Web-Sat DVB-S2 Upgrade

Status date

Web-Sat Ltd. currently operates a low-cost commercial 2-way satellite Internet service utilising DVB-S technology for the broadcast link. Two separate services are operated. These are the Europe/Middle East Service on Express-AM1 and the other is the African Service, on PAS1R.

In order to make the service offer more efficient, Web-Sat has recently embarked on an ambitious project to upgrade Web-Sat to the DVB-S2 standard for the broadcast link and to utilise the system advantages of DVB-S2 to improve the commercial position of Web-Sat in the marketplace. Simulations based on an analysis of existing customer patterns and the impact of upgrading to DVB-S2 show that a significant decrease in pricing is possible while still ensuring the same quality of service to customers through such an up-grade.

Specifically the project team focuses on the following activities:

  • Development of a 3G transmit card to support improved data transmission rate,

  • Development of a DVB-S2 network management sub-system,

  • Integration of existing services with the ones developed under the scope of this project.

Migrating to the DVB-S2 standard allows more efficient use of satellite bandwidth and as a consequence significantly improves the commercial position of Web-Sat in the marketplace.

The upgraded system offers the end-customer either better throughput for the same price or the same throughput but at a cheaper price.

The upgrade features a migration from the current DVB-S based service to a fully compliant DVB-S2 service. Existing software and hardware will be either adapted or completely redesigned to support DVB-S2. This will allow many more options for occupied bandwidth and data transmission rate.

The work to up-grade Web-Sat to S2 is being carried out by Web-Sat engineers under the project leadership of Doug Armstrong.

The project to up-grade Web-sat to S2 is estimated to take about 12 months and has three phases:

  • Specification phase: June 06

  • Development phase: July 06 until February 07

  • Pilot Phase: March 07 - May 07
The fully operational commercial S2 service will be available from June 2007 onwards.
Current status

The Web-Sat DVB S2 development project has now been concluded successfully. Begun in June 2006, this project proceeded relatively well on schedule and included extensive specification, development, testing and piloting phases. Testing and piloting with the service have been on-going since July 2007 and were completed at the end of February 2008.

As a result of this development project, the forward link has been upgraded to the DVB-S2 standard, leading to an immediate increase in capacity and the potential for future increases using the ACM (Advanced Code Modulation) option. Suitable DVB-S2 data receive cards have been sourced and satellite trials performed successfully to date using 8PSK modulation.

The return link has also been upgraded with the development of a new transmit card. The new transmit card employs a digital signal processor (DSP) and provides greater flexibility in terms of the supported modulation schemes (BPSK, QPSK, 8PSK, etc.). It has been designed so that software/firmware upgrades can be easily applied when new features are required.

The return link is a proprietary solution closely related to the DVB-RCS standard. The system can be considered to be DVB-RCS ready in that full DVB-RCS compatibility is achievable with a system software upgrade.
One of the key advantages of the development is that the new transmit card’s firmware can be upgraded remotely in a matter of seconds to add new features such as SCPC (single carrier per channel) mode.

These developments have been integrated into the overall service chain to include all the necessary software services necessary to operate a full end-to-end service.
The system performed well in the piloting and testing phases and while some final adjustments and refinements are currently underway, marketing and promotion of the operational service can now commence in earnest.

Further information related to both technical questions and pricing information can be addressed to Doug Armstrong, Web-Sat Ltd., Dublin.