Interoperable, ultra-low profile, high-gain satcom on the move

Patents

Future-proof your enterprise GEO satcom solution today for LEO tomorrow

Hanwha Phasor’s low profile, high gain antenna for satellite communications on the move includes key features, for which patents have been registered internationally.

This essential intellectual property enables customers to future-proof their satcom solution investments for low earth-orbiting satellites. This includes a closed-loop tracking process; automatic beam alignment to satellites transmitting a unique code (especially important for low-earth-orbiting constellations); and a distributed array concept.

Closed loop tracking for maximal data throughput

Unless you are travelling across an ocean or from coast to coast on a continent, the necessity to acquire a new beam is rare in the geosynchronous satcom world of today. Today, antennas mostly track the same satellite and frequency – even if on the move. With the advent of HTS GEO, however, handover between beams and between satellites is becoming more prevalent, necessitating a very fast frequency and beam switching solution. Even more rapid handover will be essential for next-generation LEO satellite connectivity, making the ability to retune swiftly to new frequencies and lock rapidly essential selection criteria.

In general, traditional parabolic antennas use GPS position input to determine the initial pointing position and combine this with satellite location information to point to the satellite. To maintain tracking, the antenna searches for the satellite by mis-pointing slightly in different directions and uses signal strength information from a demodulator to determine the true position of the satellite.

By contrast, the Hanwha Phasor array uses hardware and software to measure the signal directly from the satellite on each of its thousands of elements, automatically adjusting the phase and amplitude of each element individually in near real time. This boosts tracking accuracy and antenna gain, optimises the signal-to-noise ratio and maximizes data throughput for end-users – all while greatly reducing the potential for adjacent satellite interference.

This efficiency is underpinned by the array’s intrinsic scan speed, which exceeds 20⁰ per second and extremely rapid initial receive lock times compared to the time a traditional parabolic antenna takes to acquire a satellite.

ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), antenna and the entire RF chain encompassed in a 7 cm (2¾ inch) deep package.

Automated beam alignment to satellites for LEO handover

Beam alignment and tracking accuracy would be enhanced further through Hanwha Phasor’s patented concept of unique satellite-specific ID broadcasts. These ID codes would be embedded within a downlink or beacon from the satellite. The Phasor AESA would not require the traditional AZ, EL, and Pol data of today, only the satellite ID and the frequency it is being broadcast on. The AESA would, upon power up, search the entire visible sky searching for the ID on the frequency provided. When the target ID is found the AESA focuses the beam on the selected satellite and passes L-Band to the modem.

While LEO satellite handover is not yet defined, it is highly likely that rapid assimilation of an ID will be a critical success factor in LEO connectivity.

Distributed array to minimise signal dispersion

The larger a phased array becomes, the greater the time dispersion and degradation in signal quality. Further, a distribution of smaller arrays would not aggregate the combined effect of all antennas – only the best performing would be utilised.

Our distributed array concept outlines a method to time-align a group of phased arrays into one (or more) virtual antenna – a timed array of phased arrays. This allows a group of smaller apertures to perform as a much larger aperture, with the sub-apertures working in concert.

By using smaller apertures signal dispersion (smear) is minimised and critical platform space preserved.

For further information on how to future-proof your satcom solution, contact us here