The BMLA+ is a unique product that provides telecommunications equipment operators the ability to continuously monitor their IF and RF data links for equalization performance without taking the link off-line. Product highlights include:
In-orbit test capable
Group delay and amplitude measurements
Robust test criteria configuration
Analyze the entire transponder or just a portion of the transponder
Remote monitoring of on-going testing
CW signal generator
Jam unused satellite bandwidth
Intelsat, the leading provider of fixed satellite services worldwide, states:
“At Intelsat, our customers depend on our reliability for both mission critical and routine communications. The BMLA+ enables us to measure amplitude and group delay characteristics on a communications link without degrading service or the need to temporarily bring down the link in order to make the measurement. It is important to ensure that amplitude and group delay is optimized to obtain the best performance when using higher order modulation schemes. We have BMLA+ systems in use at our Teleports in the United States and Germany, and hope our customers help maintain the links using a cooperating BMLA+ to ensure optimum performance.”
In-Orbit Test and Equalization
In today’s market it is essential for companies to get the maximum return on investment from all its resources in order to be successful. The BMLA+ is here to assist with your satellite communications link quality without impacting your satellite link revenue stream. And the BMLA+ is not just for satellite communications, it can assist in improving the quality on any IF or RF data link too.
Wideband high data rate signals are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s communications environments. These signals have very narrow bit widths and each bit is composed of a wide bandwidth of frequency components. The arrival times (Group Delay) and levels (Amplitudes) of each frequency component are critical to the proper demodulation of the data signal at the receiving end of the link. Equalization, which corrects for Group Delay and Amplitude distortion, is critical to overall performance of the data link. Typical measurement systems require the operator to remove the revenue carrying traffic to check equalization. This leads to down time and loss of revenue. Companies often opt to use modems with an adaptive equalizer to solve their equalization issues, however, this solution doesn’t get the desired results; refer to the white paper “Why modems with adaptive equalizers aren’t enough” for more details. Leaving the equalization unchecked causes the continued use of a link in a sub-optimal condition, which in turn reduces quality and ultimately reduces revenue.
The BMLA+ allows an operator to check the Group Delay and Amplitude measurements in order to monitor equalization issues without interruption of the revenue carrying traffic, allowing the operator to maintain an optimal performing link without costly downtime or reduced quality and revenues. The system uses a Patented waveform created by a synthesized frequency source, transmitted in 50µsec bursts, to cover a selected frequency bandwidth in a step size that depends on the resolution selected. The measurements are then averaged over a selected number of frames. The BMLA+ performs real time measurements on an occupied link.
The BMLA+ can measure any IF or RF link including satellite transponders, even satellite transponders with large cross-pole interference signals without any effects on the BMLA+ Group Delay and Amplitude measurements. This is an important feature when starting up a new satellite where cross-pole issues have not yet been resolved.
The RF BMLA+ has built-in RF Converters for L, C, and/or Ku bands to provide for injection of the BMLA+ signal anywhere in the RF chain. This allows an operator to isolate the specific area of equalization issues.
Measurement Test Configurations
Customizing the BMLA+ measurement parameters has never been easier. An easy-to-use PC Windows interface is used to set all the measurement parameters and execute the test measurement. Parameters such as frequency bandwidth, resolution, center frequency, impedance, receive display persistence (the amount of averaging prior to display of response), and spectral inversion are user configurable. The operator can also set frequencies to skip to avoid transmitting at frequencies occupied by narrow band modems that tend to operate at lower transmission levels.
Normalization, the ability to subtract one measurement from another, also allows the user to remove responses of any or all of the following: the RF converter(s), separate chains within the link and cables or anything an operator would like to remove from the displayed response to ease the equalization process. The BMLA+ allows up to 4 measurements to be normalized from the displayed data.
Monitor On-going Tests Remotely
Communication between the PC software and the transmitter or receiver is done via the Ethernet. One mode of operation, Monitor Rx, allows an operator to view measurements being done without having any control over the receiver hardware. The operator only needs to know the IP address of the Receiver. This is a useful tool to allow third parties, management, or support personnel to view and consult on ongoing measurements.
CW Signal Generator
The typical use for the BMLA+ CW feature is to determine the best BMLA+ Group Delay & Amplitude measurement configuration; however, it can be used strictly as a synthesized signal generator. The BMLA+ can operate as a synthesized signal generator by setting the system to CW Transmit mode and configuring the power level and frequency of the CW tone. The valid values for power level is -70 to -30 dBm in 1 dBm steps, and the frequency is 50 – 180 MHz in 0.1 MHz steps.