Category Archives: Product

Delivering Profitable Services In Africa Using Satellite

From Communications Africa

In the latest issue of Communications Africa, Richard Deasington, iDirect’s director of market development, provides perspective on the ways in which various technology, regulatory, industry and market developments are positioning satellite to help mobile operators deliver profitable services in Africa like never before.

Technology: The biggest economic change is being lead by the launch of High Throughput Satellites (HTS), coupled with the introduction of low-cost, more power-efficient small cells from the cellular industry. When combined, these developments help bring down the point of entry for smaller-sized communities.

Regulatory: With regards to geo-political and business challenges facing companies that are trying to do business in Africa, Deasington suggests that it is time for regulators to take a new look at landing rights in the continent. Many of the most economical HTS services are provided by satellites that land their traffic in different countries or continents from the originating country and then return it via fibre. While this type of setup raises security flags, it could be time to revisit such scenarios.

Industry: As demand in a data-centric world makes its way to remote parts of Africa, the low-cost smart phone will be a key enabler for the digital revolution. With this in mind, Deasington says that the best option for most new networks will be a leap straight to 4G LTE, rather than 3G. This is further impacted by the fact that the cost of handsets is not as much of a handicap as it was in years past.

The impact that this has on satellite is in the fact that the arrival of higher bandwidth demands, has coincided with deployment of HTS. This means that satellite can deliver an order or magnitude more bandwidth for the same cost as older broad-beam satellites.

Market: Backhaul remains a vibrant opportunity for satellite in Africa. iDirect currently works in nearly every country in Africa, providing, among other markets, connectivity to remote and rural cellular sites. The traffic, which ranges from voice to data, becomes further optimized with the introduction of iDirect Sathaul.

Check out Communications Africa for the complete interview, which also includes a deeper look at iDirect Sathaul and some of the fastest growing markets for satellite in Africa.

Bordering on Bad Behaviour

By Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect EuropeDave Davis

At the recent Counter Terror Expo (CT Expo) in London there was a lot of focus on the physical side of security, like barriers, fences, etc.; this is to be expected. Let’s face it, barriers and fences are the first things most people think of when they are trying to control access to an area.

The area that is being secured could be anything from a small perimeter of tens of metres, such as a forward operating base, all the way up to a national border spanning hundreds, maybe thousands, of kilometres.

There are obvious limitations to fences. They can be easily breached if they span across uninhabited areas. Quite often, by the time you realise they’ve been breached, the trespasser is long gone. The traditional solution to this problem is to have lookout points, or watchtowers, posted at regular intervals. These dramatically increase costs. Another solution is to have regular patrols up and down the fence. Patrols are cheaper, but less effective and over time it can be easy to avoid these patrols as they can become predictable. Any amateur that’s watched any movie that involves getting into or out of an area through some sort of fence knows to wait until the patrol has passed so they have the maximum time to breach the fence and make an escape before the breach is discovered.

One of the technologies on display at the CT Expo was a type of electronic watchtower. By installing remote sensing technology, movement or some other trigger can be used to start the transmission of live video or data to a central control point, and quick reaction forces can be used to intercept any potential intruders. These systems require the use of some form of backhaul technology to link these remote sensors to the central point, and because of the remote nature, satellite technology is the obvious solution. Read More

Inmarsat Confirms It’s A First: Approval Of Cobham’s Auto-Deploy Vehicle Mounted Terminal Over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress

From Satnews

Inmarsat, after extensive testing on Inmarsat-5 F1 from Cobham SATCOM’s facility in Denmark, the Cobham EXPLORER 7100GX (E7100GX) terminal is the first vehicle-mounted terminal to receive full type approval for use over the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) network.

The E7100GX is an auto-deploy drive-away system that can be easily integrated onto any land-based vehicle, trailer or skid mount. For the media sector in particular, having the ability to quickly mount an antenna on a vehicle is crucial in order to be ready to connect the moment they arrive on the scene. The E7100GX provides the added benefit of Inmarsat’s GX network, providing access to a much higher throughput and the ability to deliver HD broadcast quality output on a global scale.

When time is of the essence, the fully integrated iDirect Core Module and a user-friendly design enables users with little satellite experience to access GX services within minutes. In addition, with a large 1 meter aperture, the E7100GX is designed to deliver higher data rates and perform seamlessly with rigorous media applications such as: real-time video and audio streaming, video conferencing, and high-speed transfers of large data files. Continue >

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.

Successful Testing For Honeywell’s GX Aviation Hardware

From SatNews

Inmarsat and Honeywell have successfully tested over-the-air performance for Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 onboard aircraft hardware on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. This successful test signifies that the next generation of truly global high-speed in-flight connectivity for passengers, airlines and operators is becoming a reality. During the testing, the team was able to demonstrate how Inmarsat’s high-speed; GX Aviation network can support multiple file transfers and video streaming, confirming that passengers will have the same WiFi experience while travelling at 40,000 feet as they would on the ground. Success in this round of testing, conducted from Honeywell’s Tewkesbury, United Kingdom facility means Inmarsat can now start the higher data rate testing.

Honeywell’s JetWave MCS 8200 terminal, which enables aircraft to connect to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network, is in full certification testing, proceeding through DO-160 environmental and electromagnetic interference certifications, in preparation for the start of flight testing in the second quarter of 2015. In addition, work is being done to ensure that the equipment is available for installation on new Boeing aircraft, Airbus A350s and Bombardier’s Global family of business jets.

GX is already operational in the Indian Ocean Region for government, maritime, and enterprise customers over the first Global Xpress satellite, which was launched last year. The successful launch of the second satellite in February 2015 means Inmarsat’s Ka-band network now covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean Region. The third satellite is scheduled for launch in the second quarter; it will cover the Pacific Ocean Region, completing the Global Xpress network and providing worldwide coverage. Continue>

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 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!