May 30, 2018

Kymeta and iDirect Synergies Drive True Global, Mobile Connectivity Closer to Reality

Earlier this month iDirect extended its partnership with Kymeta and became an official reseller of Kymeta™ KyWay™ terminals, which integrate ground-breaking mTenna™ electronically-steered antenna (ESA) technology and the industry’s leading iDirect X7 modem, to its global base of mobility-focused partners.   

Flat, light, no mechanical gimbals and easy to use, the new KyWay™ terminal is a game-changing solution at work today across core mobility markets on land and at sea, enabling fast, reliable connectivity. The KyWay terminal eliminates the barriers of size and resources, allowing satellite to go where it never could before.

As Kymeta’s first modem manufacturer of choice, iDirect is pleased to partner with Kymeta to bring our technologies together, enabling customers across the mobility sector to experience an exciting new level of service.

We spoke with iDirect’s Business Development Senior Director Terry Neumann and Kymeta Product Manager, David Fotheringham, to learn more about this innovative new solution in satellite communications.

Q: Tell us about the features behind Kymeta technology.

David: Kymeta mTenna ESA technology is easy to install, use and maintain. In other words, it’s an incredibly user-friendly satellite technology. It’s a low profile, lightweight, slim, metamaterials-based Ku-band antenna with several advanced features packed in, including:

  • Electronic RF beam-steering with fully automatic software defined pointing, tracking, satellite selection, and polarization control, with absolutely no moving parts.
  • Satellite auto-acquisition and tracking with a user-friendly GUI.
  • Communication is also offered through an application programming interface (API).
  • Weather-facing flat radome, eliminating the bulky legacy radome, reducing weight and complexity for easy maintenance and installation.
  • Supports transmit and receive operations on a single aperture with low power consumption.

The lightweight, low-profile design makes it an ideal fit for vehicles, buses, trains and RVs — mobility applications that might not have had the right infrastructure to support traditional bulky dome antennas.

The KyWay terminal outdoor unit’s sleek shape even allows vessel designers to embed the antenna right into the superstructure of a vessel, allowing for more streamlined aesthetics in addition to true global, mobile connectivity.

Parabolic Dish Solution
Parabolic Dish Solution

Kymeta ESA Solution
Kymeta ESA Solution
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Use cases for Kymeta technology.

Q: What makes this partnership such a good fit for iDirect?

Terry: In the past, antennas have come with high cost and high complexity — especially in many land mobility applications, such as buses, trains and cars. Kymeta is the first to develop a new style of ESA that brings connectivity to places and platforms it has never been available to before.  The manufacturing approach Kymeta uses enables them to mass produce antennas, unlike any other ESA satellite antenna available today.

As a leader in the mobile satellite communications market for more than 20 years, iDirect has been waiting for a technology like this to bring the massive capacity available via satellite to the mobile communications market. iDirect holds the market share advantage in aero, maritime and military, with an established ecosystem of influential solution providers. As the first modem partner to Kymeta, we’re very excited to support their innovative KyWay terminal with a trusted solution and to enable the Kymeta KĀLO™ service that is built on the IntelsatOne® Flex network that is also using iDirect technology.

Q: Specifically, what role does iDirect technology play?

Terry: The Kymeta KyWay terminal uses the iDirect X7 modem. Combining Kymeta’s pioneering ESA technology with our leading VSAT mobility technology will give our partners an incredible competitive advantage in the emerging land mobility market. It’s a perfect match. We are also helping to expand the reach of the technology by enabling our extensive channel organization to get access to this technology that will allow them to open up new markets.

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iDirect X7 Satellite Router

Q: What is an example of a recent deployment with the KyWay terminal?

David: The White Rose of Drachs and Maltese Falcon were among the first iconic yachts to begin using the Kymeta KyWay terminal. These systems were integrated by Kymeta’s exclusive yacht distribution partner e3 Systems.  In months-long trials and testing, both the White Rose of Drachs and the Maltese Falcon were able to utilize high-throughput internet connectivity while at sea.

The White Rose of Drachs, one of the world’s most iconic yachts, is outfitted with the Kymeta KyWay terminal today.
The White Rose of Drachs, one of the world’s most iconic yachts, is outfitted with the Kymeta KyWay terminal today.

Today, KyWay terminals are also being deployed on land — on public safety vehicles, buses, RVs, and other land mobile platforms. Imagine, the benefits of putting a KyWay terminal on an emergency response vehicle heading into a hurricane-ravaged area. There are new possibilities in the private, military, logistics, and transportation industries — and that’s just what we’re looking at now.

kymeta sat4 kymeta sat5

Q: These deployments are laying the groundwork for future technologies, such as “the connected car,” one of the hottest markets in the industry. Tell us about your recent KĀLO™ Trek Across America.

David: Last November, Kymeta outfitted a Toyota RAV4 SUV with the KyWay terminal — comprised of an iDirect modem, mTennau7 ASM, BUC, LNB and diplexer — to trial Kymeta KĀLO™ mobile satellite internet services. This new offering leverages the IntelsatOne Flex network, and is redefining how satellite services are purchased.

This trial, the second of Kymeta’s Trek Across America, and the first to take advantage of the iDirect X7 modem’s advanced beam switching features to take full advantage of the KĀLO™ network multi-satellite U.S. coverage. I took on the ambitious task of driving 7,000 miles from Washington, D.C. to Redmond, WA by way of Key West, FL, Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA in a brisk two-week road trip. The road test across the U.S. proved the real-world value of the Kymeta KyWay mobile satellite terminal today and the vastness of the KĀLO network footprint. Additionally, it provided a lot of valuable real-world data bringing us another step closer to making the “connected car” a reality. The KĀLO Trek Across America was a great opportunity for me to live in the customers’ shoes and see just how easy Kymeta has made satellite communications. I’m not an engineer and without the need for any support or a team of field engineers, each day was as easy as a flip of a power switch and letting the “automagic” happen. I could drive down the road coast-to-coast streaming music, participating in VoIP conference calls through the vehicle’s hands-free system, whether I was in a cellular network coverage area or not. During the drive I saw sunny days, tropical storms, flash flood conditions, high winds, and through it all the robustness of the system really shined.

Kymeta’s coast-to-coast Trek across America started in Washington, D.C., and ended at the Kymeta campus in Redmond, WA.
Kymeta’s coast-to-coast Trek across America started in Washington, D.C., and ended at the Kymeta campus in Redmond, WA.
The new KyWay terminal — comprised of an iDirect X7 modem, mTennau7 ASM, BUC, LNB and diplexer — enables new connectivity options for the ‘connected car.’
The new KyWay terminal — comprised of an iDirect X7 modem, mTennau7 ASM, BUC, LNB and diplexer — enables new connectivity options for the ‘connected car.’

Q: Any other proof of concepts?

Terry: This spring iDirect worked with Kymeta to demonstrate the KyWay to a number of our partners in South Africa. The Kymeta team fastened a KyWay terminal on the roof of a car and demonstrated real-time connectivity using multiple applications to show some of the capabilities of the KyWay terminal. The KyWay terminal demo was powered by iDirect’s X7 remote and iDirect Velocity® platform to enable KĀLO service. Despite less-than-ideal rainy conditions, one of our partners Q-KON was able to demonstrate video streaming as they conducted a FaceTime chat with their CEO in real time as they drove around the streets of Johannesburg.

Q: What’s next?

Terry: With iDirect as an established leader in mobility and the innovative new design and capabilities of the Kymeta satellite terminal, there’s a lot to be excited about. The KyWay terminal is easy to understand, buy and install, and we expect it to crack open the land mobility market for our partners.

We both share the mission of bringing mobile satellite connectivity to new markets on the water, on the roads, on the rails — wherever connectivity is needed. Being part of a partnership that can provide connectivity to every mile of road is exciting. We’re off to a great start and look forward to what’s ahead.

David: We’re building 21st century communication solutions, introducing new industries to satellite that have never used it before. As we continue to deploy, we’re closely aligning our solutions to the market needs of today and tomorrow.

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