iDirect Evolution is widely adopted in the U.S. Government with Ground-based Fixed/Deployable networks across the DoD such as the USSOCOM C2 networks, the Army CSS-VSAT network, and the DISA Enterprise SATCOM Gateway (ESGM) initiative.

In April 2016, IGC conducted iDirect Evolution performance testing on one of it’s Intelsat Epic satellites on a number of DoD user terminals from Tampa Microwave, L-3 GCS Panther II, Harris Seeker, GATR Flex and TECOM KuStream, to measure capability and verify gains on the first Intelsat Epic satellite. IGC specifically chose test assets that reflected the combatant commands desire to field systems with lower size, weight, and power requirements (SWaP).

IGC set up a test network on the satellite utilizing 12 MHz for the forward and return links each. Leveraging the hub terminal at Intelsat’s Mountainside Teleport in Hagerstown, Maryland and various remote terminals, a TDMA network was established. Testing was conducted with multiple terminals and is summarized in the table below.

To compare Intelsat Epic performance to legacy wide-beams, a baseline was set based on IGC’s experience of maximum throughput capability of various well understood customer networks, adjacent satellite interference, and ITU power spectral density (PSD), and terminal performance characteristics. IGC has operated many iDirect Evolution networks for a wide variety of customers on legacy wide-beam satellites.

On a typical Intelsat satellite wide-beam satellite the TECOM Ku-Stream 1500 airborne terminal could achieve 8 Mbps inbound (0.67 bits/Hz) and 1.9 Mbps (0.21 bits/Hz) outbound. On an Intelsat Epic satellite, the TECOM terminal achieved 17.5 Mbps inbound (1.46 bits/Hz) and 9.1 Mbps (1.01 bits/Hz) outbound, yielding data rate improvements of 219% and 479% respectively. Broadband speeds to the tactical edge enable new network capabilities and applications not normally associated with traditional VSAT communications such as high definition full-motion video (HD FMV) and high data rate backhaul.

Information dominance is a key enabler in today’s military operations where throughput is paramount. Government networks continuously grow in size and complexity while remote systems decrease in SWaP; these evolutionary changes are undeniable and depend on the increased capability HTS systems like Intelsat Epic brings to bear. With more platforms, missions, and services battling for bandwidth, more throughput and speed is vital.