The New Imperative: Innovations on the Ground Aligning with HTS Opportunities in the Sky

High Throughput Satellite (HTS) advances in throughput are well understood at this point. Now, the demand for innovation shifts back to ground infrastructure. In particular, how will ground infrastructure technology providers advance their platforms to enable satellite operators and service providers to best capture the HTS opportunity?

At iDirect, our goal is to ensure that service providers can leverage their investment in the existing ground infrastructure while taking advantage of HTS opportunities in the most profitable way. However, these new HTS satellite architectures come with a new set of challenges for the ground.

In a brief video, Designing a Ground Infrastructure Platform for HTS, Greg Quiggle, VP of Product Management, identifies the areas of innovation that we are looking to do at iDirect to enable both of our platforms iDirect Velocity™ and iDirect Evolution® to be optimized for HTS. He outlines the areas around scalability on the hub, higher performance on the remote side and scaling and automation on the network management side.

Here are some key considerations that we are looking at in the video:

HTS offers higher throughput rates than traditional broad beam satellites. Enabling these advances on the hub side means that the platform infrastructure must handle higher aggregate symbol rates, deliver more efficient modulation and coding techniques, and saturate larger transponder sizes. The hub infrastructure must be able to manage increasingly more beams, more frequencies, more MHz and ultimately many more carriers on the service providers’ network. The other consideration for the hub side is adaptivity achieved by Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) and Adaptive TDMA to maximize data throughput and optimized traffic in changing weather conditions and satellite link degradations.

On the remote side, higher throughput capabilities will also drive higher bit rates requiring advances in performance, and support for higher throughputs. Service providers need to have an expanded range of remote terminals in various form factors designed to meet distinct user requirements and support a wide range of applications and data speeds. These higher throughput requirements will drive higher bit rates on the remote side. Remotes must be able to handle higher modulation and coding techniques, higher symbol rates and higher processing powers.

Another consideration is scale and automation of the network management side. With much more capacity and higher throughputs, HTS will increasingly lead to larger numbers of networks and terminals. This requires an NMS that can scale to tens of thousands of sites. And with larger networks and more bandwidth, NOC operations will become more complex, requiring greater focus to ensure service level agreements (SLAs) are being met, operational costs are minimized and customer satisfaction is high. So the NMS must enable the satellite operator or service provider to perform at an accelerated pace, while heightening visibility, control and responsiveness, along with seamless interfaces with other operating or business systems to streamline and automate NMS processes.

At iDirect, we are driving these innovations on both our product lines: Evolution and iDirect Velocity.  Evolution is designed for a broad range of customer requirements, spanning any market, any network whether static or mobile. Evolution is the dominant TDMA hub platform in the market today with more than 55% market share and can operate on traditional satellites as well as HTS capacities. iDirect Velocity is a new platform designed primarily for the needs of very large HTS operators that want to offer a managed HTS service to enable their satellite capacities with ground infrastructure. In a recent blog series we have outlined our innovative features of the iDirect Velocity platform.

In our next blog series we will explore the ways in which we are innovating on Evolution so that our customers can leverage their existing investment to capitalize on new HTS opportunities.

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