Category Archives: Technology

A Year of Milestones for iDirect and Our Partners

Mary CottonBy Mary Cotton, iDirect Chief Executive Officer

For the past several years in this annual article, I have focused on the emergence of High Throughput Satellites (HTS). I have written about the opportunity for satellite communications to break out from niche technology status to play a larger role in the end-to-end network as global demand for bandwidth explodes.

Well, that opportunity is decidedly here. HTS capacity is filling the skies and opening markets on the ground. As with any type of opportunity, though, meeting demand means raising your game. So in 2016, iDirect made significant progress powering our customers’ innovations and enabling our ground infrastructure platform to capitalize on our industry’s immense opportunities.

Milestones in Delivering Mobility Service

iDirect’s mobility partners made headline news this year as several highly anticipated HTS services built on iDirect became commercially available. Inmarsat GX went live with tremendous success, and Inmarsat immediately realized customer wins across maritime, government, and aviation markets.

In 2016, the first Intelsat EPICNG satellites went into service, making HTS capacity available for commercial shipping vessels and tankers operating in the North Atlantic, as well as for cruise ships and other leisure vessels in the Caribbean. And 2016 saw the successful launch and adoption of Telenor’s THOR 7 satellite, which provides HTS coverage over European shipping lanes.

iDirect supported several more partners in launching and expanding their mobility networks this year. Marlink signed up for capacity with both Inmarsat and Intelsat, making its move into HTS-based services. iDirect partnered with SES to launch their Maritime+ service, which represents its first Ka-band maritime offering. Speedcast expanded their global maritime network on the iDirect platform. And Globecomm launched a high-capacity satellite service for fixed and mobile assets on a global basis.

We are excited to see continued innovation in the mobility market, especially in the antenna industry, where flat panel solutions are opening new opportunities. This year iDirect supported VSAT antenna manufacturer Kymeta in launching a ground-breaking “no dome” antenna for the superyacht market. Kymeta mTenna represents an entirely new class of VSAT technology that can be hand-carried onboard and self-installed on commercial shipping vessels, fishing fleets, and even leisure vessels, creating additional market opportunities. Read More

iDirect’s Next-Generation DVB-S2X Technology Unlocks the Power of the Intelsat EpicNG Platform in Over-the-Air Tests

New iQ Series remote spurs substantial efficiency improvements, approaching 6 bps/Hz  

Herndon, VA, December 13, 2016 – iDirect, a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology and a company of VT Systems, today announced it has completed a successful round of over-the-air tests on the Intelsat 29e satellite leveraging iDirect’s next-generation iQ Series remote. iDirect’s ground infrastructure platform and iQ Series modem technology combined with Intelsat EpicNG satellites yielded a throughput rate of 5.71 bps/Hz – another demonstration of the up to 330% efficiency performance gains on the Intelsat EpicNG platform. This allows iDirect and Intelsat customers to exploit the full capabilities of the DVB-S2X standard so they can more efficiently meet demands for high-speed bandwidth.

The tests were conducted in Intelsat’s teleports from Oct 26-28, 2016 on the Intelsat 29e satellite, running on an iQ remote installed in Atlanta and iDirect’s new Universal Line Card and Hub chassis installed in Mountainside, MD. The successful tests included the operation of DVB-S2X carriers with 64APSK, 128APSK and 256APSK modulation and coding, and roll-off factors of 5%. The user data tests demonstrated substantial efficiency improvements reaching an industry-leading 5.71 bps/Hz in throughput per remote.

Intelsat NOC

“These milestone tests prove how our goals of higher performance, better economics and simplified access can be achieved in operational networks,” said Mike DeMarco, Senior Vice President, Operations, Intelsat. “With iDirect’s iQ remote technology and Intelsat EpicNG capacity, service providers can transition onto our high performance network while leveraging their existing investment in hub infrastructure. This is an important achievement in enabling our customers to expand their businesses into new applications and geographies and realize their future growth objectives.” Read More

iDirect Unveils Powerful DVB-S2X Technology

Revolutionary new ASIC chipset redefines performance and efficiency levels for satellite networks  

Herndon, VA, November 30, 2016 – VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology and a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced transformational DVB-S2X technology based on a powerful, customized ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) chipset that will deliver revolutionary gains in data throughput and will power a new line of DVB-S2/DVB-S2X remotes called the iQ Series. iDirect is also introducing exponentially higher hub processing capabilities and virtualization of core gateway components to offer further gains in performance and efficiency and lower business costs.

iDirect iQ SeriesiDirect’s DVB-S2X solution is the result of a significant investment to co-develop a state-of-the-art ASIC chipset that is customized to exploit the full capabilities of the DVB-S2X standard and optimized for the enhanced iDirect waveform. This next generation of technology will allow iDirect to leverage the benefits of today’s High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and the capabilities of next-generation HTS to unlock additional features of the DVB-S2X standard.

The iQ Series establishes a new model for satellite remote performance providing a future-proof strategy to deliver successive gains in performance and efficiency as network operators strive to keep pace with the launch of increasingly higher throughput  satellites. Remotes can be continually reprogrammed over the air to increase network capabilities and throughput levels, driving a massive expansion of applications and setting new service level standards.

“We are incredibly excited to deliver DVB-S2X capabilities to our partners,” stated Wayne Haubner, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Emerging Technologies. “DVB-S2X represents a major opportunity for network operators to gain greater performance and efficiency to meet escalating user demands and realize lower business costs. We are currently performing over-the-air testing of our new DVB-S2X chipset, and results are demonstrating 500 Mbps of aggregate throughput. This technology will allow us to exceed 1 Gbps of throughput as we keep pace with future satellite developments.” Read More

AfricaCom 2016: Visit iDirect and Discover Two Steps Forward to Higher Performance

Fire up high-speed DVB-S2X networks while dialing up the speed of your S2 networks

In a price-sensitive market like Africa, every saving counts. Every opportunity a service provider has to lower bandwidth costs for customers should be seized. Every chance to reduce internal operating costs should be pursued. And in a traditionally capex-heavy industry, any transformation in how networks infrastructure is purchased and deployed is graciously welcome.

africacom-2016

Fortunately, the prospect for better business economics is improving as satellite capacity comes online in greater abundance, at lower price points and at higher frequencies. The availability of stronger multi-spot beams and higher-powered transponders gives service providers the opportunity to substantially improve efficiencies and deliver more throughput over their given bandwidth.

In order to maximize efficiency and performance on the satellite, many service providers are looking to the new DVB-S2X standard. Compared to DVB-S2, the DVB-S2X standard features higher MODCODs (64APSK to 256APSK), finer granularity and better SNR values for better transponder saturation and to maximize the efficient use of the massive new amounts of HTS bandwidth.

To truly gain the benefits of DVB-S2X, service providers need a system-wide approach. At iDirect, we’ve done just that with a groundbreaking DVB-S2X product suite that enables fast and comprehensive adoption of the new standard. Read More

New L2oS Solution Lands iDirect a Finalist Spot for MEF 2016 Excellence Award

Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) recently announced the finalists for the MEF 2016 Excellence Awards, and among the 36 companies named, was iDirect.

The MEF is a global industry association composed of the world’s leading telecommunications service providers, focused on the implementation of Carrier Ethernet services. In support of promoting interoperability and deployment of Carrier Ethernet worldwide, iDirect recently launched a major innovation, one that is also a significant step toward MEF’s vision: Layer 2 over Satellite (L2oS).

MEF’s expert panel of judges honored our L2oS technology as a finalist for the category of Third Network Technology Solutions Awards. As the only satellite communications-related vendor in the list, iDirect appreciates the recognition for how L2oS will enable service providers to use Ethernet Virtual Connections to create more agile satellite networks.

Traditionally, satellite does not transport full Ethernet frames over the air because of the additional burden on scare bandwidth, thus isolating satellite networks from the rest of the terrestrial infrastructure. Instead, propriety techniques economize packets by stripping the Ethernet headers and retaining the payload for transmission. This loss of information breaks the Layer 2 adjacency, isolating satellite networks from the rest of the terrestrial infrastructure. Read More

The Three [New] A’s in Global MilSatcom

Dave DavisBy Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect Europe

The nights are drawing in, the mornings are becoming crisp and there’s a definite autumnal feel to the weather as I walk through the London streets. To me, this always means that Global MilSatcom is once upon us. Global MilSatcom is the premier event in the global MilSatcom community, with updates from around the world, some great speakers, new technologies, and doubtless some technological and commercial announcements from the VSAT industry.

In previous blogs, I’ve talked about the core ARC requirements for MilSatcom: Affordability, Resilience and Capability and these are just as relevant now. The crises management will be a combination of ad hoc and longer-term measures. In many part of the world, governments, NGOs and MoDs will continue to fight to solve the humanitarian problems, and stop terrorism at its root in the conflict areas and in-country. That’s where capability and resiliency come in and become an integral part of the solutions for MoDs. For these operations, government agencies need assets on land, sea and in the air. Longer-term solutions are problem resolution in problematic regions and nations stabilizing again at political, social and economic levels such as education, elections, health care, human rights and economic development. These will go hand-in-hand with installing border security networks and training police and defense agencies to maintain security.

This is where Affordability comes in and I also predict three new A’s as well; Antennas, Aviation and Autonomy – the three subjects which I think will provide some noteworthy advances in the coming year.

Antennas are becoming smaller, more efficient and much more discreet. I expect to see a revolution in the coming years, especially in mobile and aeronautical antenna systems. Aviation is a hot topic and it is still proving to be the next big market for expansion. The recent GX Aviation global tour was a groundbreaking demonstration of the art of the possible. Autonomy is another hot topic and the world of autonomous vehicles is very much in the defence world to stay with the MAST project and the Unmanned Warrior Exercise. Read More

Optimizing Your Network for Performance and Efficiency

Ever-increasing business and personal connectivity demands continue to take service expectations to a new level. In mobility markets like super yacht and luxury cruise, or for high-end enterprise like oil & gas, the service imperative has transformed to accommodating more people on the network at all times running bandwidth-intensive applications.

With it, the message to satellite service providers has become clear: Deliver a service that allows for more—more people, more devices, and more applications.

Helping to meet this imperative, iDirect has debuted next-generation technology that takes efficiency and performance to new levels, all with the ability to leverage their current investment in iDirect technology.

iDirect's Universal Line Cards (ULCs)On the efficiency side it starts with our next-generation Universal Line Cards, iDirect’s most powerful to date. The ULC-R (return line cards) will feature aggregate symbol rates up to 29Msps, with individual carriers up to 15Msps. These levels are significantly higher performance beyond iDirect’s other line cards and have room to grow as we add more waveform capabilities to the system. Future capabilities of the ULC-R also feature 16QAM MODCODs for improved efficiency.

The ULC-T (transmit line cards), on the other hand, support DVB-S2/ACM and also higher, more efficient MODCODs such as 32APSK as well as embedded pre-distortion. This helps customers realize new gains in efficiency and performance when operating on transponders closer to saturation. The ULC-Ts are compatible with the existing hub equipment, yet are future proof with DVB-S2X readiness being able to support up to 125 MHz bands at much higher MODCODs.

These new features are complementary to iDirect’s existing bandwidth efficiency features such as smaller roll-off factors as well as inbound phase tracking, and adaptive waveform enhancements that allow for optimal carrier spacing and adaptability to save bandwidth. Coupled with the availability of higher MODCODs and additional FEC rates, each of these efficiency gains permits greater throughput on the same amount of bandwidth. This ultimately increases profitability or lowers total cost of ownership via OPEX savings.

iDirect's High Performance 9-Series Satellite Remotes

Complementing performance gains on the hub side is the 9350 on the remote side. Targeted at high-end commercial mobility and defence markets, the rack-mounted 9350 is the fastest iDirect TDMA remote to date with over 150 Mbps of aggregate throughput with DVB-S2 and Adaptive TDMA, and a path to well over 200 Mbps with Adaptive SCPC. The 9350 also features a multi-core processor, Gigabit Ethernet links, dual demodulators, and an LCD display. Read More

A Holistic Approach to Networking Solutions

At iDirect, we are providing you the building blocks that will enable you to adopt a solutions-oriented approach that transforms your network. Advancements such as transparent IP transport, improved network architectures, optimized service fulfillment, and end-point intelligence are helping you step toward carrier-class quality and service agility. Watch as Eric Watko, iDirect’s VP of Integrated Solutions and Space Systems, discusses with Adam Bennett, Product Marketing Manager, our commitment to improving the entire end-to-end network.

For more information, read the digital feature Plug In, Play On.

Inmarsat and VT iDirect Form Joint R&D Partnership to Develop Next Generation Services

New agreement supports Inmarsat ‘building block’ development strategy

Inmarsat-iDirect-logosInmarsat and VT iDirect announced an extension of their long-term strategic partnership with the formation of a joint research & development (R&D) team – i2 – to support the development of the next generation satellite communications (satcom) technologies. This venture is a logical next step in the Inmarsat and VT iDirect relationship, having worked successfully together over the past four years to develop the GX program.

The R&D project team, which will be based at Inmarsat’s headquarters in London, will focus on the proof-of-concept and prototype phases for new satcom technologies. Inmarsat and VT iDirect will jointly assess the commercial potential of each new technology before the decision is taken to deploy it in the form of a new product or service. Both companies’ partners and end-users will enjoy privileged access to the new technologies.

Among the first projects the team will address are the creation of new solutions to support the growing integration of satcom and terrestrial networks, the requirement for smaller, more powerful satcom terminals, and the boosting of waveform performance.

“This is a highly practical relationship with the objective to deliver a continual flow of market-leading new technologies,” said Michele Franci, Inmarsat’s Chief Technology Officer. “Inmarsat and VT iDirect have been close partners for many years, and we share a common vision of the future development of satellite communications – particularly its growing integration with terrestrial networks. It makes complete sense to combine our resources and capabilities in this way. Read More

iDirect Establishes Engineering and Innovation Centre in Ireland

Satellite ground infrastructure provider will tap into technology-rich Killarney region to create more than 30 specialized engineering jobs over the course of five years

VT iDirect Ireland OfficeHerndon, Va. July 5 – VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology and a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced it will establish an Engineering and Innovation Centre in Killarney, Ireland. The facility will help to create new engineering jobs in a technology-rich region of the world. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

The project is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland.

With existing technology development centers located in Ottawa (Canada), Singapore, Cranfield (UK) as well as Herndon (US), iDirect expands its global engineering innovation footprint to a country that is rich in skilled information communications technology (ICT) professionals. According to IDA Ireland, the country’s inward investment promotion agency that promotes foreign direct investment into Ireland through a wide range of services, Ireland today employs more than 37,000 in ICT and is the home to nine of the world’s top-10 companies in this industry.

iDirect established its presence in Ireland following its 2014 acquisition of intellectual property (IP) from locally based Altobridge. The IP acquired from the small-cell company focused on 2G and 3G solutions for cellular backhaul, is today integrated into existing iDirect solutions that enable the cellular backhaul market—a fast-growing market for VSAT service providers, driven by the need for mobile operators to extend their service offering into new geographical areas to capture greater revenue. Read More