The ultra-portable, flat-panel terminal provides the simplicity of BGAN with the throughput of VSAT
Satellite communications solution provider and iDirect partner Paradigm recently announced their newest product: Swarm45. We sat down with Ulf Sandberg, Managing Director, Paradigm, to discuss this latest technology and what this means for the satellite market.
What are the top challenges Paradigm solves for its customers?
Satcom solutions which exactly meet or even exceed our customers’ requirements. Paradigm is vendor-independent and so is not restricted to certain suppliers or products. This allows us to provide the optimum solution for our customers based on their exact requirements such as cost, performance, size, portability etc. If an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution is not available then Paradigm has the capability to design, integrate and manufacture one that is.
Fast fulfilment of orders. Paradigm has the largest satellite terminal warehousing facility in Europe, holding a large amount of stock and ideally located to dispatch goods within hours from receipt of order. Our engineering and sales expertise also ensures that our customers receive tested products efficiently and quickly.
Paradigm helps customers reach their goal faster and cheaper. The main way we do this is because we ‘know’ the satcom business. We understand what it can and can’t do and how it can be tailored, integrated and developed. Consequently, when a customer comes to us with a challenge we can deliver the ideal solution efficiently and effectively.
What is Swarm45?
The Swarm45 is an ultra-portable, flat panel range of terminals which provide the simplicity of BGAN with the throughput of VSAT. Uniquely, it can also be carried as airline hand luggage on commercial airlines and can be assembled in 90 secs and on-air in under 240 secs. It is certified for use on a range of HTS networks including Global Xpress, Intelsat EPIC, Avanti and Thor7 and can be operated on commercial and military Ka-Band as well as Ku, Extended-Ku and X-Band.
What types of customers will use the Swarm45, and for what applications?
It is ideally suited to the international military, government, first-responders, broadcast, and NGO markets. Its size, weight and low power consumption makes it well-suited to short-term mobile setup where portability and SWaP are critical. This could apply equally to the military, NGO and broadcast sectors needing a solution for safe and secure communications in hostile and volatile situations. It’s unique because it can be carried as hand luggage on commercial flights allowing emergency teams and broadcasters to be on the scene as fast as possible, establishing those vital communication links to the rest of the world.
Where do you see demand for the Swarm45?
We’ve already had a huge amount of interest from the international military communities. The SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) of the terminal coupled with its ruggedness, flexibility and commercial agility mean that it’s ticking all the boxes for this sector. We are also starting to see demand from the NGOs and First Responders because they understand how quickly and easily they can be setup and communicating in a natural and man-made disaster. The Swarm45 can be hand-carried to the scene and doesn’t need a skilled operator to point it and lock onto the satellite.
How different is Swarm45 from similar products on the market?
We believe it’s unique. No other complete VSAT terminal can be carried as hand luggage on commercial flights and the ease of pointing and setup enabled by the PIM is unparalleled. Other quick deploy terminals are available but they do not have the weight advantage of the Swarm45 and they are much more complicated to setup and point.
Paradigm has over 20 years of integration and development experience in satellite communications. It was clear to us that the emergence of high throughput satellites (HTS) would provide VSATs with the bandwidth and cost reduction to increasingly become a viable option. However, the VSAT pointing process needed simplification. So, Paradigm’s design engineers appraised the simplicity and portability of existing equipment, such as BGAN (provided by Inmarsat, where a laptop-sized terminal can be used to connect via a low data rate link from remote locations) and compared it with VSAT setup and SWaP. Of particular interest was the set-up, point and re-deploy process. From this assessment, Paradigm developed the Outdoor PIM (Paradigm Interface Module), a terminal interface controller which integrates a modem and can be used for simple pointing of many different types of VSATs. It minimises the need for training by using simple audio and visual cues to point and control transmission – all achieved with three buttons and a cross-hair target of LEDs. No screen to smash or freeze. No heavy, bulky motors or controllers to weigh it down. The PIM is extremely rugged, weatherproof and very portable – all critical for global use in remote and demanding environments.
Next, Paradigm took on the challenge of designing a VSAT terminal around the PIM which was ultra-portable, highly discreet and with rapid deploy and stow. The Swarm45, meets all these requirements and more, with its setup taking only 90 seconds and needing only 240 seconds to be on air. With its compact packaging in either a backpack or a hand carry case it is also ultra-portable and discreet.
What iDirect technology is integrated into Swarm45?
Paradigm has worked closely with iDirect during the development of the PIM which now integrates a range of iDirect modems including the GX Core Module, the 950mp and the X7 to support Global Xpress and any other iDirect Velocity® and Evolution® networks.
What drives your decision to partner with iDirect?
At Paradigm, our expertise is in the design and delivery of satellite terminals and Earth stations, providing single units to complete turnkey solutions, including full management and control solutions. For more than 15 years we have partnered with iDirect to integrate their market-leading technology into our portfolio of solutions. By working with best-in-class technology providers like iDirect, we are able to provide the most complete and cutting-edge solutions that fit the complex needs of satellite customers today.
All of our engineers are trained on the latest iDirect technology, which allows us to supply high throughput satellite systems with outstanding solutions.
iDirect provide products for various applications which gives Paradigm a flexible range of options to integrate into our portfolio of solutions. Their products are consistently reliable and are backed up with a high standard of technical support.