[Satnews] The satellite industry is improving the way that terminal specifications, testing, and approvals are applied.
The breakthroughs, which reduce ‘time to market’ with streamlined product-quality validation, are being made through contracts awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA) to Fraunhofer IIS, a Germany-based GVF Member that has developed test facilities for the programme, and Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the global association of the satellite communications industry.
The initiative is focused on the mobile Ku- and Ka-band VSAT market for three environments: land, maritime and aeronautical. Enhanced test procedures have now been developed by Fraunhofer IIS that incorporate standard motion profiles for testing in the GVF 105.Procedures for land and maritime terminal testing have been completed and agreed on in the GVF MRA working group. Future work aims at extending GVF 105 to include aeronautical and train system test specifications.
In parallel, GVF and Fraunhofer IIS have made additional progress in two critical areas related to the ESA ‘Satcom on the Move’ project:
Terminal Testing Launch
â€‹“Employing the land mobile profiles developed through the ESA project, Fraunhofer IIS has applied the test procedure and is pleased to confirm that it not only is a major improvement, but that it can be scaled globally”, said Markus Landmann, Fraunhofer’s Project Director. “As an Authorized Test Entity of GVF, my experience has affirmed that the new method can be applied for any satellite operator and for any terminal manufacturer.”
In conducting the inaugural test, Fraunhofer IIS applied the GVF Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), which defines the standard procedures that an antenna or earth station manufacturer must perform in order to apply for Type Approval from satellite operators. Use of the procedure not only improves the quality and completeness of test data, but helps reduce the time and cost required to bring new ground-segment technology to the market, thus advancing the competitiveness of satellite communications.
Authorized Test Entities are those individuals or organizations that the satellite operator members of the GVF have recognized as being competent, impartial, and experienced enough to certify that test data taken by a manufacturer may be used with confidence by any satellite operator, without requiring any re-testing. Parties interested in participating in the GVF Mutual Recognition Arrangement Procedure for Type Approvals, may download further information from http://www.gvf.org/approvals/gvf-mra-documentation.html.
A value-chain analysis conducted for the ESA project has revealed a need for rationalization of the way that terminal specifications are conveyed to buyers. “The feedback we have received from industry is consistent with what we have been told by end users,” said Colin Robinson, GVF’s Project Director and Chairman of the GVF MRA Working Group, which is responsible for terminal type approvals. “There is a need to clarify specifications so that characterization of terminal performance is consistent from one manufacturer’s product to the next. We are addressing that requirement.”
GVF first learned of end-user interest in clarifying Satcom on the Move terminologies through outreach to InterManager, a maritime ship-owners’ group. A glossary of satellite communications terms was created and is now being used by InterManager’s members for “apples-to-apples” comparisons of SATCOM_On-The-Move (SOTM) product offerings. This type of engagement is now being extended to other user groups.
For example, on 16th February, GVF and its event partner EMP will host “Connectivity 2016: Air, Sea, Surface, and Rail: Evolving the ‘New’ New Verticals,” with the support of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). Sponsored by Inmarsat and Advantech Wireless, the event will feature a keynote presentation from Joe Leader, Chief Executive Officer, APEX, entitled 'Airline In-Flight Connectivity: The New Paradigm of Passenger Experience.'
“The ESA project has set the stage for dialogue-driven improvements in the way that land, maritime and aeronautical users leverage Satcom on the Move terminals,” said Martin Jarrold, GVF’s Chief of International Programs. “The international satellite communications industry will build on its support for end users through this product-quality initiative and GVF’s mutual-recognition testing and approvals framework.”