Category Archives: Market

VSAT Plays Critical Role in Disaster Relief Efforts in Vanuatu

During times of natural disaster VSAT plays an essential role in maintaining critical communications associated with relief efforts. Such capabilities were on display in the wake of Cyclone Pam, which hit the island of Vanuatu at the end of March.

One of the initial relief efforts deployed to the island was a 73-meter yacht, the M/Y MTN disaster relief1Dragonfly, tasked with transporting aid, SAR and medical teams from Port Vila to isolated islands that are without communication. The yacht was equipped with satellite technology and equipment donated from iDirect, MTN Communications and Intelsat.

The M/Y Dragonfly, was the first to answer a call for disaster relief efforts to the island by YachtAid Global. YachtAid Global is an organization dedicated to delivering humanitarian, developmental and conservation aid onboard yachts to isolated and underprivileged coastal communities around the world.

When disaster strikes, it is important to have a communications plan that is quickly MTN disaster relief2deployed in any environment and under any circumstance. The use of satellite, independent of terrestrial infrastructure, becomes the ideal choice, providing fast setup and connectivity.

iDirect technology is used in emergency relief scenarios around the globe, providing  relief teams with reliable global coverage whether in densely populated urban areas where the infrastructure is damaged, or remote locations where infrastructure does not currently exist. With the technology, first responders are given complete communications capabilities with voice, data and video.

Peter Blaney & Cobham Satcom’s Sea Tel Receive MSUA Pioneer Awards

From Satnews

The Mobile Satellite Users Association (MSUA) has presented Mobile Satellite Pioneer Awards to Sea Tel founder Robert J. Mathews and Sea Tel engineer of 26 years, Pete Blaney.

Now a product line offered by Cobham SATCOM, Sea Tel has been a driving force within the maritime SATCOM industry for more than 35 years. The awards were presented at the MSUA’s recent luncheon in Washington DC. The awards recognize the pair’s and Sea Tel’s contribution to the development of mobile satellite technology and are specifically for ‘development of the first maritime stabilized SATCOM system’. Sea Tel has been a pioneer in the maritime satellite world since it began in 1979, when founder Robert J. Matthews designed the first mechanically stabilized antenna pedestals for the fledgling INMARSAT-A mobile satellite communications system. Pete Blaney joined Sea Tel, shortly after working with Robert throughout the eighties, to further develop maritime SATCOM capabilities.

In 1993, under Pete’s direction as Chief Engineer, Sea Tel introduced the first fully electronic, servo-stabilized maritime pedestal, the 1893, used by several OEM suppliers on INMARSAT Standard-M antennas. The following year, the 2494 was introduced, the first Ku-band DIRECTV stabilized maritime pedestal that allowed small boat owners to receive satellite TV under motion.

The next pioneering innovation occurred in 1996 when the Sea Tel 96 series fully closed loop stabilized pedestals were released. This advancement increased the pointing accuracy from 1.0 to 0.1 degrees allowing a Tx/Rx system to operate at Ku-Band under the most severe ship motions. The Sea Tel 9797 2.4m C-band antenna followed the next year, which became, and still is, the industry standard antenna for Maritime C-Band communications. Continue >

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 >

Delta to Outfit 250 Aircraft with Gogo 2Ku

From Avionics Today

Delta Air Lines will outfit its narrow body aircraft serving long-haul domestic Latin American and Caribbean routes with Gogo‘s next generation 2Ku technology. The more than 250 aircraft in Delta’s domestic fleet were previously under a long-term agreement to be equipped for Gogo’s Air-to-Ground (ATG) network but will now be outfitted for the upcoming satellite-based 2Ku technology.

The airline also expects to install the 2Ku service on new international aircraft when they enter the Delta fleet. 2Ku installations are slated to begin by 2016 and the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) provider will continue deploying new technologies to the fleet over several years.

In addition to the 2Ku award, Delta will partner with Gogo in the launch of next generation ATG technologies for short-haul domestic aircraft flying within the U.S. Continue >

Ground Players Tackle Bandwidth Optimization in an HTS World

From Via Satellite

For any industry, making the most of the resources you have available is critical to success. The managing of bandwidth for the satellite industry is vital particularly as we look at things like 4K and move into a more data-intensive world.

The launch of ViaSat 1, Intelsat Epic NG and other new High Throughput Satellites (HTS) is increasing the amount of bandwidth in the sky by a factor of eight to 10. At the same time, the promise of performance embodied by HTS has upped the stakes for the ground segment to devise new ways to squeeze more efficiency out of existing networks while ensuring that infrastructure investments made today will serve customers needs for broadband on the fly tomorrow.

“Our customers are demanding much more dynamic delivery of service from us,” says Andrew Lucas, global operating officer for Harris CapRock, which teams with iDirect and Comtech EF Data to serve customers in the maritime, energy and government sectors. “In our world, a customer may be in a location for only a short period and then change, but they may not be able to tell us where they are going next. We need to deliver very quickly.”

Mark Ayers, director of RF satellite engineering for Alaska-based GCI, a voice, data and video services provider, is also feeling the pressure to serve more demanding users, especially as it delivers high-bandwidth to schools and clinics in rural Alaska for applications such as telemedicine. “We’re highly focused on being as efficient as possible with our bandwidth because of the high cost of satellite capacity,” he says. “Every single link we deliver is focused on maximizing the spectral efficiencies we can achieve.” Continue >

Continued Uplift for Satellite in Commercial Aero

Aero ConnectivitySenior-level executives from leading satellite service providers discussed the future of aeronautical connectivity this past week at Satellite 2015. The panel discussion “In-Flight Connectivity: What Can Providers Offer to the Market?” featured a number of iDirect partners, including Panasonic, Gogo and Inmarsat.

Technology Choices

The consensus was that Air-to-Ground (ATG) is a good technology for planes that are flying over high-density ground routes, due to lower costs involved. The challenge, however, is that spectrum is limited and many airlines don’t want a solution that is only available for planes in a limited range.

More airlines are considering a hybrid solution where a plane can support satellite or ATG. This is due to the fact that they want a consistent solution that can work across their entire fleet and in any location.

Looking forward, a few points to consider:

  • Inmarsat is building an ATG network over Europe and it sees it as a complementary solution to its global strategy.
  • An upcoming spectrum auction in the United States for 500Mhz could be attractive to service providers if the price is right. This spectrum could be used to build a complementary solution as part of a broader portfolio of communications solutions.
  • Future markets where ATG could be a solution include countries with large landmasses, such as China and India, which have many domestic flights on a daily basis.

On-Board Aircrafts

Service providers are engaging with Boeing and Airbus to go through the process of having planes roll off the assembly line with the satellite solution already wired into the plane. This process is expensive and time consuming, but in the long term will be essential for any service provider to have their solutions available when an airline purchases new planes. Read More

iDirect’s Observations from Satellite 2015: VSAT and IoT

Day one the Satellite 2015 Conference was filled with a diverse grouping of presentations covering a bevy of different topics. From market specific content around maritime and cellular backhaul to technical sessions on satellite waveforms and future payload capabilities, many of the thought leaders throughout the satellite industry were on stage sharing their views.

iDirect is in attendance to give you a first-hand perspective of the key topics throughout the conference.

This entry is focused on the Internet of Things

Later in the afternoon of day one, the panel The Internet of Things and Maritime Communications addressed some of the different technologies that are being used onboard maritime vessels and how the “explosion” of connected devices will impact connectivity requirements.

The maritime industry is unique in the fact that the ecosystem has functioned for years trying to do many things with very little amounts of bandwidth. Based on this, many maritime companies have not looked at all the possible ways that a broadband connection can be utilized for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

Some applications, like fuel monitoring and engine management, are already showing the way to enhance M2M usage on these vessels, but overall there is still much opportunity for further development in this market.

iDirect’s Guy Adams joined five other diverse companies from across the industry to address a broad range of topics during this session. Areas covered included the future impacts of LEO satellites, the various options of the different frequencies and the cost of equipment and bandwidth on future growth.

The key takeaway from this session is that maritime vessels are not as far along in their usage of M2M, but that they have great potential to increase operational efficiency by implementing different applications in the future.

From the Floor of Satellite, Day 2

Day two of Satellite 2015 proved as busy as ever. Here’s another Dave Davis video from the floor of Satellite 2015:

iDirect & Ultra GigaSat Discuss the micro VSAT terminal:

iDirect’s Observations from Satellite 2015: TDMA and SCPC

Day one the Satellite 2015 Conference was filled with a diverse grouping of presentations covering a bevy of different topics. From market specific content around maritime and cellular backhaul to technical sessions on satellite waveforms and future payload capabilities, many of the thought leaders throughout the satellite industry were on stage sharing their views.

iDirect is in attendance to give you a first-hand perspective of the key topics throughout the conference.

This entry is focused on TDMA and SPCP.

The Technological Solutions to Solve the SCPC vs. MF-TDMA Debate session could easily have been titled “The battle for the middle”. The four panelists represented various ground infrastructure vendors, one of which was iDirect’s Guy Adams. The key takeaway from this session is that no one still believes that there is a real battle between the extreme edges of TDMA and SCPC, but that the true solution lies in the middle ground between the two extremes.

Adams took a creative approach by going through a series of questions that were really focused on answering what an end customer cares about when looking for a solution. There are three facts that address their needs: they are looking at an appropriate level of service to meet their specific needs, they want to pay a fair price, and they want to get what they paid for. This gave the audience areas to consider when looking at the two different technologies.

The other three presentations from Comtech, Advantech and Newtec were all similar in the fact that they talked about their solution that “solved” the dilemma between TDMA and SCPC.

A key takeaway from this session is the fact that the solutions that offer flexibility to provide shared or dedicated capacity depending on requirements and markets being served are the new normal. The debate between TDMA and SCPC has changed to be a debate about which solution takes the best of both and combines them to offer a better solution in the middle.

iDirect’s Observations from Satellite 2015: Small Cell and Enterprise

Day one the Satellite 2015 Conference was filled with a diverse grouping of presentations covering a bevy of different topics. From market specific content around maritime and cellular backhaul to technical sessions on satellite waveforms and future payload capabilities, many of the thought leaders throughout the satellite industry were on stage sharing their views.

iDirect is in attendance to give you a first-hand perspective of the key topics throughout the conference.

This entry is focused on small cell and enterprise.

The Small-Cell Civil and Enterprise Applications in Orbit panel addressed the role that small cells are playing in different environments and how satellite is playing a role for backhaul. A number of different use cases for various markets were discussed.

Richard DeasingtonSmall cells and satellite are being used to create small, private networks for emergency response, military or government agencies where the entire functionality of a mobile network is being constructed for a specific function. The largest opportunity for small cells and satellite is still around connecting the unconnected in rural and remote areas. iDirect’s Richard Deasington was on this panel and highlighted the fact that it takes a combination of speed and intelligence to provide a reliable satellite backhaul solution.

Mobile operators need a solution that can deliver high-speed data services while delivering the quality of experience that consumers expect through intelligent bandwidth optimization and management.

Additional topics highlighted the capabilities to deliver total solutions in mobility networks like aeronautical and maritime environments, as well as unique high-end sites like mining sites where small communities are set up in very remote, desolate areas.

Overall the panel was optimistic about the future growth of satellite and the capabilities that were being brought to market for voice and data services.