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IET Satcom 2018

ThinKom and COMSAT complete successful coast-to-coast demonstration of high-speed satellite communication links on the move

(5 April 2018 - ThinKom Solutions) ThinKom Solutions and COMSAT recently partnered to complete a coast-to-coast expedition to test and validate a seamless end-to-end continuous high-speed satellite communication solution in a moving vehicle under a wide range of conditions.

The demonstration SUV was equipped with a roof-mounted ThinKom ThinSat 300 phased-array satellite antenna, plus a package of modems, routers, switches, power inverter and an easy-to-use operator interface inside the vehicle. COMSAT, a global satellite service company, was responsible for providing seamless turnkey connectivity for the journey through commercial Ku-band satellites and redundant 3G/4G LTE terrestrial networks.

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The low-profile ThinKom ThinSat 300 demonstrated consistent efficient high-speed satcom-on-the-move (SOTM) communications during a coast-to-coast drive across the United States in March 2018. (courtesy: ThinKom)

The field-proven ThinSat 300 antenna is just 4.3 inches high and can be easily mounted on a standard roof rack. Total weight, including the radome, is 120 pounds. Based on ThinKom’s patented phased-array technology, the vehicle-mounted antenna enables robust IP networks, streaming video and voice-over-IP applications without stopping to deploy a fixed satellite terminal or waiting for a blockage recovery.

During the 5,000-mile expedition, ThinKom’s engineers conducted tests of the latest system software enhancements, which provide faster satellite acquisition and tracking, as well as additional modem interface protocols and modulation schemes. These improvements add up to greater operational efficiency and significant savings in time and money for end-users, according to ThinKom.

The week-long trek took place March 3-10. It started at Manhattan Beach, California, and ended in Washington, D.C. The route included some of the most remote regions of the country, including Utah’s Bryce Canyon, Zion’s and Arches National Parks, Arapaho National Park in Colorado, the South Dakota Badlands, Great Plains, Daniel Boone National Park in Kentucky and the Outer Banks in the Carolinas.

“Throughout the trip, the ThinSat 300 supported broadcast-quality communication links, at highway speeds and in off-road terrain,” said Darin Anderson, Director of International Business Development at ThinKom. “Importantly, the trip provided further validation of the efficiency of the ThinSat 300 antenna. The system delivered an average of 1:1 bit-to-hertz ratio on an extremely narrow MHz channel without spreading the signal. With other less-efficient antenna designs, this would have required substantially more bandwidth resulting in much higher operational costs.”

“Our strategic partnership brings together ThinKom’s unparalleled antenna technology and COMSAT’s world-class satellite and terrestrial network infrastructure,” said Dylan Browne,  Chief Strategy Officer at COMSAT. “This gives us the ability to offer our customers a truly global robust and reliable end-to-end high-quality satellite communication on-the-move solution for mission-critical applications such as broadcast news media, disaster relief, first response, homeland security, surveillance and security.”

The satellite demo vehicle will be positioned in the Washington, D.C. area for the next few months to conduct private demonstrations, according to Anderson. “The interest level has been very positive and we intend to take full advantage of this opportunity to show the technology to as many customers as possible,” he said.

About ThinKom Solutions

ThinKom Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative highly affordable compact broadband antennas and products for aeronautical, vehicular and man-portable applications. The company’s primary products uniquely enable near-term worldwide availability of high-data-rate connectivity in the X-, Ku-, Ka- and Q-bands. With more than 700 aeronautical satellite antennas currently deployed, ThinKom offers a range of reliable, proven technology solutions for the consumer, enterprise, first responder, civil, military and intelligence communities.

About COMSAT

COMSAT, Inc. is a leading operator of customized, secure end-to-end satellite communications services. The company delivers a full portfolio of fixed satellite solutions (C-Band, Ku-Band, Ka-Band, X-Band and UHF) and mobile satellite solutions (Inmarsat, Thuraya and Iridium) to aeronautical, land-mobile and maritime users in multiple markets, including U.S. government and military, global governments, educational institutions and commercial maritime. COMSAT owns and operates two teleports located in Southbury, Connecticut, and Santa Paula, California, that provide various communications and data center services to commercial, government and educational institutions worldwide including end-to-end connectivity, co-location and research efforts, critical data backup and recovery, satellite and terrestrial network data center, cloud and cybersecurity services.