ST Engineering iDirect Achieves World’s First Live MF-TDMA Demo on Telesat LEO Satellite

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Breakthrough over-the-air testing validates large-scale, high-quality, low-latency LEO satellite connectivity, enabling a wide range of use cases utilizing point-to-multipoint systems.

Telesat Phase 1 LEO Satellite

Telesat Phase 1 LEO Satellite

"They demonstrated the powerful advantages that MF-TDMA brings to LEO networks, a capability that can provide increased flexibility and higher capacity for our customers while allowing us to support a greater number of end users on each LEO satellite.” - Erwin Hudson, Telesat’s Vice President of LEO

ST Engineering iDirect announced the successful completion of the first Over-the-Air (OTA) testing of iDirect’s Multi-Frequency Time Division Multiple Access (MF-TDMA) return link on the Telesat Phase-1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. The milestone achievement demonstrated dynamic sharing of bandwidth among multiple terminals within a LEO constellation, a capability that extends the capacity and flexibility of Telesat’s multi-beam beam hopping architecture, and opens up a wide range of use cases for Telesat’s LEO customers in the commercial, government, and defense markets for land, land-mobile, aeronautical, maritime, and other applications.

The testing was conducted at Telesat’s Allan Park facility and featured ST Engineering iDirect’s VSAT platform networked across multiple satellite modems. The iDirect platform was able to compensate fully for the LEO satellite link dynamics, including time, frequency, signal variation and Doppler effects. Short guard times (the time intervals required between radio bursts to prevent self-interference) were achieved, comparable in length to guard times used on GEO satellite links, without compromising capacity or spectral efficiency.

The ability to leverage MF-TDMA to efficiently share bandwidth on satellite ground-to-space links improves the capacity, performance and affordability of broadband services delivered over LEO satellite constellations.

To put the link to the test, the team conducted a video conference with engineers at Allan Park and achieved seamless connectivity, low jitter and low packet loss, resulting in a high Quality of Experience (QoE) that exceeded the level typically achieved over GEO satellite networks.

“This is a significant success for the ST Engineering iDirect and Telesat teams,” said Bart Van Poucke, Vice President of Product Management at ST Engineering iDirect. “We have achieved the benefits of MF-TDMA efficiency whilst unlocking the low latency offered by LEO satellites. This demonstration confirms the wide addressable market for LEO and particularly for applications that require mission-critical communications. We are proud to have been part of these tests and thank Telesat for the opportunity.”

“Satellite service providers are eager to take advantage of Telesat LEO’s affordable, low latency, high-speed connectivity to deliver secure Internet, VPN, video conferencing and cloud applications to their customers,” stated Erwin Hudson, Telesat’s Vice President of LEO. “I congratulate the ST Engineering iDirect engineering team on their successful testing campaign. They demonstrated the powerful advantages that MF-TDMA brings to LEO networks, a capability that can provide increased flexibility and higher capacity for our customers while allowing us to support a greater number of end users on each LEO satellite.”

ST Engineering North America is the U.S. headquarters of ST Engineering, a global technology, defense and engineering group specializing in the aerospace, electronics, land systems, and marine sectors. Based in Alexandria, VA, it has major operations across 17 cities in 13 states and employs about 5,500 people providing innovative products and solutions to commercial and government customers across diverse market segments.

ST Engineering iDirect, a subsidiary of ST Engineering North America, is a global leader in satellite communications (satcom) providing technology and solutions that enable its customers to expand their business, differentiate their services and optimize their satcom networks. Through the merger with Newtec, a recognized industry pioneer, the combined business unites over 35 years of innovation focused on solving satellite’s most critical economic and technology challenges and expands a shared commitment to shaping the future of how the world connects. The product portfolio, branded under the names iDirect and Newtec, represents the highest standards in performance, efficiency and reliability, making it possible for its customers to deliver the best satcom connectivity experience anywhere in the world. ST Engineering iDirect is the world’s largest TDMA enterprise VSAT manufacturer and is the leader in key industries including broadcast, mobility and military/government. In 2007, iDirect Government was formed to better serve the U.S. government and defense communities. For more information on ST Engineering iDirect platforms please visit http://www.idirect.net.

Media Contacts:

Julie Bettinger
Vice President, Corporate Marketing,
ST Engineering iDirect,
Phone: +1 703 648 8155
Email: jbettinger@idirect.net

Guy Shields
Director, Corporate Communications
ST Engineering, North America
Phone: +1 703 739 2610
Email: guy.shields@stengg.us

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