Satcom gibberish or industry standard?

To officially become a rocket scientist, you have to pass a single, very simple test — you need to understand what "broadband satellite terminals compliant with the DVB-S2/IPoS air interface standard, including the Adaptive Coding Modulation (ACM) feature" are.

Just kidding, but it is complicated. Today, Hughes Network Systems announced the that it has shipped more than 300,000 of the devices. What makes these broadband satellite terminals different? Let’s break it down:

IPoS specifies a “Satellite Independent Service Access Point” (SI-SAP), which creates a well defined interface between the satellite-dependent functions and the application layers, thereby enabling an open-service delivery platform. Its first version was approved by the world’s major standards organizations in 2005: the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in North America, and ETSI and ITU (International Telecommunications Union) in Europe.

In December 2006, ETSI further approved the Internet Protocol over Satellite.v2 (IPoS.v2) air interface standard, which incorporates the DVB-S2 industry standard including ACM (Adaptive Coding and Modulation). Link performance is continually optimized even during high rain conditions by adjusting error-correcting codes and modulation dynamically, based on signal quality feedback from remote terminals.

With the addition of DVB-S2 including the ACM feature, IPoS-compliant networks yield higher throughputs and up to 50 % more efficient bandwidth utilization over the DVB-S specification.The unique Hughes implementation of the ACM feature means the combination of coding and modulation of the outbound channel can be configured for each remote terminal, so that the Hughes system is able to transmit data at the optimum efficiency for each terminal. This ability to custom design the outbound link per terminal enables an operator typically to realize an additional 50 percent throughput over the DVB-S specification.

One prominent deployment worth mentioning is Kuwait-based, Gulfsat, which runs a large Middle-East communications network:

Mustafa Murad, chief operating officer at Gulfsat, said, “We are very pleased to be using the Hughes broadband satellite platform to provide our new, two-way residential Internet service and to have the first DVB-S2 NOC serving the residential market in the Gulf region.” Mr. Murad added , “One of the key factors in selecting Hughes was their proven experience with over 170,000 DVB-S2/ACM capable terminals shipped worldwide as of February 2007. The Hugh es implementation of DVB-S2 allows us to provide a very efficient and cost-effective service to our customers with improved satellite Internet browsing and download performance at a level that traditional landline service cannot match.”

Gulfsat has one of the largest satellite antenna farms in the region, reaching ten satellites, in total.