[SatNews] In response to the growing demand for mobile broadband solutions, the international satellite communications sector has launched an initiative that provides “SATCOM On The Move” (SOTM) Earth station type-approvals through a mutual recognition test framework.
Major global and regional satellite operators have recently begun to rely upon the consensus-based service, which was announced today by GVF, the global non-profit association of the satellite communications industry, during Informa Telecoms & Media’s inaugural VSAT Mobility 2013 conference at the Méridien Piccadilly Hotel.
Due to the dynamic features of SOTM terminals, which are increasingly being used to provide broadband connectivity onboard planes, vessels, trains, and vehicles, the testing procedures encourage effective terminal design and production techniques. Successful completion of the process results in issuance of a type approval by either GVF or the satellite system operator, mutual recognition of the test data by other operators, and posting of the manufacturer’s terminal in the GVF Quality Products Catalog.
“This break-through represents more than two years of collaboration by leading satellite operators and earth station manufacturers through the GVF Mutual Recognition Arrangement Working Group (MRA-WG),” said David Hartshorn, Secretary General of GVF. “The industry and its appointed Working Group Chairmen, Colin Robinson and Fulvio Fresia, are to be commended for their commitment to a process that reduces cost and promotes quality.”
Global type-approvals, which have a major bearing on industry profitability and competitiveness, have gained in importance as demand for satellite-based systems and services have increased and volumes have risen. At the same time, satellite operators and manufacturers have increasingly begun seeking ways to streamline the type approvals procedure as a means of reducing costs.
The SOTM MRA test framework, referred to as “GVF-105,” defines a set of standard tests that an earth station manufacturer may perform in order to apply for type approval from either GVF, or one or more satellite operators. Use of the procedure provides the earth station operator with a complete set of measured, verified, and mutually recognizable test data. This helps reduce the time and cost required to bring new technology to the market, and provides credible measured performance data for use in developing link budgets, thereby advancing the competitiveness of satellite communications services.
A key aspect of the procedure is the approval by the GVF membership of "Test Entities." Authorized Test Entities (ATE's) are those individuals or organizations that the members believe are 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 re-testing for the same data. Under the GVF procedure and GVF Board decisions, only those members of the GVF who are satellite operators may vote on approving Test Entities, and the vote must be unanimous.
Parties interested in participating in the GVF testing program, and the GVF Mutual Recognition Arrangement, may download the documentation from http://www.gvf.org/quality products. To speak with a representative of GVF, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.