FLAT PANEL TECHNOLOGY
We are revolutionizing satellite communications with our cutting-edge active electronically steered array technology.
THE INTELLIAN DIFFERENCE
Active, not passive.
Here at Intellian, all of our Flat Panel Series are active electronically scanned array (AESA). Other flat panels in the market are passive electronically scanned array (PESA). What's the difference between this new and old technology?
Our AESA Flat Panel Series user terminals (UT) all have the ability to individually rapidly steer and shape the thousands (Pro UT) or hundreds (Compact UT) of beams electronically. This means precise control over the direction, shape, and characteristics of the radiated beam. By electronically varying these parameters, Intellian's Flat Panel Series achieves dynamic beam steering and beam shaping without the need for physical movement.
By contrast, with PESA, the entire array shares a common phase reference, causing all elements to radiate in unison. This synchronization requires mechanical movement of the entire array to change the beam's direction. PESA's fixed phase relationship limits its agility in beam steering and makes it less responsive to real-time changes.
The design of Intellian's Flat Panel Series enables better tracking of multiple satellites, making them ideal for OneWeb's LEO network satellite fleet.
It also means Intellian's customers enjoy the highest performing antenna on OneWeb's network, with higher reliability and reduced mechanical wear and tear. This leads to product longevity and lower cost of ownership over time.
Using today’s latest technology isn’t enough as it’s constantly evolving. And it’s often us at Intellian leading that evolution and redefining what’s possible, as we’ve seen so often with many other Intellian user terminals being world-firsts.
Uniquely, at Intellian as well as designing our own Flat Panel Series, we manufacture our own Surface Mount Technology. It means we have within our control the ability to easily update and evolve the products. This means we can evolve the Flat Panel Series with great agility.
FAST BEAM SWITCHING
OneWeb’s satellites are all in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), 1,200km above the Earth's service. Each of the 648 satellites in the OneWeb constellation are moving at 26,000 kph, which means an Intellian Flat Panel user terminal will only be able to see one satellite for a few minutes before having to switch to the next one.
Intellian's flat panels have been designed to quickly handover between the two satellites, switching satellites without any perceived interruption to customers. How fast are we able to switch satellites? Less than 350 microseconds! To put that into perspective, the average time it takes to blink your eyes is 350 milliseconds. That means Intellian's flat panels can switch between two satellites traveling at 26,000kph, 1,200km away in 1/1000th the time is takes to blink!
This means that when our flat panel is ready to handover connectivity from one satellite to the other, in less than 350 microseconds the user terminal stops connecting to the first satellite and swaps over to the new satellite. This transition is so fast that a user on the network won't even realize the switch has happened. Seamless.
Satellite communications rely on line of sight between the user terminal and the satellite for successful connectivity.
But on a ship, this is not always possible. The bridge, funnels, sails, or other infrastructure can cause a temporary, but known, blockage in this line of sight. On land, a nearby building may be in the way, or there may be a tree that, in some windy conditions, causes an unexpected temporary blockage.
Intellian’s Flat Panel Series can deal with blockages in three ways. If there’s a permanently known blockage, such as a neighbouring building, it's location can be factored in during the commissioning of the flat panel so that the antenna is aware of the block and can compensate. If there is a temporary blockage, such as vessel infrastructure, the flat panel is programmed to be aware of potential blockage in certain sailing angles and conditions. In these known permanent and temporary blockages, the flat panel can divert the power from those chips that are being blocked and instead increase the power of those maintaining line of sight to maintain the connectivity required. With a sudden blockage, the flat panel learns in real-time what chips are impacted and diverts power accordingly as required until the blockage is no longer an issue.
Maritime parabolic antennas have tri-level stabilization which is a mechanical method designed to keep the reflector constantly pointing to the satellite for connectivity. The three aspects of tri-level stabilization are cross level, azimuth and elevation and each are controlled via motors, gears, and belts. These motors are constantly making small adjustments to keep the reflector stable as the vessel moves, experiencing all six degrees of motion (pitch, roll, yaw, heave, sway, and surge).
As with parabolic antennas, flat panels must also precisely point to the satellite for connectivity, but instead of mechanically moving the antenna, Intellian's flat panel antennas are pointed electronically.
Inside our OW11FL, an array of over 1,000 precisely positioned beam-forming chips all work together in perfect harmony. Each of these tiny chips are told where the current satellite is and where the next approaching satellite will be. As a vessel moves, this array knows the relative angle to the satellite and can adjust the electrical and RF attributes of each chip accordingly. Working together, complex software combines the adjustment of each chip and electronically adjusts the direction of flat panel is pointed, resulting in incredibly accurate cross level, azimuth and elevation tri-stabilization.