Category Archives: Technology

Top 4 Market Opportunities for Satellite Connectivity in Northern Canada

Northern Canada is a growing market for satellite communications. Across several vertical markets, operations require a reliable communications infrastructure that can cover the area’s vast landmass and withstand challenging terrain.

Satellite communications industry analysts also project the emerging growth in Northern Canada as the government and businesses continue to drive communications north to spur natural resource development and strengthen rural societies and economies.

This year, iDirect moved its Canadian head office to Ottawa. The new Ottawa facility will support a growing team of sales, operations, engineering and technical research, and development functions in the area to improve its commitment to the Canadian satellite communications market. Read More

Big Data and the Speed Factor

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Have you ever been overloaded with information, and can’t process it quick enough before more comes in? We all want to react quickly enough to events so we can start taking action before an incident progresses.  If a key customer network goes down, we want to start to find fault immediately based on the information we have, and refine as we know more.

If you had 2GB of Network stats coming from different sources and you presented a single view of the truth to a NOC or in a customer portal, it could give you or your customers some great insights but how do you turn it to something useful? …This is a big data problem.

The speed at which data is arriving is the third “V” (Velocity) that I would like to discuss in the series. One of iDirect’s customers has a 1400GB database of network statistics that is growing at 2GB a day; the speed at which this information about the network is coming in makes it difficult to process it into anything useful. This is a big data problem.

Imagine if you have high-value customers using their VSAT connection for a variety of applications. Those apps may be mixed in with an Internet service or if you have a cellular backhaul system that is using a range of different IP Addresses and Port Numbers. Read More

Variety – A Very Large Array of Data

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

In my last blog we talked about volumes of data posing a problem, but a large variety of data from various sources can also make for a “Big Data” problem. Some say it’s a bigger problem.

A great example of this is in a radio frequency fade; this could result in an alarm as the carrier signal strength drops. This leads to the loss of contact alarms, then the site recovers and produces positive status messages, iVantage could produce 20 alarms for one remote in minutes. In reality all this activity is related, correlated, and it is one incident.  There are many types of data being produced in different structures which makes it difficult to process.  RF is analog, this is the difference, and it’s really the reason SatManage is unique. No terrestrial management system can understand or care about the large variety of alarms created in such an environment, not least could they correlate related alarms together into a single incident.

But what happens when you experience a network wide outage, maybe hundreds or thousands of remotes that could generate many alarms at the same time? How will you know remotes with high SLAs are impacted? Remember this blog I wrote: What is data Visualization? You can SEE this complexity in action!  You can visualize a large variety of different metrics. Read More

Getting More Bandwidth – iDirect’s David Nemeth Discusses 3 Key Takeaways to Increase Spectral Efficiency and Bandwidth Optimization

While the satellite industry talks about the need for higher data rates, bandwidth efficiency is still a critical network requirement. When the price of bandwidth remains a large obstacle in any market, getting the most out of bandwidth is a huge priority for service providers. iDirect’s senior systems architect, David Nemeth, shares three key insights to boost spectral efficiency and bandwidth optimization.

Method 1: Make a more efficient waveform 

The first approach is to simply make a better waveform, or using more advanced error correction codes and better demodulation techniques. With the same link budget you get more bits through the pipe.

For example, at iDirect we have improved our error correction codes from older TPC, to the more advanced 2D 16-State in iDX 2.1. We also enhanced our demodulation techniques (going from a preamble approach to a distributed pilot approach in our upcoming iDX 3.2 release.)  Combined, these improvements give impressive gains. Now a channel supporting 1 Mbps could improve to 1.5 Mbps when these two enhancements are combined, without any change to the link budget. We’ve achieved a 50% increase in the number of bits for the exact same amount of bandwidth and power.

However there is a fundamental limit to how much you can improve the raw spectral efficiency. Eventually, you run into the Shannon limit, which determines the maximum number of bits you get through a channel with a given bandwidth and carrier-to-noise ratio (C/N). While we’re not done until we are operating at the Shannon limit, we are close enough that future gains will be limited. Read More

Addressing The Insatiable Demand For Bandwidth

Toni KousiafesFrom Satellite Pro

Toni Kousiafes, Product Manager, iDirect, in conversation with SatellitePro ME, explains the company’s approach to innovation and product development.

The approach we take to product development is two-fold – one is about understanding the end-user needs within different vertical markets and clearly defining the use case.

“The approach we take to product development is two-fold – one is about understanding the end-user needs within different vertical markets and clearly defining the use case. It is about understanding the applications that they are running and what we need to do to ensure that satellite is a mainstream connectivity option for them.

Then we look at our partners, the ones offering the service to the end-users. We develop our system in a manner that provides them the flexibility to offer a service that delivers the same level of quality of and user experience as a terrestrial network. Continue>

Inside the Hot Zone

DaveDave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect

I recently attended the Security and Policing (S&P) exhibition in Farnborough, UK, to speak about satellite connectivity to the Security and Policing community.

When the going gets tough and response teams rely on reliable, effective, secure communications where are they going to look? The answer is “to the sky.”

When a serious incident occurs, the epicentre is known as the Hot Zone. In this inner cordon every little thing counts and the glue in the multi-agency response is effective communications.

In my last post I looked at the five common themes that came across at the S&P exhibition as the key areas to be able to deal effectively with an emergency situation. These were:

  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Speed of deployment
  • Scalability
  • Best value

Everyone agreed that satellite connectivity is the go-to technology in such situations. In the last blog I spoke about the reliability, security issues and budget; in this blog I’ll take a closer look at the speed of deployment and the scalability of using satellites. Read More

High Throughput Satellites: A Bright Future For MILSATCOM

From MilsatMagazine

By Karl Fuchs, Vice President of Technology, iDirect Government Technologies (iGT)

The military has a voracious appetite for communications. However, shrinking Department of Defense (DoD) budgets threaten to quash the military’s development and use of next-generation communications to support the warfighter.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

Technology can help to solve the biggest challenges of using satellite communications: Bandwidth and cost. New High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology can help advance MILSATCOM while offering DoD users the high quality, consistent reliability and lower costs they need.

Take, for instance, the military’s widespread use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and other full-motion, high-definition (HD) video feeds. These are the fastest-growing, bandwidth-consuming applications used by the warfighter.

One of the first, real-world applications of ISR missions was the cleanup effort for the Gulf Oil Spill. iGT and the industry were able to achieve return channel bandwidths to support HD video feeds. However, the military end-user missions demand more in the way of deliverables. The achievable data rates at the time of the spill were limited by the aperture of the antenna as well as the G/T and EIRP of the hemispherical beam of the satellite. Read More

GMPCS @ NAB 2013


Despite the advancements in LTE and bonded-cellular technologies, the need for “guaranteed” bandwidth and truly mobile satellite equipment is greater now than ever for media organizations—especially when cellular networks get congested or traditional Internet networks are not available. As part of its ongoing response to this need, GMPCS introduced a new line of Ka-band uplink field kits —packaging portable IP-based FlyAway suitcases or vehicle-based DriveAway terminals for Satellite News Gathering (SNG) applications.

GMPCS’s DiNGo™ and KAnine™ systems represent state-of-the-art advances in KA-band satellite communications with optional video transmission technologies. GMPCS Pipeline™ bundles feature the latest IP-based encoders, satellite modems and mobile antenna systems as well as the respective KA-band airtime services—for true one-stop-shopping. The portable/suitcase kits or vehicle/roof-mount solution easily enable almost all IP-based applications such as live video streaming, file-transfer, e-mail, phone/IFB and web browsing.

Packaged with a camera, portable encoder and the lightweight KA-band flyaway terminal, such as the Cobham EXPLORER-3075, field users are able to encode, edit, and uplink archived or real-time video. When using the latest satellite-IP modems from ViaSat, iDirect and Hughes and respective regional Ka-band service, guaranteed bandwidth speeds up to 10Mbps can be achieved for live streaming, Internet communications, IFB and other mobile office applications. The Cobham EXPLORER terminal also allows for a hardware upgrade path to the new global KA-band service from Inmarsat, called Global Xpress®, which will be available next year. Continue>

Security Is Not a Dirty Word

DaveDave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, iDirect

A few weeks ago in March, I attended the Security and Policing (S&P) exhibition in Farnborough, UK, to speak about satellite connectivity to the Security and Policing community.

The event offered a good opportunity to share knowledge and experience. I spoke to over 200 S&P professionals and vendors over the course of the three days. There was a wide cross section of the security and policing community and it was great to chat about the art of the possible. Some already appreciated the value of satellite, but others weren’t aware that satellite could offer their organisation the reliability and security they require.

There were five common themes that came across as the key areas to consider when it comes to effectively dealing with an emergency situation.

The general consensus was that communications in such situations need to be:

  • Reliable
  • Secure
  • Rapidly deployable
  • Scalable
  • All of this has to be within ever tighter budgetary constraints

In this blog, I’ll take a closer look at reliability, security and getting the best bang for your buck. Read More

Data Volumes are Rocketing

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

In my last Blog about Big Data, we discussed the 3 V’s: Velocity, Volume and Variety. Data Volumes have been exploding in a wide range of industries and in different applications. Let’s consider how big is “Big Data”? And does the satellite industry really have a problem?

As explained here, the wave of data allows us to make much better and informed decisions. This means we can make better planning decisions in the VSAT world, too, and it could help you make your business more profitable.

iDirect now has SatManage customers with 36 Network Management Systems (NMS’s); that equates to 72 screens to monitor if you consider iBuilder and iMontor. All these NMS’s are generating data and information that is difficult to process in the form of any insightful knowledge about what your customers are doing, and how your networks are growing.

Take a look at this example:

Our shipping company “Salty Cruises,” generates user traffic and produces data dust, additional Meta data, (for example Lat long information), distance and heading information. If you add in some RF metrics you will see even more details: Read More