ETL Systems has launched Genus Digital at Satellite 2023 to enable government and defense organizations, satellite operators, broadcasters and telcos to fully or partially digitize the analogue signal in their satellite ground segments. The company, which is synonymous with innovation, has invested significantly to develop Genus Digital, its digital IF product.

The new technology will enable customers to improve operational flexibility, resilience and redundancy by making it possible to sample analogue signals then transport them as IP packets for reconstruction at another location. This is a key requirement for interfacing to a virtual environment as the virtualization movement within the ground segment gains pace.

One of the many benefits of digital IF is the flexibility it will allow, enabling the physical decoupling of antennas from modems. Being able to geographically separate system elements, with no impact on signal quality, enables ‘behind the wire’ encryption, reducing the risk of exposure: a key requirement for defense organizations.

Working as part of the Digital Intermediate Frequency Interoperability (DIFI) Consortium, ETL Systems has ensured that the technology aligns with an open, interoperable digital IF/RF standard.

Genus Digital can work alongside existing analogue ground station infrastructure, enabling operators to gradually move to Digital IF, or to utilize it for selected signals alongside traditional analogue signal processing. Sold as an individual component rather than a turnkey solution, it facilitates easier re-routing of signals via IP addressing, as well as removing the need for specific fiber types required for RF over fiber.

Simon Swift, engineering director of digital technologies at ETL Systems and vice chair of the DIFI working group, said, “We are incredibly excited to launch Genus Digital at Satellite 2023. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from our fantastic team of engineers at ETL, who have invested a huge amount of time, dedication and expertise into the product development.

“As the virtualization of the ground station continues at pace, Genus Digital will provide operators with the flexibility to deploy new waveforms and, in conjunction with the implementation of virtual instruments, to monitor any signal from anywhere.”

At launch, Genus Digital is able to digitize four channels of 500 MHz bandwidth (providing a total 2 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth). These four channels form the core of the Genus Digital modular product.

Swift added, “As the product evolves, it will grow in capability, scope and scale. There's going to be more channels so that we’ll be able to add greater bandwidth capability into a single unit of our product, for example, running multiple quad band antennas through a single modular box.”