European Space Agency

A giant step towards satellite interference mitigation with SkyMON

SkyMON satellite monitoring and geolocation is providing a valuable service for the commercial satellite industry and the security market. (Image credit: Atos)

Data-hungry media, like HDTV and mobile services, have made the use of satellites and their broadcasting capabilities crucial for global communications. But in order to offer these services there is a growing number of satellites required, crowding the geostationary arc. This then increases the risk of interference. Atos, a multinational IT consulting company based in Bezons, France have sought to address this with ARTES support, introducing a powerful new VSAT Monitoring and Geolocation product.

VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) technology is an affordable, effective alternative to terrestrial communication for remote internet anywhere in the world. But satellite interference – often caused by poorly installed VSAT stations – negatively affects data transmissions and remains a serious issue. Intentional interference may also be a tool in the hands of criminals and terrorists hindering modern satellite capabilities, so strategic monitoring is highly desirable.

Under the ARTES Competitive & Growth programme, Atos have brought a powerful new product to market. The VSAT Monitoring and Geolocation product is an addition to the SkyMon product suite, which is already enjoying commercial success as a comprehensive toolset.

SkyMon VSAT allows satellite operators to monitor, identify and resolve satellite interferences originating from VSAT systems, normally a notoriously complex and time-consuming task. It classifies the VSAT network, then monitors and identifies interference for each active terminal. After the identification of a given terminal causing interference, SkyMon ILS can be used to determine its geographical position on a map.

SkyMon VSAT combats interferences originating from VSAT networks, with two products that are fully integrated in the existing SkyMon product range (Image credit: Atos)

“This product is a significant tool for managing satellite interference issues. With SkyMON we can identify and manage interference with one system,” says Georgios Ziaragkas, Technical Officer at ESA. “Overcoming the risk of a reduced success rate because of the use of different proprietary VSAT technologies was a big challenge which jointly we successfully tackled,’’ he adds.

The key challenge of the project was identifying the VSAT terminals without actually interacting with the VSAT hub. This was done by only using information from the VSAT networks received free over the air. Quick action could then be taken to restore signal quality.

“With the SkyMon product suite, you can take quick action to restore signal quality to the levels your customers have come to expect from you, saving both time and money and strengthening your reputation,” says Erwin Greilinger, ATOS.

Published 30 September 2020
Last updated at 02 October 2020 - 13:40