Category Archives: Product

Inmarsat Government Executes Global Xpress Subscription Services Agreement With Globecomm Systems

From Space Newsfeed

Inmarsat Government today announced it has executed a service provider agreement with Globecomm Systems to supply Inmarsat Global Xpress service in support of U.S. government customers.

Globecomm Systems Inc. is a leading global communication solutions provider. Employing its expertise in emerging communication technologies, including satellite and other transport mediums, Globecomm is able to offer comprehensive solutions involving network services, system integration, and end-user products and applications enabling a complete end-to-end solution for their customers. Globecomm believes that its integrated approach of in-house design and engineering expertise combined with a world-class global network and its 24 by 7 network operating centers provides it a unique competitive advantage. Globecomm focuses this value proposition in selective vertical markets, including government, wireless, media, enterprise and maritime. For the U.S. government, Globecomm provides expertise in designing and integrating mission-critical networks for disaster response, airborne communications, Communications-on-the-Move, Communications-on-the-Pause, Morale, Welfare & Recreation communications as well as Command & Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance requirements.

Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band service, designed to seamlessly complement the U.S. government’s military Ka-band Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) system, offers an unprecedented high-throughput wideband data service. The first Inmarsat-5 satellite offering Global Xpress is already serving U.S. government customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southwestern Asia, and worldwide coverage is anticipated to be available early in the second half of 2015.

“Globecomm and Inmarsat Government are proven communication providers to the U.S. government, and we are delighted to have them as a trusted partner. Together, while MILSATCOM will remain a top priority to our government customers, we’ll offer worldwide seamless Ka-band services that can augment systems like WGS,” said Susan Miller, president and CEO of Inmarsat Government. 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

Bringing New Hope to Enslaved Children

From Better Satellite World

For most of us, slavery is a horror of the past. It is a current reality, however, in more than 100 coun­tries around the planet.

The Walk Free Foundation estimates that there are nearly 30 million people living today as forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child soldiers and child brides in forced marriages. According to the UN, girls account for two out of every three child victims and girls and women together make up 70 percent of all victims.

The exploitation of human beings for sex, labor and other purposes happens everywhere, but it clusters in less developed nations, with hot spots in sub-Saharan Africa, India and parts of southeast Asia. It is also in these regions that hope arises, often from unexpected directions.

The Crossover International Academy is a school and home in the Lake Volta basin of Ghana. It is dedicated to helping children escape from slavery and rebuild their lives. Slavery is embedded in the fishing and agricultural economy of the region, and David Yayravi, a refugee from Togo living there, chose to do something about it. He recognized that children could not escape slavery if they had no place to escape to and no hope of a better life. He launched the Crossover Academy in a small schoolhouse to give ex-slaves a safe haven where they could gain an education.

The challenges were as great as the number of children seeking freedom. Education takes dedication and talent but also money, and that last resource was in short supply. Seeking access to better educa­tional resources, Crossover sent an email in April 2013 to iDirect, which sells satellite equipment for Internet connectivity. The cost of that equipment turned out to be much more than the Academy could afford. But days after giving up on the satellite option, Crossover received an email from Josh Cohen of iDirect. Cohen had learned that Crossover was not just a business prospect but a life-saving mission, and he offered to provide the equipment for free. Cohen also introduced Crossover to a local service provider, SkyVision, which agreed to provide 12 months of satellite connectivity free. Continue >

MSC Begins iDirect Upgrade

From Digitial Ship

MSC Cruises has become the first cruise line in the world to begin to roll out the latest iDX 3.2 software and X7 modem from iDirect, with the aim of optimising its VSAT communications with higher throughput and improved functionality.
Following successful tests of the new iDirect X7 modem in August 2014, MSC’s VSAT provider Marlink began the rollout of the new technology across the 12 ships in the MSC Cruises fleet in October 2014.

“Staying connected is increasingly important to our guests, so MSC Cruises wanted to enhance the onboard Wi-Fi experience by ensuring that more guests can get online at the same time,” said Emilio La Scala, general manager, MSC Cruises Technical Department.

“The iDirect X7 and Marlink C-band VSAT solution secures the bandwidth and performance to provide stable services for both guests and crew.”

The Marlink Global C-band iDirect service has been operational since spring 2014 on the new generation iDirect software, iDX 3.2, which the company says is a pre-requisite for the introduction of the new X7 modem.

All MSC Cruises services using C-band, such as company headquarters and public telephony, GSM voice and data, and ship management LAN communications, will now be routed over the X7 modem, which Marlink says allows for Adaptive TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) to enhance return channel performance and increase network availability on vessels suffering rain fade and satellite link degradation.

“Since we started with the first VSAT for MSC Cruises in 2003, MSC has always been an early adopter, committed to continuously improving the communications user experience for crew and passengers,” said Antoine Lisse, key account manager, Marlink.

“Together we have introduced the latest technology and capabilities, and with iDirect X7 on the C-band service, they will have one of the most advanced VSAT solutions in the market today.” Continue >

Satellite and the Role of Specialized Services for M2M

By Toni Lee Rudnicki, Chief Marketing Officer, VT iDirect

What is the role for satellite in the market for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications? It is a question that I often get asked as customers look towards future TLopportunities.

Most would point to the near ubiquitous level of reliability and availability offered by satellite. After all, the value that M2M presents to an organization is the ability to know where all assets are at any given time. But another area where satellite can play a unique role is with the high level of service specialization.

NSR highlighted this aspect as part of its recently published report titled ‘M2M and IoT via Satellite 5th Edition’. According to NSR, one of the most notable strengths of satellite-based M2M relates to applications that require high-service level agreement (SLA) in remote regions of the globe—often out of the range of terrestrial coverage.

Let’s take a customer in offshore oil and gas, for example. These companies are making a big push towards greater usage of M2M-based applications, such as the use of remote-operated vehicles. Many are using such equipment to help increase production through the ability to perform maintenance on rigs and report any issues back to shore. This is a service that can be highly specialized and tailored to the specific customer based on the level of data that needs to be obtained.

This is one of the distinct values that iDirect delivers with the Intelligent Platform. We have specifically engineered the platform to allow our customers to build out differentiated service offerings. The ability to offer application-level SLAs within a customer’s network, along with multi-tiered services creates a unique opportunity to serve the highly tailored M2M-based demands of customers.

The value of M2M is constantly evolving. Likewise, the role that satellite plays in helping machines talk to other machines is changing. The two fronts seem highly symbiotic on multiple levels.

iDirect Corporate Professional Training Schedule for 2015

The 2015 iDirect Corporate Professional Training Schedule is now available.

Since the schedule is posted for the entire year, you may:

1.       Gauge which course(s) you can attend with the little time you may have available, thus making the best use of your time.

2.       Forge a contingency to handle anything unexpected in your daily routine.

3.       Lower the worry/stress by avoiding the pitfall of over committing yourself to training sessions.

iDirect prides itself on having a top-notch training department. Our trainers are well versed in iDirect products and solutions; learning from them will help you excel at your job.  We have high-tech training locations throughout the world. Attend a course at our headquarters in Herndon, Va., or choose from five other locations: Dubai, London Moscow, Singapore and South Africa.

The core courses offered in 2015 are:

1.       iDirect Installation and Maintenance 3.2 (iOM)

2.       iDirect Advanced Installation and Maintenance 3.2 (Advanced iOM)

3.       Quality of Service (QoS) Boot Camp

Registering is easy. Find the course(s) you’d like to take and e-mail or call Patsey Rios, our training coordinator, at prios@idirect.net or +1 703-648-8240.

This may be your best investment for 2015. Come gain in-depth knowledge about iDirect products, plus network with your industry peers. We look forward to seeing you.

iDirect Year in Review

As 2014 comes to close, the satellite industry can reflect back on a year of great Mary Cottonopportunity and working transition.

Front-and-center throughout the year was the topic of high throughput satellite (HTS). But HTS remains a long-term endeavor. Looking ahead, much work will focus on how HTS changes the ways in which networks are designed, services are offered and operations are managed.

Aside from HTS, this past year brought forth continued growth within key satellite markets, as well as increased demand for high bandwidth networks across many traditional markets. Markets like cellular backhaul and mobility present ample opportunity for satellite to display its unique set of value propositions.

Mary Cotton, CEO of iDirect, expounds on both topics and more in a featured satellite year-in-review article published by SatMagazine. Click here to read this exclusive piece.

Why an NMS is Critical to Service Quality

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

iDirect:  Have Network Management Systems (NMSs) have been underappreciated by the industry?

Chris:  I think service providers have always understood the importance of network management because it’s essential to the deployment of their networks and operation of their services. The more sophisticated the service provider, the more they see the need for a powerful NMS, especially when they start looking at combining terrestrial links with satellite to form a complete end-to-end network. This has been one of the reasons iDirect has been successful:  we understood from day one how important network management is. Our customers saw the NMS tools we provided and were impressed by how easy it was to set-up and run a network; it was very compelling.

But as for equipment and network element manufacturers in general… quite often, the NMS has been considered an afterthought. I think manufacturers are in love with the technology of transferring bits across a satellite without really thinking about how that scales for a service provider. For them, the NMS becomes little more than a series of check-boxes. They don’t take the time to truly understand how service providers will use the hardware and manage their business day to day. But at iDirect, we’ve made it a point to work closely with our customers and understand how they operate, because we know that an NMS touches every aspect of a service provider’s business and can have a major impact.

iDirect:  As an example of that impact, how are monitoring and service quality closely linked?

Chris:  The NMS establishes the configuration that governs how the various pieces of equipment work, individually and together, and a critical part of that configuration is quality of service. End users buy a certain type of service and they expect it to work as advertised. You can’t possibly offer any type of guaranteed or even contended service on a TDMA network without being able to specifically define how that service is supposed to behave, and then being able to prove to yourself and to your customers that it’s actually behaving that way. Read More

Essential Network Management

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

iDirect:  What is a Network Management System (NMS)?

Chris:  A Network Management System controls and manages the components of a communications network. We call all the separate components of hardware in a network, such as satellite routers, “network elements.” An NMS controls all these interconnected elements, similar to the way an operating system controls the services on a computer.

iDirect:  What are the key functions the NMS provides?

Chris:  At its core, an NMS provides configuration, control, monitoring, and reporting capabilities. Configuration allows users to define the operating parameters of all network elements, and ensures that the configuration is consistent across all the parts of the network so network communication is properly maintained. Control refers to the process of making specific configurations operational on the network elements, and also ensures the correct version of software/firmware is applied to those elements.

Monitoring allows users to examine the performance of elements, detects any anomalous conditions that may raise alarms, and offers real-time debugging tools to investigate those alarms and resolve them. The NMS also provides longer-term reporting capabilities, allowing for trend analysis, usage based accounting, and other types of historical reporting on how network elements have behaved over time. 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