March 3, 2022

Redefining Government Satcom Networks

Redefining Government Satcom Networks

After its postponement last year, GOVSATCOM returned on February 24. Now established as a key event on the agenda of international satcom actors from the satellite, governmental, institutional and defense fields, the event gives delegates the opportunity to meet key players and influencers under one roof.

This year, the event was marked by a solemn address from Minister François Bausch, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Luxembourg who acknowledged the current events in the Eastern part of Europe. He explained that events such as this powerfully illustrate the critical role that satellite communications play in national security.

The event drew a crowd of over 500 experts from the satellite, government and defense industries at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg with exhibitors taking part from across the globe. There was increased diversity at the event this year with more women in attendance than ever. Laryssa Patten, Space & AGS Portfolio Manager at NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) emphasized the importance of not just gender, but a balance of age, race, sexual identity, ability and background. She emphasized that a balanced workforce which reflects society leads to a diversity of thought which is beneficial to the entire ecosystem.

A Focus on the Future

In the face of increased threats and challenges, the conference focused on the future. In order to effectively deal with both established and emerging threats, the satcom industry must leverage commercial partnerships to ensure the successful and timely delivery of satcom-based systems. Emphasis must also be placed upon the enablement of allied space activities to create a strong and unified approach. During the conference, the importance of building network resiliency was also a key theme, as well as the innovations that are happening in New Space with the emergence of multi-orbit, multi-frequency constellations and the benefits they will bring to armed forces.

The Importance of New Ground

New Ground is an industry movement, spearheaded by ST Engineering iDirect that aims to highlight the critical and unifying role of ground segment in New Space and satellite’s future in a much broader connectivity landscape.

New Ground was the central theme during the keynote presentation from Our Head of Government and Defense Strategy, Koen Willems entitled New Ground in a Unifying Role for Secure and Agile GovSatCom Networks.

Koen Willems

Koen detailed growing complexity as government satellite networks are required to support increasingly dispersed and complex operations, across geographies and various terrains – on land, air, and sea. He discussed how, with the upcoming wave of technology innovations and the convergence of the terrestrial and satellite ecosystems, nations have the opportunity to build next-generation networks. Standardization, virtualization, and orchestration are critical IT advances that will improve the speed, scale, cost, and flexibility of service delivery. We are seeing a convergence of space, cloud, service and user layers and the ground segment is the enabler and the unifier.

All of this innovation and New Ground technology converges into the upcoming Pooling and Sharing initiatives, which will be based on new architectures to allow for easy interfacing between the different network elements, interoperability, the flexibility to groom and distribute value added services over multi-orbit satellite constellations. These types of centrally managed software defined networks cater for quick deployment and scaling and have an inherent cyber element to secure the network. Additional security layers come from network diversity, secure waveforms such as the European Protected Waveform (EPW) and increased resiliency capabilities. The EPW initiative is the ST Engineering iDirect Europe-lead consortium for EDF2021 (European Defence Fund) where 19 companies from 11 EU countries have engaged in developing a secure, agile and efficient waveform for military applications.

Our Technical Director, Dave Davis then took to the stage, participating on a panel, which discussed the challenges and best practices of Service Management Leading to Service Delivery.

Dave Davis

He explained the way in which traditional service delivery is moving more towards cloud-based, automated service delivery and we must ensure that security is not impacted.

The integration of satellite into core cloud ecosystems -both private and public- brings built-in benefits such as high security and access to new services via a harmonized method for orchestrating assets’ functions and onboarding new missions more easily. This also reinforces the multi-layered security approach to detect, mitigate, prevent, and predict interferences and threats.

Dave also reiterated the importance of the PACE approach (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency), with varying levels of capability, acting in mutual support to offer resilience and redundancy. Finally, Dave highlighted the human element in this. There’s a real need to have a person to speak to that understands the position of the people on the ground.

Exhibiting Innovation

Outside of the conference, delegates could take in the innovation from individual companies in the exhibition, where our partners and peers showcased their latest innovations. It was good to see so many familiar faces once again.

Highlights to be found at the ST Engineering iDirect stand included:

  • The 9-Series defense modems featuring a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified (#3056) TRANSEC module (E0002268) including the 9350 Rackmount Satellite Modem and the highly portable 950mp Integrated Modem Board
  • The latest SMB3315 Satellite Modem Board with unprecedented performance and flexibility designed for COTM terminals for the government and defence, broadcast and mobility markets
  • The MDM5010 modem, our very high throughput modem capable of handling traffic up to 1.2 Gbps in a shared bandwidth mode.

Helpful Tools

Learn more about our New Ground story New Ground – ST Engineering iDirect and read up on building a multi-layered secure and resilient network with our whitepaper, Gaining Operational Advantage Through Innovation Milsatcom Networks.