Throughout 2019, Integrasys spent a lot of time aligning with the changing landscape of the satellite industry — this is, undeniably, an unprecedented time of change within the industry, with LEO and 5G carving into the established infrastructure of GEO and MEO.
In spite of all of this change, the familiar challenges facing the industry remain, and have even increased, albeit under different circumstances. As always, spectrum, RF interference, network management and design, as well as deploying and maintaining networks, remain important issues for satellite users.
5G and Spectrum Management
Without any doubt, 5G is bringing new challenges and opportunities to the industry. Of course, there have been concerns surrounding spectrum allocation; however, we must not forget that satellite has an important role to play in 5G.
This technology provides satellite with an opportunity to step into mainstream markets, with satellite having the capability to enable 5G in both urban and rural areas. For satellite to fulfill the potential of this opportunity, it is imperative for satellite networks to be error-free, efficient, reliable and as simple to deploy as smartphones are on a cellular network.
We already know that satellite can complement terrestrial as it can deliver wide-ranging coverage across the globe, as well as benefits that use satellite’s multi-cast capabilities. An intelligent hybrid solution between 5G and satellite can really extend the services being delivered.
The technical delivery will be important — we, as an industry, must develop new products to enable this collaboration of technologies. Integrasys’ role is clear; the company develops products that manage efficiencies and monitor the technical side, enabling the correct setup, allocation and monitoring of services. In projects such as Resisto, which focuses on communication structures, cleaning 5G spectrum is crucial in congested areas. 5G is, of course, being considered when developing our own company’s solutions.
Integrasys Beam Budget screenshot.
The Complexity of LEO
We see the mega constellations in LEO as a great opportunity for the industry. LEO is promising to deliver high-bandwidth and low latency connectivity that will develop the accessibility of satellite.
The challenge lies in LEO’s complexity in the financial side as well as in the many technical challenges that must be faced. Consideration must be given to the scaling of the ground technology for the huge number of gateways as well as the number of devices that need to be connected plus the new antenna technologies.
Integrasys has always deemed network management as one of the most important aspects of successful SATCOM. As the complexity increases, network management is going to become increasingly necessary to identify anomalies and understand infrastructures. Additionally, with the increase in signals, spectrum management will also be critical in negating RF incidents.
We see LEO and 5G working closely together, with some LEO operators having already anticipated their roles within the technology and included 5G modulation. Network solutions will also play a significant role in facilitating the interconnectivity between industries — this will be mandatory for satellite to succeed.
The Dynamics from 2019
Last year, we spent a lot of time developing and delivering solutions to improve the efficiencies within the industry. 2019 was a great success for Integrasys; the recently released link budget tool, Beam Budget, received an excellent reception due to its capability to simplify the complex process of buying and selling satellite capacity, allowing satellite users to optimize network selection.
In 2020, we are anticipating this will be a popular solution — link budget is going to continue to increase in complexity as the use of space continues to increase, especially with operators starting to provide services in LEO. This tool will continue to increase accessibility to SATCOM while enabling GEO operators to differentiate their capacity with added value propositions.
Integrasys Vectorsat screenshot.
Additionally, the company experienced further success with Vectorsat and Satmotion SNG products. With its ability to monitor spectrum, Vectorsat is a fast and reliable Interference Detection System. We believe this solution will continue to play an important role within satellite communications in 2020; spectrum management is going to be critical in understanding and using spectrum in the increasingly complex and busy environment. Early identification of RFI and its source can greatly reduce its impact on signal delivery.
We’re expecting another successful year for the Satmotion SNG. There are high expectations from consumers for news broadcasters to deliver a wealth of high-quality content. This can be incredibly challenging in rural areas, with VSAT set-up challenging for non-satellite professionals. Without incredibly accurate set-up, there is a risk of RF interference disturbing signals.
Integrasys is noting that many broadcasters opt for our technology to aid in-field set-up and we’re anticipating that this will continue due to consumer demand, which continues on the rise. We have experienced an uptake in Satmotion products, thanks to our Jakarta office that covers the Asian markets. Satmotion API is a non-touch commissioning system which allows major antenna manufactures to integrate with the Antenna Control Unit (ACU) in a seamless manner. The company foresees that this product will be a major success in 2020.
Monitoring and Automation in 2020
Last year saw the firm find new applications within the cruise and airline sectors. There is a significant increase in the deployment of on-board connectivity for consumers, reflecting the market need for seamless and high-quality communications systems, regardless of location.
We’re anticipating this growth to continue into 2020, both in the number of sales and the number of applications of our products. The satellite ecosystem is developing and the company foresees a huge increase in the need for monitoring and automation tools to manage the environment.
These tools deliver a cost-efficient and operationally effective way of managing complex networks. Above all, satellite technology — along with 5G and, ultimately, the connectivity ecosystem ±— must deliver seamless and high-quality connectivity. In order to do this, the industries must have access to the tools that can support delivery.
Alvaro Sanchez is the Chief Executive Officer of Integrasys and the Marquess of Antella (Spain).