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CASE STUDY - The COTS Benefit — Intorel’s Visionic
INTOREL has integrated many M&C systems for SES-ASTRA, one of the world’s largest satellite groups. As the SES’s network of satellites grows, INTOREL provides the monitoring and control systems for their installations that are used for transmitting large amounts of data or multimedia from point-to-point or among multiple sites. It is crucial for the satellite operator, such as SES-ASTRA, to provide reliable service to its corporate clients, media organizations, enterprises and ISPs.

Satellite’s unique ability to transmit the same signal to all points within a geographic area makes it ideal for broadcasting television and radio signals, and for multicasting data for applications as diverse as corporate networks, government missions, and Internet surfing. In order to provide secure, reliable service, SES is constantly building high quality transmission systems by working closely with its suppliers.

The particular attention is given to the monitoring and control systems. SES-ASTRA’s RFP called for a new earth station that will be used to transmit data and to assure TTC functionality needed for the operations. The BTZ28 system contains three up/downlink stations.

The customer expressed the preference to use proven COTS-based products to enhance reliability, to cut costs and to integrate into one platform a considerable number of heterogeneous satellite and broadcasting devices.

INTOREL was selected as a prime contractor to provide complete installation of the new monitoring and control system in Betzdorf. The system was implemented in Visionic – universal monitoring and control (M&C) software that is installed on over 250 systems all over the world and it has a proven record of reliability. Visionic enables direct or remote management of the entire network of satellite and broadcasting devices – whatever the size and complexity. Visionic includes extensive device driver library covering all major manufactures and this fact considerably saves time and money, as there is no need for the additional development.

The Visionic M&C system was selected as the main software for all three stations. Using Visionic, a fully-featured graphical M&C system was produced that provides complex auto-backup functions. Indeed, the reliability of Visionic solutions is such that SES-ASTRA decided to run the automatic backup process and not use specialized (hardware) redundancy controllers.

Visionic system also automatically produced hardware documentation, setups for the servers, and remote GUI workstations and other information, greatly reducing the time and amount of work required per system.
The Visionic GUI has been drawn in house and customer made necessary changes and touch-ups during critical design review – long before installation. The installation process itself was quick and efficient and installed system implemented exact features that Customer required.

SES ASTRA was provided with easy-to use and preconfigured hardware, all integrated into 19’ rack space. The system uses Visionic software for the M&C functions.

Discrete Devices + RF Switches
Moxa ioLogik was selected for the general purpose analog and digital IO functions. This LAN-based system is capable of collecting all analog and digital signals and driving devices (such as RF switches) directly, without any special controllers. Another advantage of the ioLogik system is its possibility to easily expand capacity by adding new slots that could be used if the system has to be enlarged or otherwise modified. The Comtrol terminal servers are used to connect serial devices to the Ethernet line allowing full network capability to any device that has to be connected via RS-232/422/485. The COMTROL devices are also rack-mountable and provide easy mechanical interface for mounting.

Each station in the BTZ28 system was provided with the RF blanking electronics that can allow blanking of 12 amplifiers and 48 switches. RF blanking electronics greatly enhances the security of the system because it allows the amplifier to switch off whenever the RF switch is jammed or blocked.

The physical cabling has been executed by the third party under supervision of Visionic. Using the Visionic cabling wizard, the installation team prepared full procedure and documentation in support of the third party cabling integrator.

Cabling wizard is generated automatically while the system engineer draws the Visionic monitoring and control schematic. It contains all necessary information how to connect devices in the system, thus avoiding any intervention on site.

Using Visionic as a main development tool, all elements were prepared off-site. The installation of three sub-stations took much less time, due to the meticulous preparation.

BTZ28 was one of the biggest uplink projects in 2007 for SES-ASTRA and was successfully implemented; installation on site required three weeks. INTOREL provided the integration of the complete system and helped SES to reduce redundant efforts at different organizations, improve cost/benefit characteristics, and streamlined the system design, helping ensure that future monitoring and control requirements will be easier to integrate.

The installed platform enables SES ASTRA to expand its system when demanded. It gives the company infinite opportunities for further development and straightaway modernization. Intorel provided SES ASTRA with a cost efficient and reliable solution, to support the development and maintenance of integrated systems, meeting the company’s highest requirements.

INTOREL has provided support to the SES ASTRA systems for more than five years, assisting in overseeing the production, installation, testing, personnel training, logistic support, and the maintenance for numerous earth stations and uplink systems.