Communications

Broadband terminal for LEO and MEO satellites reduces TCO

18th June 2020
Alex Lynn

Smart antenna start-up, ALCAN Systems, has announced its development of a low cost flat-panel ground terminal for Low Earth orbit and Medium Earth Orbit (LEO and MEO satellite) constellations delivering Satellite Broadband on high capacity Ka-Band frequencies

The electronically steerable flat-panel antennas use ALCAN’s patented liquid crystal-based technology to enable beam-steering. This optimises performance and allows broadband speeds of 400Mbps via LEO and MEO satellites. This innovation, originally developed at the Technical University of Darmstadt, allows ALCAN to build a liquid crystal based phased array antenna that achieves the lowest unit cost and power performance in the industry. Additionally, the nature of liquid crystal allows for an ultra-low-profile form factor to minimise the visual impact of equipment.

Technical details:

  • The full terminal will be priced at €2,500, offering the lowest Total Cost of Ownership of any product on the market.
  • It has a modular design and will allow multiple antennas to be combined to achieve higher gain/throughput based on the needs of the customers.
  • The antenna size will be compact at 55x99x9cm and have a weight less than 20Kg.
  • The power consumption of the antenna (including LNB and BUC) will be less than 100W, five times lower than typical semi-conductor based phased array antennas
  • It will have 2D beam steering and will operate across a wide scan angle of +/-55 degrees from boresight.
  • The antenna will be full-duplex and have slew times less than 30ms, enabling 99.5% max. signal throughput

ALCAN is partnering to build a mass-production supply chain and assembly capability for the antenna and will deliver first customer orders in Q4 2021.

Onur Karabey, CEO at ALCAN Systems, commented: “The realisation of the R&D innovations at ALCAN into a commercial product is hugely exciting, not only for us as a company, but for the potential this solution has to impact the Satellite Broadband market. Reducing ownership and running costs of Satellite Broadband equipment will not only open up new markets for LEO and MEO satellite operators and service providers, but will revolutionise connectivity for the enterprise customers and high-end consumers that will benefit from a cost effective way to access Satellite Broadband.”

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