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  • Satellite Evolution Group

ETL Systems demonstrates major DIFI milestone at SATELLITE 2024


ETL Systems has demonstrated a major breakthrough in Washington with new commercially available technology converting analog RF signals to IP, and then back again on a live satellite link, meeting Digital IF Interoperability (DIFI) Consortium 1.2 standards.


ETL’s Genus Digital 5000, a commercial off the shelf product, has been shown to work with ST Engineering iDirect’s MDM5010 satellite modems to transport signals as IP packets, highlighting the interoperability across vendor equipment. The milestone is a significant moment in satellite communications with analog RF signals digitised and reconstructed at another location; a capability set to have a transformative impact on the industry.  


Known as Digital IF, this capability introduces several benefits to satellite operators, enabling the distribution of RF signals from any source to any destination with a consistent signal quality, offering unprecedented flexibility. This advancement facilitates Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), transforming modems from hardware appliances into cloud-based software, allowing for a shift from capital to operational expenditure models for customers with costs proportional to consumption.


ETL’s Genus Digital 5000 bridges the gap between analog and digital with a modular design capable of housing technology to manage RF signals via its best-in-class technology, alongside digital IF. It utilises high-speed analog to digital converters (ADCs) to sample incoming L-band IF signals, transforming them into packets for transmission over fast ethernet links.  


"The satcom industry is transitioning from analog RF to digital IF technology, marking a pivotal shift in connectivity demands worldwide. At ETL Systems, we are bridging the gap between digital and RF, through the development of Genus Digital."


“We appreciate ST Engineering iDirect’s support in showcasing the capabilities of Genus Digital at Satellite 2024. This partnership reflects our shared commitment to driving innovation in the satellite industry and underscores our mission to empower our customers with cutting-edge solutions,” said Simon Swift, ETL Systems Engineering Director and Chair of the DIFI Specification Working Group.


This comes as ST Engineering iDirect unveils its next-generation satellite networking ground system, Intuition, which is set to improve the speed, scale, cost and flexibility of service delivery. Among other capabilities, Intuition is based on a virtualised, cloud-based architecture and designed to capitalise on the latest standards-based technologies.


“This joint demonstration reinforces our commitment to industry collaboration and showcases our capability to join forces with industry partners, like ETL Systems, to advance our capabilities for the benefit of the entire satcom ecosystem.”


“The satellite communications market and specifically the integration between space and ground assets is advancing at a rapid rate, and customer demands continue to evolve significantly. It’s no longer just about throughput or efficiency. Interoperability is at the forefront of our minds, and we must play a unifying role in bringing about a more active, collaborative and coordinated industry,” said Cynthia Harty, SVP Corporate Development of ST Engineering iDirect.


The mission of the DIFI Consortium is to enable the digital transformation of space, satellite, and related industries by providing a simple, open, interoperable Digital IF/RF standard that replaces the natural interoperability of analog IF signals and helps prevent vendor lock-in.


Visitors to the Satellite 2024 Conference and Exhibition in Washington can witness the breakthrough by visiting ETL Systems at booth 1820, where they will see the live demonstration of an analog RF signal being converted to a Digital Intermediate Frequency signal.


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