Home >> December 2008 Edition >> YIR: iDirect Technologies
YIR: iDirect Technologies
by David Bettinger, Chief Technology Officer

2008: This past year saw two dominant trends emerge in the satellite communications industry: the widespread implementation of next-generation DVB-S2 technology, and the expansion of satellite beyond its traditional role to drive communications advances in numerous vertical industries. This has certainly been true for iDirect, as our customers have eagerly turned to our advanced DVB-S2 product line in order to expand their businesses. At the same time we have extended our vertical reach, supporting crucial technological advancements in the cellular backhaul, maritime, mobility, and government industries.

For iDirect, 2008 was a year to continue strengthening the core technology of our platform. One of our biggest accomplishments in this regard was the launch of our next-generation DVB-S2 product line — Evolution. Built on DVB-S2 with Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), Evolution gives service providers an affordable solution that’s easy to implement and maintain. The advanced features of the iDirect platform expand the efficiency gains of DVB-S2, allowing service providers to get the most from the next-generation standard. Our partners have quickly implemented the new technology, and are leveraging these dramatic efficiency gains to grow their offerings and reach more users — even in areas where capacity is scarce.

With two billion of the world’s remote residents lacking access to mobile services, cellular backhaul represents a tremendous opportunity for satellite operators and telecom providers. Advancements in satellite over IP technology are making it profitable to extend coverage, and provide much needed connectivity to remote areas.

iDirect has been a leader in this space. Our advanced IP-based Deterministic-TDMA solution allows carriers to save on bandwidth by sharing it across multiple locations. Our partners can scale their networks easily, adding capacity as markets develop and traffic increases. iDirect’s engineers have worked hard to make our system compatible with all major cellular infrastructure solutions. And we can provide terrestrial-like voice quality by constantly prioritizing real-time applications to avoid network congestion and service degradation.

One highlight from this year was our work with Ericsson, the first cellular networking equipment provider to integrate IP routing capabilities into its hardware. The combination of Ericsson’s Abis over IP technology and iDirect’s satellite platform created a solution that dramatically reduces backhaul transmission costs for telecom operators. The successful implementation of this solution by Nawras, a major operator based in Oman, has enabled them to extend their service to reach the entire country’s population.

The maritime industry is experiencing an explosion in demand for high-speed connectivity onboard vessels. Voice, video and data applications are increasing the productivity and quality of life for crews at sea, while providing a critical link to land-based operations for vessel management, monitoring and maintenance. But traditional pay-per-use maritime communications services are either too expensive, or incapable of supporting current demand. Fortunately, with equipment costs decreasing, and the emergence of next-generation VSAT technology, affordable broadband is quickly becoming the norm for the maritime industry — and creating enormous opportunity for satellite operators.

iDirect technology has enabled a number of the largest service providers around the globe to offer reliable, always-on connectivity to their maritime customers. The iDirect intelligent platform provides the core infrastructure to develop a reliable, scalable solution for regional, or global, coverage.

Our partnership with Intelsat and SeaTel provided one highlight this year as we continue to build on our maritime solution. The offering brings together iDirect’s advanced maritime technology features, Intelsat’s global network, and SeaTel’s antenna — the most widely deployed in the industry.

One of the most important developments in our industry this year was the reemergence of in-flight broadband service. Next-generation satellite technology has helped overcome technical and operational challenges that previously prevented operators from successfully offering cost-effective, in-flight broadband services. By implementing a wide range of applications that go beyond basic Internet access airlines can now benefit from a higher return on their investment in satellite broadband technology.

iDirect has played a critical role in this milestone, teaming with Panasonic Avionics to provide a next-generation platform for in-flight broadband service. We have created a mobile waveform that can be broadcast efficiently through an ultra-small antenna mounted on the aircraft to deliver reliable high-speed connectivity.

In the government sector, we’ve experienced growing demand from the special operations community, and other defense organizations, to maintain total control over mission critical communications systems — even to the point of being able to deploy end-to-end networks in the field. But, to do this, means that all network equipment, – including satellite hubs, – must be able to withstand the most hostile terrain on earth. To meet these expectations, iDirect launched the industry’s first industrialized satellite hub to support mobile network deployment in any environment.

2009: Looking forward to 2009, we will continue to expand the addressable market for VSAT in enterprise and government markets, creating new opportunities for our partners around the world. We will work closely with industry leaders like Ericsson and Panasonic to develop integrated solutions that meet specific market challenges. We remain committed to the advancement of our platform and will continue to develop new technology, introducing new features that will expand our focus in vertical markets, and support business applications that require high-speed connectivity. Our goal is to maintain our role as an innovator in IP networking and further differentiate ourselves by delivering advanced technology that makes VSAT connectivity possible in any location at all times.

About the author
Mr. Bettinger joined iDirect Technologies as Director of Hardware Engineering in 1996 and became responsible for all hardware and software development when he was named Vice President of Engineering in 2002. Bettinger has won industry acclaim as the lead system architect for iDirect's flagship NetModem and iNFINITI series products. In his current role as Chief Technology Officer, Bettinger is responsible for the oversight of strategic technology decisions and drives the direction of product development. Active in industry organizations, Bettinger is a member of the Telecommunications Industry Association, IEEE and the IPv6 Forum. Prior to iDirect, Bettinger was a senior member of the technical staff at Hughes Network Systems in the Satellite Networks Division. Bettinger is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

About the company
VT iDirect (iDirect), a subsidiary of VT Systems, is transforming the way the world gets and stays connected. The company’s satellite-based IP communications technology enables constant connectivity for voice, video and data applications in diverse and challenging environments. These include extending private networks to remote offices; supporting mobile connectivity across land, sea and air; providing rural telephony and Internet broadband; and maintaining communications in the wake of disasters and network failures. The iDirect Intelligent Platform™ integrates advanced technology into iDirect’s portfolio of hubs, routers and network management software to address the growing complexity of deploying and managing global IP networks. With more than 13 years of global satellite communications experience, iDirect serves customers in 50 countries through a diverse network of channel partners, including some of the largest satellite providers, operators and carriers in the world and seven of the World Teleport Association’s Global Top Ten. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, iDirect has offices in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.