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#SpaceWatchGL Interviews: Andrew Bond of ETL Systems

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When it comes all the way down to RF distribution, ETL is an organization main the way in which. Serving satellite tv for pc operators, the oil and fuel , defence, telecoms, maritime and broadcast sectors, ETL has a protracted heritage and powerful popularity within the satellite tv for pc trade and a ardour for R&D. SpaceWatch.Globals Torsten Kriening spoke to Andrew Bond, Gross sales and Advertising Director at ETL, throughout IBC 2019 concerning the enterprise, its key services and future challenges and alternatives.

Andrew, please inform us about ETL Techniques and what are you doing right here at IBC present this 12 months.

ETL is utilizing IBC to point out off a few of its RF distribution merchandise. Now we have been attending IBC for over 15 years. In that point, now we have grown together with the satellite tv for pc trade. Immediately, we’re an organization of over 140 individuals, of which one third are engineers, the opposite third are manufacturing and the remainder are industrial, help & mission managers.

We’re based mostly at a producing facility in Hereford, England and now we have a analysis and improvement centre in London. We even have three gross sales places of work in America, and one in Dubai. We concentrate on satisfying satellite tv for pc clients everywhere in the world, as a result of satellite tv for pc, being international, requires us to take action.

Who’re you clients and who’re your shoppers? Inform us concerning the services you promote to them.


The usage of a satellite tv for pc dish is just about the identical whether or not you’re a authorities shopper, a broadcast shopper or a satellite tv for pc operator shopper. The goal is to deal with a sign effectively all the way down to a modem. Our tools exists between a satellite tv for pc dish and a modem and our accountability is to ship that sign as in nearly as good a form as doable. We try this utilizing varied items of apparatus that we design and manufacture. On the coronary heart is distribution tools, akin to switches, listeners, amplifiers, fibre hyperlinks.

Now, you’ll be able to think about the Olympics, for instance, the place you have got a feed that thousands and thousands of individuals are watching. Now we have to consider splitting the sign in a broadcast centre, and likewise ensuring that there’s a number of redundancy so if there’s a failure, the printed stays on air. Our tools is well-known for its effectivity, its reliability and likewise its scalability. In order a satellite tv for pc system grows, and extra satellites are launched, our tools scales with it so that a teleport can develop with the variety of feeds and alerts that it receives from around the globe.

So it actually doesn’t matter what sector the sign belongs to – whether or not it’s navy and authorities or broadcast – your tools does the identical job?

Precisely. I believe sign high quality is as essential to anyone sitting on a ship in the midst of the ocean as it’s for an oil rig or the downlink for CNN being distributed to 1,000,000 individuals in a metropolis. All of those use instances require an excellent sign that may be break up. I usually use the analogy that RF is a bit like a river. You need the circulation of that water, even when it’s divided many, many occasions to be nearly as good because it was on the supply. Customers need the standard of their image to on their TV, cell phone, or laptop computer to be because it was when it was filmed by the digital camera.

How is ETL making ready for the appearance of satellites in Non-Geosynchronous orbits and the change we see coming with the mega constellations?

The satellite tv for pc sector goes via a vital change for the time being. Actually, three, 4 or 5 years in the past, we noticed plenty of strain from aggressive industries, akin to IP and fibre, that truly drew plenty of alerts away and so satellite tv for pc bandwidth prices have really come down. However satellite tv for pc is beginning to grow to be the main target of plenty of applied sciences. We’re now seeing a brand new era of satellites at Low Earth Orbit (LEO), that are going to be supporting a brand new era of expertise, akin to 5G and the Web of Issues (IoT), to allow a brand new era of massive knowledge to be extracted from the units that now we have not solely in our pocket, but in addition in our vehicles.

I believe that’s actually essential, as a result of now we’re seeing a concord between the bottom section and likewise the area section within the satellite tv for pc sector. It’s very a lot a part of the brand new future. I definitely welcome that, as a result of the tools that we make at ETL that we design it ETL has to begin wanting forward on the frequencies and the switching necessities that a LEO satellite tv for pc goes to require akin to the flexibility to have the ability to swap between these fast-moving satellites. We’ve obtained to guarantee that our switches, and matrices are agile sufficient to change in a short time from one satellite tv for pc to the following and to cope with all frequencies to permit constant, unbroken connectivity.

What are the highlights for ETL at IBC this 12 months?


There are a few our product households which are bringing most consideration for the time being. The primary is our fibre vary. I believe that, as teleports develop, extra individuals are placing satellite tv for pc dishes additional away from the management rooms. So we’re seeing not solely element fibre demand for satellite tv for pc networks, however we’re additionally seeing demand for 10 kilometre, 50 kilometre, even 400 kilometre hyperlinks. We’re additionally seeing DWDM fibre hyperlinks develop in reputation in Asia because of Ka-band satellite tv for pc deployments in that area. That’s a giant development space for us. The second space of development is in our elements. RF elements allow a number of the smaller networks to be linked. We promote a variety of wave guides, passive splitters and passive switches. These are notably essential for the marine and oil and fuel trade the place connectivity is important between ships and oil rigs again to their headquarters.

You talked about earlier that you’re specializing in RF, however you additionally discuss DWDM. Do you mix each into your merchandise?

Now we have three completely different merchandise in our fibre vary. Now we have brief distance fibre for 10 kilometre hyperlinks; then now we have medium distance, which is CWDM, which permits eight hyperlinks to be carried over as much as 50 kilometres. Then we are able to accommodate as much as 64 hyperlinks multiplex, which is DWDM, which extends as much as 400 or 500 kilometres. That has been a really attention-grabbing space of development as Ka-band has grow to be extra prevalent and satellite tv for pc networks and teleports have to consider redundancy, and the way teleports work collectively in concord.

What are the challenges are for the market that you just see?

ETL1_StingRay RF over Fibre Chassis,_ 16 module_ 100 collection; Credit: ETL

There are just a few challenges that I see. There’s area particles which I’m very interested by, notably the accountability that the satellite tv for pc trade has when it comes to the quantity of area particles that’s at present recognized about. When the brand new LEO satellites are launched I believe the results of collisions might really take out an entire era, an entire community of satellites in a short time. You solely have to observe the movie Gravity to grasp how real looking that could possibly be, and it might have been Hollywood nevertheless it actually might occur. There’s additionally a priority about interference and the effectivity of those networks.

The opposite difficulty that I see with these new satellite tv for pc constellations is the usage of frequency. Regulation of how area is used and likewise of frequencies is essential, globally. We’re at present taking a look at this intently at ETL. We at the moment are seeing elevated necessities for our tools to deal with alerts as much as 4 GHz and, as we transfer into Q and V-bands, there appears to be no stopping this improve as a result of we’re so bandwidth hungry. The problem is to have the ability to obtain the identical efficiency. I believe individuals need discount in value however, as we as we get extra tools and extra switching with these price range networks, we may also see some actual efficiency points in RF as properly when it comes to return loss, flatness, and varied different points.

So however I assume that these are technical challenges you’re making an attempt to unravel for the time being together with your R&D exercise?

Appropriate. There are technical challenges, and we’re on the finish of the chain, as a result of individuals are asking us to deal with increased frequencies. Nonetheless, there appears to be little or no governance as to who’s who’s utilizing these frequencies and the way they’re being utilized.

Isn’t it regulated by way of the ITU and by a regulator for every nation?


Sure. The usage of frequencies is definitely regulated by the ITU, however permission should even be granted in each single nation as properly. So the usage of frequencies isn’t just a world factor, it’s also a nationwide factor. Whenever you design a chunk of apparatus, which permits us to see a Eutelsat or SES satellite tv for pc, for instance, and the downlink is at three.2 gigahertz, then there are two points. The primary is will the tools obtain it? And the second is whether or not that frequency is allowed in that exact nation? So, , the 2 actually go hand-in-hand.

As you’re absolutely UK based mostly firm, I can’t keep away from this. What’s going to occur after finish of October together with your international market together with your European connections? How does Brexit have an effect on you?

Like satellite tv for pc, ETL Techniques is a very international firm and now we have many various nationalities working for us. We are going to proceed to be a world firm. 90% of the tools that we make within the UK is exported and that may proceed. I don’t see why a unique relationship with the European Union will have an effect on us in any means in any respect. The EU nonetheless requires the perfect satellite tv for pc tools as a lot as we require a number of the greatest German vehicles on this planet. Once more, I exploit the phrase a concord as a result of this will probably be what develops between us as soon as the politicians have stopped preventing for their very own slice of the cake.

How massive is the European market share clever for you?

In the meanwhile it’s smaller than regular, as a result of Europe is a fairly a mature market. I’ve been very fortunate to have visited many of the teleports within the European area and so they themselves are going via this paradigm shift that I discussed earlier than, the place they’re transferring from video-based teleports to data-based teleports. There stays an oversupply of bandwidth and I believe there hasn’t been the expansion throughout the European area that we’ve seen in different areas of the world.

We attempt to be well-informed about the place the trade goes. We’re fortunate within the sense that we work with a number of the world’s greatest system integrators, dish producers and floor tools designers so we don’t work in isolation. In the meanwhile, as a result of we haven’t seen the LEO satellites working commercially, we don’t but know what the bottom section will seem like. We’ve had latest conversations concerning the subsequent era of antennas, whether or not they are going to be flat panel or parabolic, however we don’t but know what the longer term will seem like.

What we do know is that ETL’s expertise is able to cope with the change, or potential adjustments, which will occur. I’m happy to say that we’re ready.

SpaceWatch.International thanks Andrew Bond of ETL Techniques for the interview.

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