By Dave Bettinger, CTO
The goal for operators of spot-beam High Throughput Satellite (HTS) is clear: to improve the economics of satellite communications by increasing the supply and efficiency of capacity. However, the very nature of spot-beam architectures introduces a challenge to achieving this goal.
Achieving a high utilization rate
Here’s the issue: Launching a satellite is a 20-year bet on where customer demand will be located and how big that demand will be. With a traditional wide-beam satellite, the geographic target could be set fairly large. There was broad flexibility to allocate bandwidth to where it was needed on the ground as demand changed over time. And satellite operators could commonly maintain a capacity utilization rate of 90%.
Capacity allocation is much less flexible with a spot-beam satellite. Operators need to determine beam how much bandwidth and power is required for each and where each beam should be pointed. Once an operator has designed the beam pattern, it cannot easily be adjusted. As a result, operators lose much of the flexibility to sell out capacity in the ways they are used to with wide-beam satellites. And the risk is much greater that an operator could underestimate or overestimate demand on the ground.
Any cost equation is a factor of both supply and demand. While spot-beam satellites will add abundant new capacity to the sky, selling out that capacity is the key to better economics. The cost of HTS capacity will likely not come down until it matches utilization rates of fixed satellites. If capacity is locked up in the wrong beams, an operator would only be able to monetize a lower portion. And that would keep costs high. Read More
Straight from the show floor at Satellite 2014 Greg Quiggle, iDirect’s vice president of product development, sat down with Mark Holmes, editorial director of Via Satellite to discuss the latest trends and biggest happenings with iDirect at the show.
A primary focus on the discussion was around iDirect’s release of iDX 3.2 and the excitement that continues to circulate around High Throughput Satellites. Check out a snap shot of the high points below and then access the full video interview here.
An “Energetic Time” – HTS
- Quiggle characterized the market as in an “energetic time” with regards to HTS through increase in capacity that drives better beam performance
- What this means for the satellite industry in general is opening up more market opportunities than ever
- For iDirect in particular, HTS will create new opportunities in the ground segment and with new satellite operators
- The latest release on the Evolution platform debuted at Satellite 2014
- He believes partners in all markets will benefit from the Adaptive TDMA on the return channels and reduced roll off featured by this latest release. In particular, verticals focused on high throughput applications, such as offshore drilling and mining, stand to benefit most immediately
- Mobility networks are an exciting opportunity for this latest release. As the remote continues to move from the edge to the center of beam, the RF characteristics of that remote continue to change, thus the Adaptive TDMA allows for peak efficiency throughout the movement.
- A major highlight is new high performance X7 remote built to handle the performance iDirect is pushing through the network