Americas Asia-Pacific EMEA



Why Fibre future proofs satellite ground station networks
By Esen Bayar, CTO
ETL Systems

As our products have been incorporated in to many satellite teleports worldwide, we at ETL Systems, have realised the increase in necessity for teleport operators to upgrade their ground stations inter-facility links (IFLs). The development of high throughput satellites which operate over Ku and Ka-band frequencies, and  requirements for increased bandwidth have played a major role in this development.

The transmission of RF signals from a remote satellite dish farm to broadcaster’s headends, uplink and downlink applications and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services, are traditionally handled by copper coaxial cables, but as teleports grow this option is no longer suitable. Copper coax cables have several shortcomings; they are bulky and have restricted bandwidth, with an increase in loss to the signal quality, which limits the distance they can transmit RF signals. Weather conditions also have an impact on signal continuity as coax cable is a great conductor for lightening. This adds to the risk of signal loss and expensive downtime.

Here at ETL Systems, we are in the middle of a ground up re-design of RF over fibre and have recently launched a new range of ultra-compact, high resilience RF over Fibre shelves called the StingRay series.

Transmitting signals over fibre eliminates all the shortcomings of coax cable, by delivering high quality RF signals across a long distance with minimal loss (0.4 dB per km). It also offers reliability with few problems with lightning strikes compared to copper. Designing fibre links in to teleport infrastructures also provides a cost saving compared to copper cable, it is smaller in size, and has lower operating, administration and maintenance costs.

The exponential growth in teleport size and bandwidth demand makes fibre the perfect solution as it has a much higher information carrying capacity, with wavelength division multiplexing to place many feeds on a single fibre. StingRay IFLs transmit and receive an entire L-band or broadband polarisation over single mode fibre from satellite antennas to reception equipment up to 10 km away.

We are seeing improvements in satellite downlink designs, where operators are improving their monitoring, redundancy and signal quality. With StingRay modules signal quality and RF performance is preserved; such as high isolation between modules and low IMD3, ensuring maximum efficiency in spectrum usage.

Unmanned teleports which are managed from a single control room can benefit from StingRay’s remote control and monitoring features, with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and a web browser interface available as standard.

Over the past 12 months we have launched solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications. The NEW outdoor enclosure (ODU), can withstand wide environmental conditions and is designed to be pole or wall mounted close to a remote antenna.

We offer a comprehensive range of compact chassis and fibre modules, which are inter-operable between chassis, with a variety of features such as dual modules for cost and space saving. Additional resilience with -20dB input signal monitor ports and redundancy configuration options. LNB powering for uplink chains and also modules which convert a 10MHz reference signal over fibre.

All of our StingRay units are designed for reliability in service with hot-swap fibre optic link modules and hot-swap dual redundant power supplies as standard.

As demands in the market change, such as the requirement for longer distance fibre transmissions, our RF over fibre range will continue to grow and we look forward to meeting the challenge of the industry’s RF needs.

This new RF distribution range strengthens ETL’s position as an established player in the RF distribution market and broadens our capability, making it easier for system integrators to exclusively choose ETL technology for RF distribution in all teleport areas.