SATCOM as a Service = Simplified User Experience

19 December 2017

Steve Gizinski, Vice President, Special Programs, Inmarsat U.S. Government Business Unit

If you drove the same car for more than five years and you looked to replace it, you would assume that all of the new car’s upgrades – safety features, performance enhancements, electronics advancements, etc. – would be included at no extra cost to you. That the R&D innovations are simply part of the price of doing business, continuously improving the vehicle experience in the interest of competitive relevance.

For government users, satellite communications (SATCOM) acquisition can work very much in the same way – but only if you take full advantage of the innovation that the commercial industry has to offer. Worthy of special attention is the SATCOM as a Service model – end-to-end managed capability always updated with the latest technology and ready to use when needed.

Satellite terminals form part of the high performance and all-time assured quality provided by SATCOM as a Service. To guarantee this experience, at Inmarsat we require all of our terminal manufacturers to go through a rigorous design and acceptance test process to ensure the highest standards of quality and performance of its Global Xpress system.

Robust testing procedures

The Inmarsat type approval process follows the Global VSAT Forum’s Mutual Recognition of Performance Measurement Guidelines and Procedures for Satellite System Operator Type Approvals. It is analogous to the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) ARSTRAT terminal testing and certification process and includes the design, production and operation of its terminals.

Manufacturers undergo a standard series of design validation, verification and type approval steps to ensure terminals will operate flawlessly within the Inmarsat network architecture. This includes security and authentication mechanisms, terminal configuration and control, operating protocols, as well as the fulfilment of regulatory requirements.

Simplified user experience

And, unlike legacy fixed SATCOM operators that require significant design, engineering and time to integrate terminals, modems, satellites and commercial teleports into a user experience, our Global Xpress network utilizes a unified iDirect modem technology and compatible radio frequency (RF) components, which enable one-touch calibration for Inmarsat-type approved terminals and are as simple to use as a cell phone.

The network links the terminal’s unique ID with the services defined for the terminal and sets up all the parameters automatically. Land users, for instance, simply assemble the terminal, quickly position so it can acquire the satellite, and turn it on to be connected, no matter where in the world.

Our terminal type approval process removes the control version/configuration management and certification burden, and ensures that terminals operate efficiently and according to specifications. Furthermore, over-the-air updates are part of the managed service to allow continuous updates to the system and terminals without any additional intervention or cost to the user.

Reliable, consistent access

Wideband users will experience BGAN-style ease of operation, meaning less work for operators who do not need to file satellite and gateway access requests; more mission success for combatant commanders, who benefit from the ease of operation of their hardware; less operator interaction for field service reps; resulting in less opportunity for operator-introduced failures. All this equals simpler training development and minimized troubleshooting and administration work, with end users who benefit from the reliable, consistent access to command and control, email, video teleconferencing and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) network to enable them to focus on their core mission.

Our Global Xpress terminals leverage the best technology that commercial industry has to offer and are available in mobile, portable and fixed formats from industry-leading manufacturers for expeditionary, aero and maritime environments in both commercial and military form factors.

We continue to invest to meet the specific needs of our customers. Take for example, G-MODMAN. Built for government aero users, it is a flexible and easy-to-use solution that seamlessly integrates with existing antenna control systems and connects with Global Xpress.

At Inmarsat, we are committed to ensuring that our customers receive high-performance satellite products that are easy to use. From a user’s perspective, Global Xpress SATCOM as a Service establishes a mobile wideband experience that is no different from moving around the globe with a latest version of a cell phone, without stopping to worry about where the cell phone towers are, who installed them and who wired everything together.

About the author

Steve GizinskiSteve Gizinski is Inmarsat Vice-President, Special Programs, U.S. Government Business Unit, providing focused support to the Special Operations, Intelligence and aero/UAV customer communities.

Steve brings to this role 30 years of in-depth experience overseeing mission-critical technology efforts for commercial, intelligence, and U.S. Department of Defense customers. Prior to joining Inmarsat, Steve was the President and CEO of CVG, Inc., a SATCOM start-up and before that held a variety of management positions at Northrop Grumman, Hughes Space and Communications and Lockheed Martin.