Category Archives: HTS

iDirect at Satellite 2015: Four Questions with Denis Sutherland

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

With nearly 20 years experience in the telecommunications and network industries, Denis Sutherland is firmly entrenched in the world of global communications, and the role of VSAT.

At the forefront of leadership discussions around HTS, Sutherland will be continuing such discussions at Satellite 2015. We sat down with Sutherland to get his perspective on this year’s show—including what he is anticipating the most from his time in Washington, D.C. at the event.

Q: Tell us about your new role with iDirect as Director of Business Development.

DS: Business Development in iDirect supports our customers with long term and strategic programs, and is very much customer facing. Therefore, this role is exactly where I have wanted to be for a while, taking the lead on discussing a number of exciting HTS programs with our partners. In general, iDirect is seeing a great deal of optimism in the VSAT community, and personally it’s great to be part of that.

On the whole, I would say that the time to act is now. With that in mind, many organizations are looking at how they participate in the HTS programs that are coming online very soon. Companies are dusting off the strategy books and working out their core strengths. That may be providing a gateway to a HTS operator, or for others it could be as a vertical specialist offering multiple VSAT offerings. The key is to have a defined plan, before service launch.

Q: You’ve been at the forefront of the Ka-band vs Ku-band debate for the industry. Talk about the biggest considerations influencing this debate going forward.

DS: This has been a hot topic since Ka-band was first proposed a number of years ago. The more interesting discussions are evolving into ecosystem comparisons, around all aspects of the satellite operators’ approach. Frequency is one, but you also have discussions associated with open or closed business models, terminal integration approach and a number of others.

The question of which satellite operator ecosystem will offer the best solution for you organization will depend on many things, not least being the vertical market that you are addressing. Read More

Great Expectations

Dave DavisDave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe

It’s an exciting time to be in an industry that is evolving fast. High Throughput Satellites are leading the charge and with them are coming technological advancements in terminals and hubs, but above all mindsets. Some of these developments are clearly outlined in the recent blog on Raising the VSAT Opportunity by iDirect’s Denis Sutherland.

The defence sector once led the communications world, with many commonplace technologies such as the mobile phone, or the Internet, starting as defence-based programs.

In recent decades, there has been a dramatic switch to the technological drive coming from the commercial world. Technologies like HTS are providing capability far beyond that of current defence assets. As a result, closer communications between the defence requirements teams and commercial industry is needed and a collaborative approach from an early stage is essential.

At February’s Mobile Deployable Communications Conference (MDC)in Prague, the main thrust of the conference was predictively SWaP and ARC.

SWaP, or Size Weight and Power, is at the forefront of the minds in the defence and security community. However, another point well made at MDC was the additional requirement to not burden the warfighter with information overload. Such programs as the UK’s FIST will have to balance situational awareness (SA) with decision fatigue.

DDAVISTo address the challenges of SWaP, the iDirect next-generation manpack board level router, the 950mp, has been designed from the ground up with these three key elements in mind. Compared to our e850mp it’s been made smaller by far, is obviously lighter and is incredibly power efficient. The 950mp will be on the iDirect stand at Satellite 2015, Booth #4000. If you’re there, make sure you come and say “hi” and have a look at the terminal up close.

I am really looking forward to seeing the terminals that will now be possible as a result of the new 950mp. I predict a real step-change from man-portable to a true manpack, bringing capability to the front line that was only possible in vehicle mounted or suitcase sized terminals only a few years ago.

There is also a new rack mounted router, the 9350 and it looks great. OK, I’m biased, but the product development team have certainly done their job well and have produced a router that is highly capable, offers much higher speeds, easy to use, ready for future HTS deployment  and is well adapted to life in a harsh environment. Read More

This week: VT iDirect at CABSAT 2015

One of the largest trade shows is happening this week – CABSAT 2015! There is no better place to learn about the newest iDirect developments and innovations directly from the people behind them.

A Full Lineup at Stand D8-10 You Don’t Want to Miss!

Visit VT iDirect at Stand D8-10 in the Dubai World Trade Centre to see nearly every aspectCABSAT-2014-4 of the iDirect portfolio. Come learn about our exciting growth strategy for Evolution® customers, catch a glimpse of our new Velocity® product line for HTS operators launching managed services, get a sneak peek at iDirect Pulse®, the next generation management system, and get an up-close look at our family of remotes that can be used in any type of market.

Learn how iDirect technology is able to support a multitude of diverse marketplaces such as:

  • Banking and Finance
  • Government Solutions
  • Cellular Backhaul over Satellite

Discover how iDirect products and solutions enables you to meet all your customer requirements from ATM connectivity, to providing cellular coverage closing the digital divide, to helping first responders manage emergencies and natural disasters. Read More

Getting Ready for Satellite 2015

Satellite 2015 is less than two weeks away and our team is excited to be there! We hope to see our Partners at Booth #4000 and we welcome anyone else who is looking into satellite technology to visit and talk to us. We have a number of our executives set to speak on panels ranging from small cells to adaptive payloads, the Internet of Things and military satellite.

This year we’ll be showcasing every aspect of the iDirect portfolio ─ our exciting growth strategy for Evolution® customers; our new Velocity® product line for HTS Operators launching managed services; a sneak peek at iDirect Pulse®, the next generation management system; and our entire remote portfolio.

We look forward to seeing you at Booth #4000!

 

HTS Offers Solution to Rising Connectivity Demands at Sea

From Via Satellite

Noting an uptick in expectation for faster bandwidth in the satellite communications market, NSSLGlobal recently ran a study that found nearly half of all superyacht crewmembers expect to receive the same connectivity speeds at sea as they do on land. With superyachts leading rapidly rising expectations for faster and more reliable maritime connectivity, the question becomes whether or not technology can keep pace.

“Fifty percent of the world’s population is under 30. The younger working-age population has grown up with connectivity as the norm,” Sally-Anne Ray, managing director of NSSLGlobal told Via Satellite. “Increasingly ‘IT-savvy’ crew expects to always be online, which results in a demand for increased speed as well as different ways of using bandwidth.”

With bandwidth previously used primarily for voice and email communications to keep in touch with loved ones while abroad, in just a few short years these demands have been replaced with the desire to access applications such as Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime, all of which are “potentially bandwidth-hungry” applications.

Solutions such as Kerio Control or NSSLGlobal’s Cruise Control can help yacht operators ensure that bandwidth isn’t being wasted while companies improve equipment onboard to try to meet demand. Meanwhile, crewmembers can turn off automatic updates and synching while on board to prioritize bandwidth. But with superyacht owners who have more resources available — often setting the tone for the rest of the industry — it’s likely other vessels will come to demand more reliable connectivity at sea as well, calling for a more permanent solution.

“We definitely believe that demand in the superyacht sector will ripple out to the rest of the maritime community,” Ray said. “This is especially true of commercial maritime where the introduction of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC-2006), which establishes minimum working and living standards for all seafarers, has meant vessels must re-evaluate their bandwidth.” Passengers aboard cruise ships also often expect similar standards at sea as on land, and support vessels for offshore oilrigs have high bandwidth requirements as well. Continue >

Raising the VSAT Opportunity

From VSAT Voice Blog

By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

These days tremendous buzz surrounds the satellite industry. I’m not talking just about allDenis Sutherland of global billionaires looking to launch “micro satellites” in the coming years. Excitement exists in the traditional satellite market as well, with opportunity abundant for those that step forward as leaders.

Market demand is high, next generation satellites are being launched and the talk of satellite going mainstream is as hot as ever. Let’s examine each of these further.

Crunching the Numbers
The demand for connectivity has reached unprecedented new levels. By 2020 it is projected that nearly 4 billion people will be connected to the Internet, according to Cisco. With this influx of users comes three times the global IP traffic than what we have today. That translates to a growth rate in IP traffic of 21%.

Add to this the projected 20 billion devices and 50 billion machines communicating via IP by 2020 and you realize that there is a need to redefine how communication networks are designed and what they need to deliver.

In fact, enterprise markets are already gearing up for acceleration in demand. Here are some eye-opening projections to consider:

  • By 2023 NSR expects that 33% of the 49,855 VSAT-connected vessels at sea will be on HTS.
  • Over the next ten years, we will see an increase in the number of aircraft connected from just over 3,000 aircraft to more than 13,000, says Euroconsult.
  • Ericsson is projecting an additional 2.4 billion mobile subscribers by 2019, many of which will come from emerging markets.
  • Military VSAT services worldwide will reach $10 billion by 2021, says NSR
  • By 2023 10% of connected O&G sites will be for exploration and production, (12% of those sites will utilize HTS capacity), generating 50% of retail revenue and using 77% of bandwidth in the market, says NSR. Continue >

Maritime VSAT Revolution or Evolution? Back to the Battle of the Bands

By Thomas Bopp, Director, Sales System Engineering, VT iDirect

The maritime satellite communication and shipping industries convened this week in IMG_5078Bergen, Norway for the Digital Ship Conference. Prior to the kickoff of this event was the Marlink VIP Customer Update and Dinner, during which many important discussions unfolded related to advancements in maritime communication and the various ways in which shipping companies can leverage these advancements.

Broadband VSAT has become business-critical for the maritime sector. That being said, the limits of reach, availability and throughput are continuously being pushed further. This ultimately begs the fundamental question for the user:

Will the technological innovations prove disruptive or will they transparently integrate and introduce efficiency gains so that the user experience is enhanced?

This was the topic of my presentation at the Marlink event. In some ways, this particular IMG_5087discussion starts with the debate between bands. Here are a few key takeaways to this debate:

  • Ku-band is now dominating maritime VSAT service delivery with C-band still holding on to its market spot.
  • Ka-band has entered the market with a larger and higher frequency range, and the promise of additional capacity and higher throughput, smaller antennas and the use of more efficient modulation and error codes.
  • Challenges facing Ka-band include the higher susceptibility to rain fade and phase noise and the entry cost of any new technology at the beginning of a product cycle.
  • The satellite industry has responded with well-proven carrier adaptivity, maximizing spectral efficiency and availability, and hub diversity and advanced quality of service (QoS) to protect service-level agreements (SLAs) during fade conditions. Antenna vendors bring to market cost-effective solutions that integrate satellite routers based on the OpenAMIP standard.

The Ka-band vs. Ku-band discussion feels like a déjà vu of the older Ku-band vs. C-band discussion a few years ago. As the dust begins to settle, it becomes clearer that the choice will be less technical and driven more by such factors as market and value. Ultimately, it is safe to say that the frequency ranges will coexist for the foreseeable future. Read More

Preparing Oil and Gas for HTS

From OffComm News

It is predicted by NSR that by 2023 10% of connected O&G sites will be for exploration and production, and 12% of those sites will utilize HTS capacity.Denis Sutherland

The past year has brought steady progress on the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) front. For the oil and gas market, writes Denis Sutherland at iDirect, VSAT continues to play a large role in helping to send large data files and support greater use of video for multiple applications.

The industry is moving closer to the reality of HTS, with 2014 bringing the planned launch of several programs focused on the enterprise space. But most of all, the market is addressing critical questions that will set the framework for the next step forward.

Preparing the oil and gas market for HTS in the year ahead involves two evaluations: network design and business model.

Network Design
Frequency will have a direct impact across the ecosystem. The decision between Ka-band satellite and Ku-band satellite seems to garner much debate amongst the satellite community. But the reality is that one is not better than the other. Satellite operators continue to stand by the notion that it is not only a matter of frequency, but it also is dependent on the planned bandwidth allocated to the multi-spot beams, bandwidth efficiency tradeoffs, frequency reuse scheme and the architecture that determine the high throughput.

Business Model
Multi-spot beam architectures of HTS have a direct impact on the ground infrastructure and thus are changing the business models of satellite operators. They can no longer just focus just on space, but also need to consider how to build out cost effective ground infrastructure across a multi-spot beam architecture.

Satellite operators will change their business models to sell Mbps rather than MHz, due mostly to the fact that they will no longer be able to depend on service providers to build their own infrastructure. With this new focus service providers will be able to cost effectively access HTS via a managed service model. Continue >

A New NMS Called iDirect Pulse®

Chris-Burdick-smWe recently sat down with Chris Burdick, VT iDirect’s Vice President, Product Management, Network Management System (NMS), to better understand the importance of the NMS as the critical “glue” that binds all parts of a satellite communications platform together.

VT iDirect:  Why is VT iDirect developing a new NMS?

Chris:  We’ve seen a lot of changes in the satellite industry in recent years, such as the launch of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) payloads, improvements in technology and the implementation of new service models. Satellite communication services have also evolved, and we needed to reflect that in our management system. So in our new NMS, we’ve focused on facilitating greater scale, improving reliability and security, and making it much easier to integrate with back office systems and terrestrial networks.

VT iDirect:  What is the name of the new NMS and why?

Chris:  It’s called iDirect Pulse®, and we believe the term “pulse” captures the true essence of what we’re creating. Since the NMS is a system that touches every aspect of a customer’s business, our new NMS denotes the pulse of a vibrant industry, the pulse of a particular network element, and keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your business.

VT iDirect:  How long has iDirect Pulse been in development?

Chris:  First of all, we had to start from the ground up to account for the new requirements in the industry and aim for the future VT iDirect envisions; this is not an easy task. We looked at every aspect of the design of iVantage– both the things that are very good and the things that can be limiting. Building on the success of iVantage, we wanted to introduce a solid architecture that will last for at least the next decade. Read More

Delivering Additional Bandwidth Efficiencies in Europe

By Thomas Bopp, Systems Engineering Director, EMEA, iDirect

The topic of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) providing additional capacity to areas out of the typical range of coverage remained a hot topic throughout the year. This is true even in some of the largest countries in the world like Russia, which relies on satellite to connect remote locations, many of which can only be reached with this access technology.

The topic was front and center at the Space and Information Technology Conference in Russia this past November. The event was organized by iDirect partner KB ISKRA, a telco provider that recently launched such mobile antenna solutions as its driveway antenna integrating iDirect’s satellite router technology along with OpenAMIP and GLONASS support. GLONASS is the Russian satellite system that provides worldwide geo-location services, which is mandatory for many Russian government and civilian networks.

Coming away from the event, three key trends driving the growth of VSAT in Russia were confirmed to me:

  • Russia has a strong fleet of satellites, but organizations are also using a great deal of international capacity, which is often strained due to currency fluctuations
  • Strong interest in HTS satellite capacity over Russia during the coming years is evident. The trend is for spot beams, but there is a continued need for global beams due to organizational topologies
  • Growing demand exists for broadband-hungry applications across government, defense, oil and gas, cellular backhaul, enterprise, mobility, and the consumer markets

I had the pleasure of participating in this inaugural event, which attracted 80 participants from all areas of the IT world. I took part in both an industry roundtable discussion, as well as hosted a session on maximizing bandwidth efficiency. Read More