Broadband terminal technology provider, Isotropic Systems, has announced a new developmental phase of its collaboration with communications satellite operator, SES. The collaboration is working to produce scalable, cost-effective multi-beam Customer Edge Terminal (CET) antennas capable of unlocking access to the O3b mPower constellation of Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites for inflight connectivity.
The partners have moved on to the stage of reviewing, refining and testing key components of digital software-defined terminals, which will take place throughout 2020, with a view to optimising the tiered platform to meet the specific performance, cost, power, and connectivity requirements of user cases around the world. The development roadmap will culminate in a series of engineering evaluations of Isotropic Systems’ multi-beam antenna components, prior to the commercial launch of the CETs and the O3b mPOWER MEO system in 2021.
Many of the upcoming trials, the first of which will be underway during March, will focus on maximising the effectiveness of the circuits behind the optical beam-forming lens modules at the core of the adaptable multi-beam antenna. The lens module technology is designed to enable seamless switching between SES’s multi-orbit fleets, enabling widely accessible and tailored high-performance Ku- and Ka-band connectivity.
“The SES-Isotropic Systems partnership is driving the development of innovative multi-beam customer edge terminal antennas using digital beamforming that will light up new market opportunities for the tailored scalability and flexibility of our O3b mPower network and our unique multi-orbit MEO-GEO constellations,” said Stewart Sanders, SES’s EVP and O3b mPower programme lead. “Our shared vision is keenly focused on bringing game-changing, high-performance broadband to both highly sophisticated and mass markets across the globe, on land, at sea, and in the air.”
“The Isotropic Systems multi-beam antennas, featuring optical digital beam-forming lens technologies, provide the high-throughput ground infrastructure required to unlock a new wave of HTS constellations, including SES’s high-performance multi-constellation satellite networks across a wide range of markets,” added John Finney, founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems. “Our terminals are customisable to meet the performance, cost, and power requirements of countless applications – from the most complex government defence systems and mobile backhaul solutions capable of extending 5G, to next-gen connected experiences aboard commercial airliners, cruise ships, offshore rigs, and even small fishing boats at sea.”
SES and Isotropic Systems first announced their partnership in 2018 when SES contracted Isotropic Systems to develop high-throughput CET solutions for the O3b mPower system. The fully funded, next-gen and highly flexible MEO satellite-based data communications system is a scalable terabit-level constellation supporting thousands of dynamic beams, and expands SES’s first-generation O3b MEO system capabilities to deliver a higher level of customisation.
Isotropic Systems has also announced that it is licencing the patented components of its multi-beam antennas to aero and defence integrators to accelerate the design and deployment of next-generation terminals aboard commercial, business and government aircraft.