Category Archives: Technology

Planning for the Unexpected

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

Contingency. You cannot go far in the defence and security (D&S) community without hearing that word these days.

Contingency – an event that may occur but that is not likely or intended; a possibility.

So what does contingency mean for beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications? In a nutshell, expect the unexpected and I’m not talking about the Spanish Inquisition.

Post-Afghanistan, the countries involved have to re-organize and go back to being prepared for anything and everything thrown at them; often from multiple directions simultaneously. There is a need for less dedicated capacity and a far greater demand for flexible requirements, with speed of reaction essential.

Contingency means being prepared to operate as an individual sovereign state, part of a coalition, or part of one of the larger Inter-governmental organizations, such as NATO, AU, UN, etc. Read More

Inmarsat & Honeywell Aerospace Announced Aircell as a GX Aviation Distribution Partner for the Business Aviation Market

The formal GX agreement is between Aircell and Honeywell, the designated business aviation reseller for Inmarsat’s Ka-band connectivity services.

GX Aviation is rapidly gathering momentum and everything is coming into place. The first satellite is scheduled to be available to support a launch as early as December this year. The development of the ground infrastructure is progressing as planned and Honeywell is moving ahead with the airborne terminals,” said Miranda Mills, Inmarsat President, Aviation. “With the addition of Aircell to our list of distribution partners, we have signed up all the major inflight connectivity service providers and we are already having very positive discussions with aircraft owners and operators.”

Using Ka-band technology, GX Aviation will be the first globally available high-speed broadband network. It will offer the unique combination of global coverage from a single operator, consistent higher performance with true broadband speeds, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned.   John Wade, Aircell’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, said, “Aircell already offers one of the most comprehensive in-flight connectivity portfolios in the industry, and offering GX Aviation service is a very logical addition.”

The first of the Inmarsat-5 satellites, which will comprise the GX constellation, is currently in final preparation for shipment at Boeing’s El Segundo satellite manufacturing facility. The satellite will be traveling to Kazakhstan in the next few weeks. GX Aviation is scheduled to enter service in early 2015.

Honeywell Exec: Business Aviation Forecast Spells Good News for Satellite

The in-flight connectivity market remains one of the major talking points in the satellite issues as FSS and MSS players jockey for position in this market.

This week, Honeywell, one of the major players in the aviation market, released its 22nd annual Business Aviation Outlook report covering the changing nature of the business aviation market, which is also a target for in-flight connectivity services involving satellite technology.   The market is vibrant and Honeywell expects that there will be up 9,250 deliveries of new business jets valued at more than $250 billion by 2023. Carl Esposito, vice president of marketing and product management, Honeywell Aerospace, told Via Satellite that the demand for connectivity among business aviation customers is good news for the satellite industry. Read More

OmniAccess S.L. Launches a 100Mbps Dedicated VSAT Service

The upgraded Broadbeam Ultra variant is based on iDirect’s next-generation X7 modem platform and XipLink’s WAN optimisation appliance and is the latest addition to its high throughput Broadbeam VSAT service plans. By leveraging the maximum efficiency of the X7 and Xiplink combo, OmniAccess is able to offer an unparalleled 100Mbps single-link VSAT service to customers across the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

The service has been designed and engineered to meet the high throughput requirements of demanding users who are increasingly using bandwidth-hungry applications and IPTV streaming solutions, such as the upcoming High Definition Plexus TV services.

Earlier this year, OmniAccess was appointed as a launching customer for iDirect’s next-generation platform and is now deploying the X7 satellite modems on-board its vessels and upgrading its ground infrastructure to the new Evolution iDX 3.2 software. With the X7’s built-in support for high-speed and high-efficiency applications, customers can upgrade to OmniAccess’ latest service offering without the need to change the existing iDirect VSAT platform.

Unlike other TDMA service standards that peak at 15 Mbps, the BroadBEAM Ultra 100 is capable of exceeding these limitations while still using the prevailing TDMA iDirect architecture. This platform consistency allows OmniAccess to provide flexibility, scalability and competitive fees across its entire fleet.

Comms on the Move Technology: How VSAT Networks Can Become a Military’s Ultimate Weapon

Militaries rely on satellite communications to achieve a common operating picture across all forces. This allows them to stay informed and make quick, educated decisions to accomplish their mission.

As forces continue to expand, teams are relying more on communications on the move (COTM) capabilities to become more mobile across air, land and sea. Northern Sky Research projects $9.7 billon will be spent on communication services across all terrains by 2021 with $3.7 billon spent on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and COTM services alone.

To address these challenges, military organizations can leverage a VSAT network to enable COTM features across the military landscape. Read More

iDirect Wins VSAT 2013 Technology Innovation Of The Year Award For High Performance X7 Remote

iDirect X7 RemoteNext-generation remote engineered for mobile, enterprise-grade, bandwidth-intensive applications  

Herndon, Va., October 14, 2013 ― iDirect announced that its X7 remote is the recipient of the first annual VSAT Technology Innovation of the Year award. The award, which was given by the VSAT industry’s leading analysts in conjunction with the VSAT 2013 global conference, recognizes critical technology innovations that enhance the delivery of VSAT services to the wider community, while evolving the satellite industry beyond its current limits. The X7 received the innovation award for its design to handle high data throughput rates and enable inter-network roaming for seamless global mobility. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

The X7 remote, the first in a family of next-generation remotes, is built on an entirely new multi-core hardware system and is designed to reach high performance throughput levels to support bandwidth-heavy applications and emerging high throughput satellite (HTS) services. The X7 features an embedded second demodulator with a fully independent RF chain, enabling even higher performance rates with future operating software releases and line card technology.

The X7 is also the first remote designed to enable global roaming. By leveraging both demodulators, the X7 can connect across multiple service provider networks. End users can rely on seamless coverage while retaining a single service provider relationship. And roaming enables satellite operators and service providers to expand their network reach without additional capital outlay and gain new revenue by leasing their capacity. Read More

Honeywell, Inmarsat and iDirect Take Comfort To New Heights

For most fliers, adding more legroom, flying first-class or being served more than just packaged peanuts would be an improvement in comfort. However, passengers would trade all that in for more reliable connectivity during flights.

Honeywell Aerospace, the largest manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics, has released a survey that reports an overwhelming demand for global, transoceanic, fast and consistent in-flight wireless connectivity. However, before fliers can fully embrace these broadband services, the current technology delivering the connectivity must improve.

Fortunately, Honeywell, Inmarsat and iDirect are working together to enhance in-flight connectivity with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress service (Gx), the first Ka-band global satellite system designed specifically for VSAT. iDirect’s technology was selected to provide the ground network infrastructure and core module technology for integration into satellite terminals for the new Gx service. Through the efforts of iDirect and Inmarsat, this service will enable Inmarsat to pursue additional markets, including the aero market working with Honeywell by 2015. Read More

Telenor Satellite Broadcasting A.S. Selects iDirect As Ground Infrastructure Platform For New High Throughput Satellite (HTS)

THOR 7 to provide HTS capacity over Europe’s main shipping routes and oil and gas exploration areas 

iDirect announced that Telenor Satellite Broadcasting A.S. (TSBc), a major European satellite operator, has chosen iDirect’s new Velocity® product line as the ground infrastructure solution for its new THOR 7 high throughput satellite (HTS). Using iDirect technology, TSBc will deliver a Ka-band HTS payload of up to nine Gbps of throughput across 25 spot beams, providing capacity over the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Mediterranean, Baltic Sea as well as the Middle East. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

TSBc chose the iDirect platform for several reasons. The platform will enable automatic, seamless spot-beam handover across all beams on the THOR 7 satellite, ensuring continuous mobile connectivity. The platform will also establish an integrated capacity pool that can be efficiently distributed and enables the development of service plans for individual terminals as well as for groups across the entire coverage area. This establishes a global bandwidth management system that enforces Service Level Agreements (SLA) at the group level across all beams. Further, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting aims to leverage the iDirect platform to facilitate inter-network roaming with other Ku and Ka satellite operators, enabling end users to travel outside of their service providers’ networks, while maintaining seamless coverage through a single service provider. Read More

iDirect Qualifies ThinKom’s Advanced Communications-On-The-Move System, ThinSat 300, Using OpenAMIP Protocol

ThinKom Solutions’ antenna expands support for broadband voice, data and video applications for mobile ground vehicles

Herndon, Va., October 1, 2013 – VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of VT Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that ThinKom Solutions’ ultra-low profile ThinSAT 300 antenna, which provides global communications-on-the-move (COTM) connectivity, has been qualified to be interoperable with iDirect’s OpenAMIP protocol. Complying with iDirect’s OpenAMIP enables ThinKom to grow its operations to deliver two-way data, streaming video and VoIP applications for mobile ground units within the government, first responders, transportation and enterprise/commercial markets. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology. ThinKom Solutions, Inc. (ThinKom), is a global leader of innovative, affordable, low profile phased array antenna solutions.

OpenAMIP is an IP-based protocol that facilitates the exchange of information between an Antenna Controller Unit and a satellite router, allowing the router to command the antenna and enabling the use of Automated Beam Selection (ABS), which transfers connectivity from one satellite beam to the next as the mobile platform passes through multiple footprints. Read More

The Network Management System: A Strategic Tool to Create Value and Differentiate

DavidBettingerby Dave Bettinger, Chief Technology Officer, iDirect

The satellite market is clearly in a growth phase. As we all know, there’s surging demand for bandwidth, and high throughput satellites will certainly accelerate this trend.

Many service providers are making plans to capitalize on growth opportunities – adding new hubs, upgrading to faster remotes and deploying larger networks.

Yet, there’s another type of planning that service providers need to focus on as well. As the satellite market expands, the threat of commoditization looms. And it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate based on speed or price.

Instead, service providers will need to differentiate by delivering unique, meaningful, even unexpected value to their customers.

So, if you’re a service provider, what does it take to create customer value? There are three requisites.

  • Highly efficient business operations. You need to move quickly and respond strategically to opportunities and challenges and operate from a position of profitability.
  • Fully optimized network. Satellite capacity is a critical asset. You need to understand exactly how it’s being utilized by each individual remote across your entire deployment. Any inefficiency represents bandwidth that can be reclaimed and marketed.
  • Comprehensive understanding of your customers. Nobody knows your customers better than you. With that level of intelligence, you can create a superior, very personalized customer experience.

Read More