On May 3 and 4, Telenor Satellite is going to present a workshop focusing on satellite interference with the Satellite Interference Reduction Group (iRG) in Oslo, Norway—as a precursor to that event, we present an interview with Erik Otto Evenstad, the Senior Adviser, Spectrum Management, at Telenor Satellite's Headquarters.
This latest workshop will focus on technical resolutions to technical problems. The workshop will educate the audience about recent developments, as well as giving case study examples of interference resolution. This European workshop will follow on from the event held in Washington D.C. earlier this year and continue a number of important discussions relating to solving VSAT interference, the technical details behind Carrier ID, and manufacturer testing and implementation regulations, among other topics.
To download a copy of the agenda please click here.
How big a problem is satellite interference for Telenor?
Erik Otto Evenstad: Satellite interference (RFI) is normally not a problem for the DTH (Direct to Home) transponders operating in the Planned frequency bands. However, for transponders in the unplanned frequency bands used for Data Comm. with many customers transmitting to and receiving from our satellite fleet at land and sea throughout Europe and in the Middle East, interference incidents occur from time to time.
What processes and technologies do you currently have in place to tackle interference?
Erik Otto Evenstad: Customer satisfaction is Telenor Satellite’s target number one in the daily operation. We have therefore put much effort to educate our staff to handle interference problems and to follow up such incidents in close cooperation with our customers. It is crucial that staff handling the transmitting earth stations are well educated so that they can perform accurate line-ups by pointing the antenna towards the target satellite, adjust the polarization angle of the signal, adjust the power level, etc.
We have established an automatic monitoring RF system which is tracking power level and frequency stability on our 1 West satellite fleet and on external capacity at other orbital locations. The results are available as spectrum plots that helps identifying the time of the event occurrence, identify RFI type, determinate relatives, etc. Moreover, independent Rx DTH monitoring sites are located in Europa to measure the signal as it is seen from our customers. This means that we are able to go back in time to control the status and quality of our satellite links.
We also have transmit monitoring in main uplinks to keep strict control and regime. It is also very important that we can utilize geolocation technology to help us to find the source if we are not able to solve it by other means. In addition we spend a lot of time and effort in frequency coordination and capacity management to avoid interference from other satellites, services and carriers.
How does IRG help support your efforts to reduce satellite interference?
Erik Otto Evenstad: IRG is important since this organization has brought additional attention to interference as an increasing problem amongst users and operators in the satellite community, and especially in focusing on how it can be solved practically by motivating equipment suppliers to take steps to implement features into their products that could help us to find the interference source. As the utilization of the geostationary arc is becoming more intense, the orbital separation between neighboring satellites decrease at the same time as the number of ground terminals is increasing significantly resulting in increased number of interference incidents. A common understanding of the impact of RFI is therefore vital. IRG has established an arena for bringing industry and operators together to learn about new technologies and products, and to discuss the operational impacts of these. The result is that we could fight interference in a more intelligent and efficient way.
What is the biggest cause of interference for Telenor?
Erik Otto Evenstad: The biggest cause of interference as we see it is power levels exceeding nominal levels, malfunctioning equipment, RFI caused by human mistakes, mispointed antennas, intentionally made interference, piracy, etc.
Which of IRG’s initiatives are the most helpful to reducing interference in your view?
Erik Otto Evenstad: By bringing people together and working with strong focus on interference as a phenomenon that we seriously need to take into account in the daily operation.
What other initiatives would you like to see IRG working on?
Erik Otto Evenstad: We would like to see IRG continue motivate the industry, the authorities and the operators to work together to benefit from enhancements in new technologies that could help fight interference. By encouraging the actors in the community to continue to cooperate we can achieve solutions to the best for all. Moreover, operators, users and others should have access to an “education arena” (a web site) where interference scenarios around the globe are illustrated and described, and where it is explained how those particular incidents were solved.
What made you host the IRG Workshop at Telenor HQ?
Erik Otto Evenstad: Telenor Satellite decided to host the Workshop as a part of our mission to provide our customers with as high availability in the satellite links as possible. The workshops are important arenas to acquire insight into technical solutions that are most resistant to noise from interference sources, and if interference is experienced in the daily operation, how it can be solved. As satellite operators we all need to face the reality of interference as a phenomenon, and be proactive vis-à-vis our customers and taking necessary steps to avoid it.
Which topics are you most looking forward to being discussed?
Erik Otto Evenstad: The use of geolocation is much useful and absolutely crucial to find a source in a quick way. There are many existing sites with equipment for geolocation installed around the world. Although we are competing operators we can benefit from a cooperation where “finding the source” using existing equipment is the ultimate goal. If Telenor Satellite can help in assisting another satellite operator with a particular interference incident, Telenor Satellite can be assisted from this operator at another incident. It is a win-win situation. Other issues I’m looking forward to is to learn about how interference from moving radio sources like a vessel, a car, a plane, etc. can be detected efficiently in a timely manner.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Erik Otto Evenstad: Telenor would welcome all interested parties to participate at the workshop. Coming to beautiful Oslo in May is an experience that you should not miss.