Thursday, March 26, 2009

Satellite 2009

I attended the exhibition and one of the panel sessions yesterday. The show seems relatively busy which is a good sign these days. There were 2 interesting panel discussions I wanted to attend yesterday. One was on the capacity crunch and debated the different frequency bands as C-band seems to be slowing, Ku-band is growing and Ka-band is on the horizon. I was not able to make this one but made the one on the WiMAX and Satellite broadband debate - are they direct competition or complementary.

The panel was moderated by Claude Rousseau (NSR) and made up of Drew Caplan (SkyTerra), Amiee Chan (Norsat), Gary Hale (Cisco Systems), Laurent Thomasson (EADS) and Greg Wyler (O3b). They had done some polling of the industry and 59% thought WiMAX was a long term solution with only 11% thinking WiMAX was a direct threat to Satellite Broadband (but 69% thought is was an opportunity and threat). WiMAX seems to be a good solution for places that have no infrastructure for wireless backhaul and may not necessarily be a good mobile solution at this point. It seems like WiMAX and Satellite broadband hybrid systems that utilize the best one for each situation might be the answer in the long term.

The exhibition was fairly well attended and we visited many of the RF/microwave companies. We stopped by Cobham, Teledyne, Locus, Diamond, NEC, Actox, Wavecom, Tampa, FilTel, Microphase, K&L and Millitech. I saw some impressive amplifiers and upconverters that are very compact and high power. There are still some good TWT solutions but it seems like SSPAs with proprietary combining solutions are taking a big part of the business. Today we will finish off our visits and I will be doing a show wrap up of the whole event in the next couple of days.

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