically 10 times more than traditional Ku-band GEO satellites.

It’s useful to analyze HTS characteristics that are increasing in scale in greater detail, and the impact it has on VSAT ground infrastructure requirements.

Larger Transponder Sizes
Not so long ago, 36 or 72Mhz transponders were so common on satellites that industry consultants used this as a standard unit to measure the growth in capacity available in the market. Now we are seeing satellites with transponders from 100MHz all the way up to 500MHz!  Satellite operators see gains in terms of the power being used to enable larger amounts of spectrum. This increases the demand on the inbound line cards to support higher symbol rates, and number of carriers. It also drives the need for capabilities to support awider ranges of frequencies. On the outbound, from hub to terminals, it means much larger symbol rate carriers are requested.

Frequency Re-use (Multi Spot)
As we know, HTS delivers higher aggregate throughput for the same amount of allocated frequency in orbit. This frequency re-use is the process of using the same spectrum across multiple beams within a network – resulting in the ground infrastructure needing to enable many more carriers. For every spot beam, an outbound modulator and multiple inbound carriers are needed. To do this, the hub infrastructure must be scalable, in terms of number of carriers enabled as the satellite fills. This increase is much higher than a traditional satellite: if you have 10 times more capacity roughly 10 times more infrastructure is needed to enable it. Read More

Taking Flight: VSAT And The Connected Aircraft

By Nikola Kromer, Senior Director Product Marketing, iDirect

Nikola-KromerEarlier this week, NSR’s Claude Rousseau authored a great piece for the iDirect blog that sized up the market for satellite-based connections aboard commercial aircrafts over the next decade. He anticipates that this market will reach $3.9 billion by 2024, with roughly $2.1 billion for in-flight connectivity. And as he points out, there is still ‘leg room’ to grow.

On that note, let’s hone in on growth for higher bandwidth applications in particular. Consider the fact that today about 47,500 in-service satcom units in aero are supporting low data rate applications. As high-throughput satellites (HTS) fulfill the demand for higher bandwidth, we can look to a range of uses for VSAT aboard commercial aircraft going forward.

The Connected Aircraft

Today, nearly every major airline is rolling out or planning to deploy in-flight connectivity. For passengers, this means video streaming, voice connections and Wi-Fi. For the airline, it means a range of operational efficiencies, including:

  • Optimizing crew utilization
  • Improving on-time performance and charting
  • Measurement of key data such as speed and fuel consumption

TheConnectedAircraft

More and more, the airline industry is embracing VSAT to support all such capabilities. With VSAT, airlines are able to offer higher data rates, with continual coverage for both domestic and international routes. And the advent of HTS is dramatically improving capacity economics, which addresses the traditional challenge of higher operational expenses based on the cost of satellite bandwidth. Read More