Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., a technology company specializing in defense, national security and communications solutions, announced the release of its OpenEdge™ 2500 digitizer designed specifically to help satellite antenna makers digitally enable their products. When integrated into any antenna, the compact digitizer reliably converts RF signals into internet protocol (IP) data streams that are easily consumed for use in modern software-defined communications networks.

The OpenEdge 2500 enables digitization to occur natively within nearly any parabolic, electronically steerable or flat panel antenna. Today, when digitization is done at all, it occurs within a separate, added network component located either at the gateway, at the remote user terminal or somewhere in between. For both accuracy and transport efficiency, however, it is best to digitize as close to the signal's origin as possible, and there is no place closer than within the antenna itself.

Cobham Satcom, a global industry leader in the design and manufacture of accurate, multi-orbit, active tracking antennas for land, maritime, fixed and mobile applications across GEO, HEO, MEO and LEO satellites, will be the first to integrate the OpenEdge 2500 into its Comms on the Pause (COTP) satcom tactical terminals as well as other parabolic and flat panel electronically steerable antenna terminals for both maritime and land applications. Cobham Satcom has considerable prior experience in the development and integration of digitization in its product lines and is an ideal partner to introduce the OpenEdge 2500.

The OpenEdge 2500 easily and effectively transforms traditional satellite antennas into digital ones, streamlining operations and allowing satellite service providers far more flexibility in configuring the best terminal solutions to meet their customers' needs. Specifically, the availability of digital-ready antennas will provide network operators with an additional path for migrating to software-enabled (SE) terminals. SE terminals replace the purpose-built, proprietary equipment used at the network's edge today with generic off-the-shelf compute, placing far more application power and security directly in the user's hands. The OpenEdge 2500, like all Kratos OpenSpace® products, is based on industry standards, including the Digital IF Interoperability (DIFI) interoperability standard, enabling seamless integration with other standards-compliant devices and virtualized network functions from other vendors.

"Digitization offers much needed flexibility and opens up new ways to drive forward satellite communications," said Bob Potter, TRACKER CTO at Cobham Satcom. “As one of the first antenna manufacturers to join the DIFI Consortium, we have long promoted standards-based digitization for the next generation of multi-orbit, multi-domain and multi-network terminals and gateways into the digital age. Adapting and optimizing the OpenEdge 2500 will allow us to deliver much desired digital-ready capabilities to both government and enterprise users, whether on COTP terminals deployed in the electronic battlefield, or to New Space and research organizations at the forefront of signal processing, virtualization and cloud connectivity.”

Other advantages of the OpenEdge 2500 that will help antenna manufacturers better support their customers, especially when compared to alternative digitization equipment and processes include:

  • Increased operational efficiency: Operational integration occurs at the board level as an embedded component within the antenna. As a result, the OpenEdge 2500 does not require its own space, power or temperature control or a separate enclosure.
  • Low size, weight and power: The OpenEdge 2500 was designed for maximum performance at the farthest edge of the network. At less than an inch tall, the OpenEdge 2500 is less than one-third the size of today's smallest digitizers and architected specifically to fit most antenna form factors, with alternate configurations for unique platforms coming.
  • Rugged Design: The OpenEdge 2500 can withstand shock, vibration, wide temperature and humidity ranges and other environmental factors, making it ideal for terminals on the move or in contested or challenging locations.
  • Native block up converters (BUC) and low noise block converters (LNB) Support: Power and frequency references are supplied automatically from the OpenEdge 2500, enabling streamlined operations with any needed signal-enhancing equipment such as BUC or LNB.
  • wideband global satcom satellites (WGS) ready: The OpenEdge 2500 is built ready to work with WGS, the backbone of the U.S. military's wideband satellite communications capability. WGS provides worldwide, high-capacity communications for U.S. Government Agencies, the Department of Defense, international partners and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • OpenEdge products are part of Kratos' OpenSpace® Platform, supporting Kratos' ongoing effort to bring satellite services into the communications mainstream by digitally enabling ground systems to operate seamlessly with today's wireless and terrestrial networks.

"Digitizing at the antenna is the critical first step in the digital transformation of satellite ground systems," said Kevin Tobias, director of edge product management at Kratos. "With digital antennas powered by the OpenEdge 2500, antenna manufacturers can help their customers get fast, assured data transport over any IP network. They can also provide their customers with the ability to leverage IP networking and cloud architectures and fully virtualized and orchestrated operations to achieve their business goals."