Today’s L-Band Terminal Architecture
The state-of-the-art today is the L-Band terminal capable of handling over a hundred signals per satellite link.
Initial Transition: L-Band Insertion
The first step in transitioning to an all-digital architecture is to introduce Digital IF sub-networks into today’s state-of-the-art L-Band terminals. The technology for Digital to L-Band IF conversion technology is mature. The evidence is its proliferation in modern modems. For initial insertion, a Digital IF signal chain can be terminated at any L-band switch port presently used by L-Band modems.
As Digital IF sub-networks proliferate into terminals, it will gradually become more advantageous to move the digital insertion point past the L-Band switch and Inter-Facility Link (IFL) directly to the block up and down converters (BUC/BDC).
Medium-Term Development: RF Conversion
As Digital to RF conversion technology matures, it will become possible to accomplish direct digital converstion to and from RF.
Final Transition: Complete Digital IF Terminal
Once Digital to RF conversion technology matures to the commodity level, suppliers will integrate Digital IF to RF converters into HPAs and RF to Digital IF converters into LNAs. The terminal IF interface will be Ethernet, whether digital fiber or twisted pair, directly to the HPA and the LNA.
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