LodeStar

Objectives

Within the framework of a former ESA project AziSat, Newtec brought the product AZ111 on to the market as replacement for the AZ110 broadcast modulator. The new product was based on a new HW platform. Within this LodeStar project , Newtec will ehance its AZ111 product with a larger set of features so it can be used in more applications, including contribution, primary distribution (in addition to pure DTH) and generic applications. This move is done with the aim of providing unique value-added features to keep this modulator above competing products. The product is now referred to as M6100.

Such an offer however, only makes sense if the M6100 modulator is accompanied by a consistent set of accompanying products: A redundancy switching solution compliant with the modulator and its new features, A set of frequency converters that are at least on par with the latest features offered by the competition and that cover most of the applications the M6100 can address.

The following developments are to be performed within the scope of LodeStar:

  • An upgrade the AZ111 Broadcast Modulator R1.0 with a new set of features:
    • Redundancy support,
    • Increase robustness on inputs through the support of ProMPEG and by the ability to ingest and process jittery signals,
    • Ability to reduce the space between carriers through the Clean Channel Technology ™,
    • Synoptic GUI,
    • TS analyser on all inputs,
    • Encapsulation of IP streams in a TS,
    • Auto-equalink solution for automatic linear pre-distortion compensation,
    • Support of carrier ID for identification of the carrier.

    This evolution will be done through two subsequent releases: R1.1 and R1.2.
     

  • An adaptation of the existing AZ202 Universal Switching System so that it can perform redundancy switches with the new M6100 modulator. The major difference being the change in the communication protocol used between the AZ202 and the M6100 and in the way the M6100 configurations are managed.
     
  • The new development of:
    • A new Ku-band converter board,
    • A new IF-to-Extended L-band upconverter board for the M6100 product (as option),
    • A 30 dB variable gain stage at L-band for the AZ740 product.

Those new products will be inserted in the standard portfolio of Newtec.


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Challenges

The main challenges are to be found in the feature developments of M6100. These are related to the platform performance limitations to support all the proposed features (TS analyser, MPE encapsulator, etc.). Also in the dynamic aspects of introducing control loops to the whole system (Linear AutoEqualink, Robust TSoIP), and in the more general impact on the satellite spectral eco system (Clean Channel technology ™).

Benefits

The M6100 R1.2 will offer the broadcast operator the ultimate solution to making the IP transition with the introduction of Robust TSoIP and the TS analyser (which is also applicable on the ASI interface).

For non DTH applications it will improve spectral efficiency with the introduction of Clean Channel Technology ™ and the opportunistic IP insertion via MPE encapsulation. In the DTH market the Linear Autoequalink will insure good channel equalisation – even in the absence of a good receiver equaliser.

The whole broadcast community will clearly benefit from Carrier Identification with the Olympics 2012 as a first global showcase. High availability will be guaranteed by the AZ202 upgrade. And the frequency converters upgrade will further complete the Newtec portfolio towards a consistent product offering such that product selection for the customer becomes more straightforward.

Features

The transformation from AZ111 R1.0 into M6100 R1.1 and related products will be based on following key feature developments:

  • Robust TSoIP: Broadcasters need to receive multiplexes reliably from remote locations. More often they receive them from remotely located production factories. They do not control the transport stream they receive and then have to cope with it. As a consequence, they see the following issues:
    • They often receive external streams through IP networks. External IP networks can incur significant jitter on the TSoIP signal (up to 150 ms). The modulator will be able to cope with such jitter and eliminate it so that the Transport Stream sent over satellite has a very limited jitter.
    • IP streams received from remote house are more prone to errors and packet losses. The modulator shall be able to recover from those errors and possibly correct the most common ones to guarantee signal quality.
       
  • Spectral Purity and Equalink: Broadcasters want to limit intermodulation between carriers. The spectral purity of the modulator is a fundamental element in applications where several carriers are sitting next to each other (contribution or multiservice distribution applications). In that case, low side lobes are important to limit interferences and increase signal-on-noise ratio of adjacent carriers.
     
  • Redundancy: Broadcasters need high system availability through device redundancy. The AZ111 R1.0 cannot be offered in a redundant configuration. The AZ202 USS is not compatible with the AZ111 R1.0 SW framework. Newtec will upgrade the current solution to make it compliant.

Further on the roadmap, M6100 R1.2 and related products will be based on following key developments:

  • Transport Stream Analyser: Difficult to know if a signal problem is due to the device or to problems on the input signal: When the output of a demodulator is wrong, it is not always easy to determine if the problem comes from the source signal or from the modulator itself. This is especially true in case of jitter. This difficulty is solved by the development of a TS analyser embedded in the modulator.
     
  • Clean Channel Technology ™: Bandwidth is expensive and its cost shall be reduced: The satellite resource is expensive and shall be efficiently used. The DVB-S2 standard is a very efficient solution, but it is possible to extend it in order to increase its efficiency. Newtec will develop a solution, called Clean Channel Technology, that allows carriers to be spaced closer than the recommended 20%.

  • Carrier ID: Satellite interference is an issue. A WBU-ISOG working group proposed a solution where the broadcaster is identified by adding a descriptor in the NIT of a transport stream. Newtec will implement this Carrier ID insertion in its modulator.
     
  • MPE encapsulator: Broadcasters often want to include IP data in a transport stream either to send commands to a set-top box in DTH applications, or to use as an IP signalling channel in a contribution application. Newtec will thus implement an MPE encapsulator that embeds IP traffic in a DVB-compliant way into a TS.

  • Linear Auto Equalink: Distortions introduced by the satellite link are affecting performances. Newtec modulator includes an equalizer to compensate for the signal distortions during the transmission. Such an equalizer shall be manually configured by entering the right parameters in the modem. Getting the right value for those parameters is an issue. With this feature, Newtec intends to develop a solution where such parameters are evaluated automatically and inserted in the modulator. This is called Linear AutoEqualink.

Plan

Some developments are quite self contained and are treated in separate development tracks: A first track contains the feature developments on the M6100 product, which is split in 2 releases. In the first release the basic functionality is developed and validated (Spectral Purity, robust TSoIP) which are fundaments for the second phase (Clean Channel technology ™ and TS analyser). Both phases are completed with other feature developments such that the R1.1 also has market value. Timing wise, R1.1 becomes available in March 2012 while R1.2 is targeted to become available in December 2012 (or earlier if possible).

The AZ202 redundancy switch upgrade development is planned in a second parallel track. Compliancy of AZ202 needs to be validated on the M6100 R1.1.

A third parallel track contains the development of the new RF equipment, which is targeted to become available at the end of 2012.

Current status

All products are released and commercially available.

 

Contacts

Status date

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 09:49