A Perfect 10: Increasing the Data Throughput of Satellite Communications Ten-Fold

Canada-Israel Industrial Research & Development FoundationA Perfect 10: Increasing the Data Throughput of Satellite Communications Ten-Fold

Enabling Smart TV Consumers to Receive More Data, Faster

Canadian Company: Advantech Wireless

Israeli Company: SatixFy

Sector: Aerospace and Defence; Information and Communication Technologies

Opportunity

Today, the global market for connected TV devices, such as smart TVs and game consoles, is estimated to be 1 billion installed units. By 2018, the size of this market is expected to reach 2 billion. The data that streams from these connected devices is enabled by satellite communications. Embedded within these systems, modulators are unsung heroes that help to facilitate the transmission of this data.

In telecommunications, modulation is the process that enables a signal to be transmitted from one point to another much like a musician might modify the pitch or volume of a tone from a musical instrument, modulators are tiny devices that alter the characteristics of a signal, and transform it into data that can be received by connected devices such as smart TVs. A Canada-Israel R&D team aimed to create a world-first modulator that increases the data throughput of satellite communications, enabling connected consumers to receive more data, faster.

Objective

This CIIRDF-supported R&D project brought together:

  • Advantech Wireless, a leading Canadian wireless broadband communications solution provider for commercial, critical infrastructure and military clients; and
  • SatixFy, an Israeli fabless company that develops Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), microchips designed to significantly enhance ground equipment performance, lower costs and allow a broader audience to enjoy a large variety of applications via satellite.

The team aimed to design a modulator that increased the rate of data transmission in satellite communications. Advantech Wireless developed the hardware for the device, while SatixFy developed the chipsets embedded inside. Much like the engine of a car, these chips power the modulator and enable it to perform the actions required.

Modulators typically transmit signals at a rate of up to 60 mega symbols (the number of signal changes) per second. The collaborators developed a modulator unit that generates 500 mega symbols per second, providing ten times the data throughput of any competing technology on the market today. This increases the information transmitted in each communications signal by a factor of 10, significantly improving the performance of satellite communications. It will enable satellite television subscribers to download a much higher volume of data more rapidly. The new modulator also enables satellite service providers to use more bandwidth in the communications spectrum. It is a significant
breakthrough in the satellite communications industry.

Outcomes

“This new modulator offers satellite service providers significant cost savings that could exceed $2 billion over the lifetime of a satellite. With no competing product on the market today, we are well positioned to increase our share of this $100 million market. We have already started to promote this new modulator to satellite service providers. We delivered a presentation to more than 350 prospective customers at VSAT, the premier event for the satellite industry, in September 2014. CIIRDF helped us to hit this critical market window. We aim to bring this modulator to market, and generate an estimated $30 million over the next five years.”

David Gelerman, CEO, Advantech Wireless

“Without the support of CIIRDF, it would have been impossible for us to undertake this R&D in its entirety. It would have taken us five times longer to complete this project on our own. More importantly, we may have missed the opportunity to develop a game-changing technology for satellite communications. This partnership increased our R&D capacity by providing access to complementary expertise and technology. By combining our know-how and resources, we accelerated our time to product development and commercialization. It was a true team effort, enabling collaboration that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Yoel Gat, CEO, SatixFy