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Nexgen MILSATCOM Exploring emerging trends + innovations in SDRs
Brandon Malatest, Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Per Vices


Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) plays a critical role in ensuring secure and reliable communication for defense operations. With the advancement of technology, Software-Defined Radios (SDRs) have emerged as a revolutionary solution in the field of MILSATCOM.

SDRs are versatile devices that use software algorithms to perform a wide range of communication functions traditionally carried out by dedicated hardware. In the context of MILSATCOM, SDRs provide increased flexibility, adaptability, and efficiency compared to traditional radio systems. They enable dynamic reconfiguration, improved spectrum utilization, and simplified upgrades, making them indispensable in military communication systems.

In the dynamic landscape of MILSATCOM, SDRs have emerged as game-changers, bringing unprecedented capabilities and transforming the way military operations are conducted. Two key advancements in SDR technology, namely high bandwidth and high channel count, have garnered significant attention due to their potential to revolutionize MILSATCOM. These innovations offer a new era of possibilities, providing military personnel with enhanced communication capabilities, rapid data transmission speeds, and improved coordination across diverse units.

High Bandwidth SDRs revolutionize data transmission and reception, significantly reducing timeframes for handling large data volumes. Through their use of advanced modulation schemes, wider frequency ranges, and efficient signal processing techniques, these high bandwidth SDRs achieve accelerated data rates, proving invaluable in MILSATCOM scenarios. Their implementation facilitates the rapid dissemination of critical information, empowering military personnel with real-time intelligence and bolstering situational awareness.

Furthermore, high bandwidth SDRs play a pivotal role in optimizing command and control capabilities, facilitating prompt decision-making processes.

A prime example of their effectiveness can be witnessed in tactical military vehicles, where high bandwidth SDRs enable real-time video streaming, data-intensive applications, and high-speed file transfers.

This deployment equips military personnel with vital information, enabling them to make well-informed decisions swiftly. High bandwidth SDRs provide a powerful advantage in various military applications, bringing efficiency and speed to data communication and ultimately enhancing operational effectiveness.

High Channel Count SDRs prove indispensable in addressing the intricate communication demands of the MILSATCOM landscape. Their ability to handle multiple communication channels simultaneously becomes a vital requirement, given the diverse purposes encompassing voice communication, data transmission, and video conferencing. By efficiently managing numerous channels at once, high channel count SDRs effectively streamline communication operations enabling seamless coordination across various military units.

The true power of high channel count SDRs comes to the forefront in military command centers, where they establish secure, real-time communication channels with multiple units on the ground, in the air, and at sea. This enhanced communication capability fosters synchronized actions, coordinated responses, and improved interoperability between different military branches, ultimately amplifying the overall effectiveness of joint operations.

SDRs optimize spectrum use by dynamically adapting to changing communication requirements and frequency bands. This flexibility is crucial in MILSATCOM, where frequency bands may be subject to interference or regulation. SDRs enable efficient use of available spectrum resources, minimizing signal degradation and enhancing overall communication reliability. Furthermore, the ability to reconfigure SDRs remotely allows for swift adaptation to evolving mission needs and changing operational environments.

While high bandwidth and high channel count SDRs offer immense benefits, their implementation in MILSATCOM is not without challenges. Technological limitations, hardware requirements, and cost considerations, must be addressed to ensure successful integration and deployment of these advanced systems. Furthermore, interoperability with existing communication infrastructure and compatibility with legacy systems may pose additional challenges.

Luckily, high performance SDRs, such as Per Vices Cyan SDR, are specifically designed to address and mitigate the challenges associated with implementing high bandwidth and high channel count SDRs in MILSATCOM scenarios.

These advanced systems leverage cuttingedge technologies and innovative solutions to overcome the challenges observed when utilizing lower performance SDRs. This is accomplished through the following:

Technological Limitations
High performance SDRs are engineered with state-of-the-art hardware and signal processing capabilities, pushing the boundaries of what is technically achievable. They incorporate the latest modulation schemes and frequency range adaptability to optimize data rates and overcome bandwidth limitations. By harnessing the power of advanced hardware components, these SDRs can efficiently handle complex communication tasks, ensuring seamless transmission and reception of data across multiple channels.

Hardware Requirements
To address concerns about hardware requirements and compatibility, high performance SDRs are designed with flexibility in mind. These systems offer modular architectures, allowing for customizable configurations that can adapt to different MILSATCOM needs and integrate with existing infrastructure. This modular approach ensures cost-effectiveness by enabling users to upgrade specific components instead of replacing entire systems when technological advancements occur.

Cost Considerations
Many vendors may offer different product lines to specifically strike a balance between cutting- edge technology and cost-effectiveness. By optimizing the use of hardware and adopting efficient signal processing techniques, these SDRs are designed to offer best performance in different classes along with the best value for each class. As a result, the overall cost of ownership and deployment is reduced, making them more accessible to military organizations with budget constraints.

Interoperability and Legacy Systems
To address interoperability challenges with existing communication infrastructure and compatibility with legacy systems, high performance SDRs support a wide range of communication protocols and standards. They are designed to seamlessly integrate into diverse communication networks, bridging the gap between legacy systems and modern technologies. Additionally, high performance SDRs offer backward compatibility to ensure smooth migration and coexistence with older equipment.

As the next generation of MILSATCOM unfolds, the significance of high bandwidth and high channel count SDRs cannot be overstated. These innovations empower military organizations with enhanced communication capabilities, faster data transmission speeds, increased capacity for simultaneous channels, and improved spectrum efficiency.

By embracing these emerging trends, defense forces can leverage the power of SDR technology to strengthen their communication infrastructure, optimize operational efficiency, and achieve mission success in the ever- evolving landscape of modern warfare. While challenges exist, high performance SDRs can offer an excellent solution for the current and future needs of MILSATCOM and aim to revolutionize military communications.

Brandon Malatest

Author Brandon Malatest is the COO and co-founder of Per Vices Corporation, a leader in Software Defined Radio technology. Brandon has an honour’s degree in Physics with a specialization in Experimental Physics from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. On graduating, Brandon started his career as a research analyst and statistician at one of the largest market research firms in Canada and later joined Victor Wollesen to co-found Per Vices. Since starting Per Vices, Brandon has authored many thought leadership articles based on software defined radio (SDR) technology.