A versatile next-generation satcom modem

At the recent AfricaCom Exhibition, held November 12 - 14 in Capetown, South Africa, ND Satcom, a subsidiary of Astrium, announced its fifth-generation satcom modem, the SKYWAN 5G. It is a bi-directional MF-TDMA and DVB unit that supports voice, video and data applications in the most bandwidth-efficient manner possible. The SKYWAN 5G was developed with the support of the European Space Agency´s ARTES 3-4 programme.

In comparison to its predecessors, the 5G offers even more flexible network architectures, permitting star, mesh, multi-star or hybrid topologies with Communications-on-the-move (COTM) support. Since only one type of hardware was the target, the device can be deployed for all roles in the network, simplifying logistics, certification processes, network configuration tasks, and maintenance. Geographical redundancy for the network controller, a key asset of previous SKYWANs, is still supported, increasing the reliability of the network.

A SKYWAN 5G network does not require a standard hub to  permit high-speed communication between remote network sites. With its meshed network topology support, connectivity can be established between any two stations in the network with a single satellite hop. This capability allows deployment of remote-to-remote applications, such as video conferencing/collaboration and voice communications, with minimal satellite bandwidth utilization and link delay.

A single rack unit in size, the SKYWAN 5G is the smallest hub device on the market that can also support outdoor equipment using its own power supply. The device can be either rack-mounted or used as a table-top device.  It can act either as a hub or master station, therefore adding flexibility in terms of its network role. The new modem supports speeds on LAN ports of up to 20 Mbps per TDMA carrier in receive and transmit direction, with 16APSK to ensure ever-increasing demands for network throughput can efficiently be met.
An additional benefit, each unit contains a DVB-S2 receiver, an extended and integrated module which provides up to 55 Mbps throughput on the LAN port. (The DVB-S2 receiver is the outcome of another ARTES project in which a DVB-S2 receiver for a low-cost triple-play terminal was developed by the Swedish company Forsway.) With its four independently configurable gigabit Ethernet Ports and support for the routing protocols OSPF and BGP, the unit is designed to work as an integrated network device with multi-customer support. It is currently undergoing customer tests and should be commercially available in the second quarter of 2014.
“SKYWAN 5G unlocks new business opportunities with improved total cost of ownership for service providers that need to leverage multiple hub or hubless network configurations— something that is not easily achieved by other vendor platforms” said Petra Visuri, Head of Product Management and Marketing at ND SatCom, Astrium Services.
“This product is a good example of how ESA can assist companies in its member states in bringing new satcom technologies to the market” says ESA’s Roberto Donadio. “ND Satcom’s new modem is likely to allow the company to keep its strong position in the meshed TDMA market.”


Event Date

16 December 2013
Published 27 January 2014
Last updated at 27 January 2014 - 15:34