Category Archives: Technology

L2oS Video Series #1: Introducing Layer 2 over Satellite

iDirect introduces Layer 2 over Satellite (L2oS), dramatically expanding the capability of the Evolution® platform. L2oS offers the option to run transparent links to customer end-points through an efficient Ethernet bridging mode as an alternative to Layer 3 routing.

This means service providers gain flexibility to pass all kinds of protocols and deploy new architectures, even creating hybrid networks that operate in both Layer 2 and Layer 3 modes tailored to customer needs.

Want to learn more? Click here.

Register now for our live webinar, L2oS Advances Interoperability, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 10 a.m. EDT.

iDirect Advances Satellite Network Interoperability with Latest Upgrade to Evolution® Platform

Layer 2 over Satellite (L2oS) allows service providers to simplify network deployment and carry IP traffic wherever it needs to go

iDirect L2oS

iDirect announced the release of Layer 2 over Satellite (L2oS), a new feature set within the iDirect Evolution® platform, allowing satellite to work more seamlessly with other telecommunications access technologies, providing transparency across the entire network. Service providers are able to use L2oS to simplify deployment of a satellite network and effectively carry IP traffic anywhere it needs to go. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

As service providers experience greater demand to deliver global services, satellite connectivity allows them to reach beyond their traditional area of coverage. L2oS makes it easier to interface satellite technology with terrestrial networking and build unified communication networks. iDirect’s L2oS overcomes proprietary satellite protocols, allowing the satellite connection to emulate a transparent Ethernet link with the freedom to pass any protocols and provide more flexibility in network management. Ultimately, L2oS allows satellite to look and act like all other access technologies. Read More

Blend It Like Beckham

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

The recent IET MilSatcom conference was an excellent event, attended by most of the industry’s key players. It was an outstanding opportunity to hear the perspectives of the UK MOD and several of the industry’s satellite providers, integrators, and partners, chaired by the charismatic Gerard Donelan. What is really good about the IET MilSatcom event is that there are very few sales pitches and plenty of insight, opinion and prediction, with the odd contentious point thrown in to make for good discussions in the breaks. And during those breaks, we had some great networking opportunities. All finished off with a final putting the world to rights session in the nearest local watering hole.

As usual at such conferences it didn’t take long for some common threads to become clear. These were increased data rates, a need for flexibility and the fact that one solution cannot fit all requirements.

It was generally accepted that data requirements are growing at an ever increasing rate. There has been an explosion of applications and devices which are either producing a massive throughput increase, such as ISTAR or a large amount of devices generating burst data, such as sensors…then add Autonomous vehicles, aircraft and maritime platforms…and mobile command platforms…and cell backhaul…and BYOD…and Big Data….

These data requirements are also very hard to predict going forward. It was generally accepted that increases in demand range from 10 to 30 percent annually. The soon to be released 12th edition of the NSR Global Satellite Capacity Supply and Demand report will make for interesting reading. Read More

Passenger Demands For Connectivity Extend To Personal Devices

Claude Rousseau, Research Director, NSR

NSR_Claude_HS (2)The growth in the market for in-flight connectivity (IFC) is driven in no small part by passengers boarding aircrafts with their own personal electronics devices (PEDs). Whether they are using them for entertainment, work or to update social media, an increasing number of PEDs require connectivity. All of this is leading to an increased usage of satellite-based communication to and from an aircraft.

NSR’s Aeronautical Satcom Markets, 3rd Edition report found that having access to data and Wi-Fi services in the air is no longer seen as a luxury, but as a necessity for many passengers who use their time onboard to stay connected with those on the ground. This in-turn feeds airlines’ installation on wide-body and narrow-body airplanes of satellite antennas that offer increasingly higher bandwidth to serve a demanding set of passengers.

As a result, the NSR forecast for satellite-based commercial aircraft connectivity is set to grow to $3.9 billion by 2024, of which about $2.1 billion will be for in-flight connectivity, reinforced by a clear trend towards higher bandwidth demand being delivered by high-throughput satellites (HTS). NSR has also noted that many service providers in the IFC market understand this trend and all the major players such as Panasonic, GEE, GoGo and SITA OnAir have HTS capacity deals to meet this rising demand from passengers.

And there is still a lot of ‘leg room’ to grow for satellite-based services aboard aircrafts if we consider that of the more than 100,000 aircrafts that could be outfitted with a satcom solution, only about 47,500 in-service satcom units are deployed but mainly to support low data rate applications. Most of these units are in smaller airplanes and used for voice and basic data communications. Read More

Bringing HTS to Market

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

The advent of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology means that the VSAT industry is poised to enter a new era of innovation and possibility. Challenges associated with quality, reliability and cost have been addressed, positioning satellite communication for exponential growth and mass adoption.

At the most fundamental level, HTS represents a major advance in satellite architecture design.

Compared with a traditional broad-beam satellite, HTS can be defined by three primary characteristics, as depicted in the diagram below:

iDirect HTS

The use of multiple spot beams changes where infrastructure must be located and how it will be deployed and managed. With an HTS feeder link design, an operator can no longer place hubs anywhere under a beam. Instead, the entire hub infrastructure must be located within a feeder link managed by a single network operator. Read More

iDirect Asia Partners With ST Teleport To Introduce Web-based Monitoring Platform To Maritime Customers

VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that iDirect Asia Pte Ltd partnered with ST Teleport Pte Ltd (ST Teleport), a Singapore-based full-service satellite and fiber communications solutions provider, has launched a unique and advanced vessel-location tracking and network-monitoring platform to help maritime customers achieve greater operational and cost control, and improve customer satisfaction.  iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

Marketed as Nautical, the platform is a proprietary solution built by ST Teleport using iDirect’s award-winning Network Management System, SatManage, which features a comprehensive suite of web-based tools that enable automation, monitoring and integration of hybrid satellite networks and Network Operating Center (NOC)-based applications from single or multiple locations.

As a unique service offering, Nautical is fully customizable and offered as a standalone or “white label” solution to customers. Its interface provides an in-depth view of real-time and historical VSAT performance statistics, “live” tracking of vessels and timely automated generation of detailed network utilization management reports. The platform’s compatibility with popular mobile devices means customers can access vital network information anywhere and anytime. There is no further hardware investment required for customers that are already using iDirect VSAT terminals. Read More

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.

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.

Ground Players Tackle Bandwidth Optimization in an HTS World

From Via Satellite

For any industry, making the most of the resources you have available is critical to success. The managing of bandwidth for the satellite industry is vital particularly as we look at things like 4K and move into a more data-intensive world.

The launch of ViaSat 1, Intelsat Epic NG and other new High Throughput Satellites (HTS) is increasing the amount of bandwidth in the sky by a factor of eight to 10. At the same time, the promise of performance embodied by HTS has upped the stakes for the ground segment to devise new ways to squeeze more efficiency out of existing networks while ensuring that infrastructure investments made today will serve customers needs for broadband on the fly tomorrow.

“Our customers are demanding much more dynamic delivery of service from us,” says Andrew Lucas, global operating officer for Harris CapRock, which teams with iDirect and Comtech EF Data to serve customers in the maritime, energy and government sectors. “In our world, a customer may be in a location for only a short period and then change, but they may not be able to tell us where they are going next. We need to deliver very quickly.”

Mark Ayers, director of RF satellite engineering for Alaska-based GCI, a voice, data and video services provider, is also feeling the pressure to serve more demanding users, especially as it delivers high-bandwidth to schools and clinics in rural Alaska for applications such as telemedicine. “We’re highly focused on being as efficient as possible with our bandwidth because of the high cost of satellite capacity,” he says. “Every single link we deliver is focused on maximizing the spectral efficiencies we can achieve.” Continue >

iDirect’s Observations from Satellite 2015: TDMA and SCPC

Day one the Satellite 2015 Conference was filled with a diverse grouping of presentations covering a bevy of different topics. From market specific content around maritime and cellular backhaul to technical sessions on satellite waveforms and future payload capabilities, many of the thought leaders throughout the satellite industry were on stage sharing their views.

iDirect is in attendance to give you a first-hand perspective of the key topics throughout the conference.

This entry is focused on TDMA and SPCP.

The Technological Solutions to Solve the SCPC vs. MF-TDMA Debate session could easily have been titled “The battle for the middle”. The four panelists represented various ground infrastructure vendors, one of which was iDirect’s Guy Adams. The key takeaway from this session is that no one still believes that there is a real battle between the extreme edges of TDMA and SCPC, but that the true solution lies in the middle ground between the two extremes.

Adams took a creative approach by going through a series of questions that were really focused on answering what an end customer cares about when looking for a solution. There are three facts that address their needs: they are looking at an appropriate level of service to meet their specific needs, they want to pay a fair price, and they want to get what they paid for. This gave the audience areas to consider when looking at the two different technologies.

The other three presentations from Comtech, Advantech and Newtec were all similar in the fact that they talked about their solution that “solved” the dilemma between TDMA and SCPC.

A key takeaway from this session is the fact that the solutions that offer flexibility to provide shared or dedicated capacity depending on requirements and markets being served are the new normal. The debate between TDMA and SCPC has changed to be a debate about which solution takes the best of both and combines them to offer a better solution in the middle.