High Throughput Satellites SatixFy Features

High Throughput Satellites (HTS) [ Wikipedia ] typically operate with small beam spot area designated in four color frequency scheme. Spectrum and power is for the most part equally divided between the beams. This allows for frequency sharing essentially increasing throughput twenty times or more. HTS is steadily changing the SATCOM market the last decade by increasing capacity at a fast rate. With spot beam operational experience proven, the next step is beam hopping. This time the technology upgrade requires more terminal development effort. Here is where SatixFy is offering feature development products.

Beam Hopping increases satellite capacity in comparison to legacy satellites (FSS satellites) and standard HTS satellites. Throughput of greater than 100 Gbps for HTS satellites is an industry rule of thumb. Currently under development are Ultra High Throughput Satellites (UHTS) which will utilize beam hopping. SatixFy beam hopping capability is now demonstrating in an emulator (see press release and TechTime article).

UHTS – Ultra High Throughput Satellite features

  • Each beam covers a small region
  • Many more GWs (Gateways) are used
  • Flexibility and fill factor is more challenging
  • Mobility use in maritime and airborn is a challenge and opportunity
  • Whole satellite can operate in a single frequency
  • Less TWTAs in satellite
  • Less unmet capacity: capacity is shifted ‘on demand’
  • Less Gateways: defined by peak capacity, not theoretical capacity of all beams

Implementation and Standards

Beam hopping technology phase is emerging as an innovative industry initiative. Both academic research and industry development are steadily building a foundation for new products. The implementation and standardization are now coalescing into a solid deliverable technology. Here is where SatixFy is developing capability to help VSAT modem developers implement real product features. SatixFy developed signal processing technology offers VLSNR (Very Low SNR) and signal processing capability.

Developing a new satellite communication standard and deploying in the field is a daunting task. Yet the industry is developing beam hopping technology to increase capacity and enhance efficiency. The goal of significantly reducing cost-per-bit while maintaining the same amount of allocated orbital spectrum is a clear target. This makes beam hopping one of the solutions. Some of the technical highlights of beam hopping today are:

  • DVB-S2X defines super-frame with different formats (annex E) (see DVB standard)
  • Constant length to facilitate synchronized and predictable operation
  • Possibility to bundle S2/S2X regular frames for different users on the same beam
  • Additional pilots to enable sync. As well as channel estimation
  • Dummy symbols for switching time
  • Beam Hopping impairment = ~0.1dB
  • Beam Hopping overhead <0.1%

Beam Hopping Emulator

SatixFy’s beam hopping emulator is a complete four channel test bed. The emulator is based on its advanced SX-3000 SDR (Software Defined Radio) ASIC devices using the S-IDU circuit boards. The Emulator enables real time testing of Beam Hopping scenarios.

The emulator is a tool for any satellite operator, payload manufacturer and ground equipment manufacturer who are developing a beam hopping product. It is also a helpful tool in supporting customer demonstration of beam hopping system advantages, such as:

  • Service flexibility
  • Payload cost reduction
  • Total capacity increase
  • Unmet capacity reduction

The emulator first release enables validation and demonstration of the forward link Layer 1 (PHY) most critical Beam Hopping elements:

  • DVB-S2X super-frame format type 4 structure as a physical layer enabler for Beam Hopping.
  • Demonstration of different Beam Hopping parameters such as:
    • Hopping period
    • Dwell time
    • Switching time
    • Guard time
  • Decoupling of the link between the GW and the Satellite from the link between the satellite and the users thus decreasing the number of GWs and increasing the delivered capacity to the users.

For more information and a demonstration, please contact SatixFy


Please fill the form below for the Beam Hopping brochure (PDF)

Beam Hopping Timing Operation

Beam Hopping operation scenarios apply to data, broadcast and and mobility (maritime and airborne). SatixFy’s emulator currently works with time multiplexing giving proportionate time to each of four channels.

Agile Channel Timing Scenario

High Throughput Satellites are typically drawn in four color frequency scheme (one color per beam). Beam hopping essentially gives proportionate amount of transmission time to a different beam. Each beam is pointed at a different geographic ground spot. Data is transmitted from one gateway to a VSAT receiver in a different region through another beam spot. The gateways determine which beam will take the proportionate time to transmit to the receiving destination. Beam hopping essentially multiplexes time to give each source and destination point the proportionate capacity needed. SatixFy’s example show four channels. In reality satellites and gateways will be able to use many beams and many gateways. Algorithms to optimize beam hopping will have to take into account many parameters besides changing demand and beam bandwidth capacity.

Beam hopping initially also simplifies beam power and frequency allocation (control). Initially beam hopping will focus on allocation of throughput in the time domain. Beam hopping can also use power and frequency domains. Adding more controlled parameters will improve the allocation of resources further and will utilize available throughput optimally.

Academic and Industry Studies

Beam hopping as the next satellite communication technology is a hot research topic. Academic, government and commercial researchers are working on simulation (estimation) and algorithm development. One prominent research and simulation project, conducted by Astrium with the support of ESA (see study description). Although the study results have not shaken the satellite world with stellar results, they highlight the benefits in remote rural areas where satellite communication is a critical service.