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YIR: Newtec
by Serge Van Herck, CEO

2008: The impressive growth of HDTV and IP traffic is further boosting customers’ demands for satellite capacity around the world. The satellite capacity supply is growing as well but much slower than the demand; scarcity is therefore increasing transponder costs. Satellite service providers, broadcasters, telecom operators and ISPs struggle to find adequate satellite capacity, and struggle to grow the profitability of their business.

2008 has been an unprecedented growth year for Newtec and was particularly rich in major technical (r)evolutions, a breakthrough for broadband consumer access in Europe. SES Astra has successfully introduced their consumer broadband ASTRA2Connect service using Newtec’s award winning Sat3Play™ technology. Several major ISPs in different European countries such as France and Germany are reselling the service towards the consumer for terminal prices typically at about 320 euro, and monthly subscription fees starting at 20 euro per month. With the introduction of our Point&Play®; tool, consumers are able to install the Sat3Play® terminal by themselves and avoid having to pay for installation costs. With monthly growth rates of five thousand or more new subscribers per month, SES Astra is clearly showing the way in Europe.

HellasSat, the leading Greek satellite operator, launched in September a similar Sat3Play® based Internet access service for consumers in Greece. OTE, the largest Greek telecommunications operator is reselling the service. Our Sat3Play® technology is here as a perfect solution for bridging the “Digital Divide” by providing broadband connectivity to all Greek islands.

The Beijing Olympics were a major success, with an impressive list of new world records. Billions of people have been able to watch the Olympics live in SD and HD. China impressed the world with the quality of the organisation of this major event and with the number of medals they earned.

A few weeks before the Olympics, China made another historical step forward in the distribution of TV across the country. With the successful launch of the first DTH satellite over China (Chinasat-9), Chinese TV broadcasters are now able to distribute their channels all over the country. The Chinese authorities (SARFT State Administration of Radio, Film and TV) awarded Newtec in 2007 the order to help design and implement a new broadcast standard for China called ABS-S. Today, all ABS-S modulators used on Chinasat-9 have been provided by Newtec and are part of our Azimuth product family.

The Arabic State Broadcasting Union (ASBU) is transforming the way TV and radio exchanges are being performed. With the implementation of Newtec’s MENOS technology (Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite) more than 23 broadcasters in the Arabic world have moved to a fully automated IP based TV and radio exchange system. Manual configuration of equipment and transmission links is finally history. MENOS has been designed to provide these broadcasters not only with the fastest and most cost-effective technologies to perform the media exchange, but also with a complete range of tools to facilitate the related coordination tasks and improve people collaboration across the network.

S2 is certainly making the difference when it comes to capacity and business profitability. Introduced in 2004 as a new standard to replace the older DVB-S standard, S2 is finding its way in the TV world and the data world. S2 is clearly one of the strongest technological developments that enables us to drastically reduce the required satellite bandwidth, and helps you improve your profitability. The efficiency and reliability of S2 is outperforming any alternative.

Thanks to DVB-S2 combined with advanced modulation capabilities such as Newtec’s unique Equalink™ predistortion technology, several satellite service providers have been able to implement links up to 155Mbps in one single transponder.

Also, Russian satellite operators, RSCC and Gascom, have demonstrated in 2008 performance and bandwidth efficiency set to rival that of even the most advanced international satellites. Gascom saw a performance and bandwidth efficiency increase of 42 percent, with no performance degradation on a crowded transponder. RSCC tests on full saturated transponder even achieved bandwidth efficiency increase of up to 58.7 percent.

Our customers like the technological capabilities and reliability of our professional equipment. They also are very positive about the quality of our customer service. There was one issue however: the vast array of features and options made it sometimes difficult to understand our complex product offering. With a complete redefinition of our professional equipment series, we have introduced an important simplification of our product offering that allows our customers to easily select and order the right product for the right application.

Newtec’s technology leadership in our satellite communications industry has been confirmed by several prestigious technology awards...
  • Technological most innovative company in Belgium with Sat3Play
  • Product of the year CSI Cable & Satellite Industry award (at IBC 08) for our Elevation PEP box terminal “EL810
  • Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award with Sat3Play

Our fiscal year 2008 was, again, a year of unprecedented growth. Revenues were up to 45 million euros showing a 25 percent increase compared to 2007, and a doubling compared to 2005. Our number of team members around the world reached to about 300, an 80percent increase compared to 2005. This makes us the European market leader when it comes to ground segment technology.

Newtec’s 2008 new products include...

Adaptive IP Networks
Newtec recently expanded its Elevation product family with new modulation products and IP appliances turning Elevation into a true native satellite IP product line which seamlessly integrates with the existing terrestrial IP networks. The Elevation family now includes IP satellite modulators, demodulators and modems as well as a wide range of satellite IP appliances providing state-of-the-art traffic enhancement, compression and protection capabilities for the IP services.

The Newtec Elevation family offers an exhaustive implementation of the DVB-S2 standard, including the most efficient features such as Multistream, VCM, and a fully integrated ACM solution called FlexACM. FlexACM enables the implementation of ACM in ‘Point-to-Point’ or ‘Point-to-Multipoint’ links in a very efficient way for IP trunking and IP backbones, doubling the available throughput and assuring 100percent link availability.

Distortion compensation in the uplink
The Unique Equalink™ equalizer, available as a software option on all Newtec modulators, compensates for the linear and non-linear distortions introduced by the transmission channel and the power amplifiers, using off-line calculated correction coefficients stored as config files in the modulator. Equalink™ provides an additional link margin improvement of up to 2dB, truly unleashing the full efficiency of higher modulation schemes such as 16APSK or 32APSK. The integrated Noise & Distortion Estimator (NoDE) software tool was developed in order to provide an accurate reading of the noise margin and the amount of non-linear distortion on the received satellite signal on all professional Newtec demodulation equipment.

The NoDE tool enbales easy determination and, in a very short time, the optimum operating point of the transponder especially when higher-order modulation schemes such as 16APSK or 32APSK are used. Before the NoDE tool was available, complex measurements tools and time consuming transmission tests were necessary to find this optimum point of operation. So complex, in fact, that most transmissions were not optimized but were operated with unnecessary power margin to stay away from the saturation point. This resulted in wasted satellite capacity, which can be, in turn, translated into wasted money.

High speed SDH/SONET backbones
Two new additions have been made to the Azimuth product family. The AZ128 Modulator and the AZ928 Demodulator enable satellite links capable of supporting traffic of 155.52Mbit/s. The units interconnect with a SDH/SONET network, via a STM-1 or OC3 interface, offering exceptional bandwidth efficiency and providing an ideal solution to support re-routed traffic following cable failure.

Based on the DVB-S2 modulation standard, the new products can be operated on a 54MHz transponder. This can be further improved by up to 2dB when the built in linear and non-linear pre-distortion solution, Equalink™, is activated. The AZ128 and AZ928 units are also designed to improve services in regions with limited telecommunications infrastructure, allowing the connection to the Internet backbone, or to an international exchange switch.

Primary television distribution
For the Primary distribution of mobile and/or terrestrial television over satellite, Newtec created the HZ914, a state-of the-art DVB-S2 satellite demodulator containing up to 4 ASI outputs and a virtually unlimited number of IP output streams on a GigaBit Ethernet port. Operating in full compliance with the DVB-S2 standard, the HZ914 is capable of demodulating multiple MPEG transport streams in Multistream and/or VCM mode. Multistream is a strong advantage of the DVB-S2 standard that allows users to aggregate a number of independent transport streams or IP streams into one satellite carrier in a fully transparent manner, maintaining the integrity of the original content. To squeeze the most out of the satellite link, Multistream allows saturating the transponder when working with multiple input transport streams, reducing the Operation cost. VCM (Variable Coding and Modulation) enables each of these streams to be modulated with its own parameters. Once received by the HZ914, the transport streams are separated again based on their DVB-S2 Input Stream Identifier (ISI).

2009: The recent commercial launch of our Elevation FlexACM product is creating new business opportunities for our teleport customers around the world. By at least doubling the available throughput on existing transmission equipment, and more importantly, also by providing an up to now never achieved 100percent link availability, this new technology is key for improving the business case of many customers. The optional integration of our powerful Tellinet IP shaping and acceleration capabilities, provides a total solution for implementing IP links in point-to-point or point-to-multi point environments. It will help those satellite users to access more satellite transmission capacity, provide an unprecedented quality of service, and improve their company profitability.

The implementation of higher return speeds through a new modulation and coding scheme in our broadband IP access Sat3Play product line, will enable our customers to extend their offering from consumer applications to professional applications as well.

The transition towards the tapeless news production environment is changing the SNG video world. Satellite contribution links are migrating towards IP and need an easy to implement bidirectional link. Newtec’s Azimuth products are doing the job.

The financial crisis in 2008 will have important consequences for our economies in 2009. Some customer projects are being delayed, others might be cancelled. The number of TV channels and the IP traffic worldwide will however continue to grow. Digital terrestrial TV and Mobile TV are expected to grow as well. Ku and C-band satellite capacity scarcity and the quest for profitable growth of the satellite service providers will further fuel the demand for the implementation of new more efficient and powerful ground segment technologies. I am therefore convinced that 2009 will be another year of exciting growth for Newtec.

About the company
Newtec Cy was founded in 1985 by two engineers with a vision — Dirk Breynaert and Jean-Marie Maes, which produced a satcom pioneering company with more than 280 employees in five continents. Our goals are to provide leading edge products, to promote personal employee growth, proactive professionalism and respect, as well as to maintain financial profitability. We focus on developing products and solutions to our customers that will help them realizing their business objectives. The Professional Equipment business line offers off -the-shelf equipment for broadcasters, network operators and service providers. Newtec’s Broadband Systems offer high-speed 2-way satellite connectivity to arge numbers of remote sites. They consist of a scalable hub infrastructure for the network operator and cost-effective, fully integrated terminals for the users. Tellitec, Newtec’s family of Professional Telecom Software,is designed to optimize data communication via satellite, cable and wireless networks.