A new generation for DVB-RCS
19 Apr 2011
Specifications for the second generation of the digital video broadcasting-return channel satellite (DVB-RCS) standard have been approved and published under the name RCS2. A wide panel of experts participated in this two-year effort, one of the largest efforts ever undertaken in satellite communications standardisation.
ESA has been supporting the development of DVB-RCS through the industry group SatLabs, internal research and development activities as well as ARTES industrial activities. In particular, ESA led the RCS2 Study group, also supported by the ARTES-1 activity called Second Generation DVB-RCS Standardisation Support. The study group evaluated the various new technology proposals and made recommendations to DVB.
In early 2009, the DVB group issued a mandate to develop next generation RCS specifications to offer a state-of-the-art standard solution to the quickly developing consumer market as well as the corporate, backhaul, and military markets. The panel of experts included members of the VSAT industry as well as research institutes.
DVB-RCS is the only multi-vendor VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) standard. It was conceived to provide a standardised broadband interactivity connection as an extension of the DVB satellite systems. It defines the air interface waveform and protocols used between the satellite operator’s hub and the interactive user terminals. It embraces the DVB-S and the DVB-S2 standards implemented in the commercial broadcasting environment.
Low cost VSAT equipment can provide highly dynamic transmission capacity to residential and commercial/institutional users. DVB-RCS provides users with the equivalent of a DSL or cable internet connection, without the cables and the infrastructure that is needed to support the cables. DVB-RCS can provide in excess of 20 megabit per second to each terminal on the outbound (forward) link, and up to five megabits or more from each terminal on the inbound (return) link. The standard was first published by ETSI in 2000 as EN 301 790.
The latest DVB-RCS market survey carried by SatLabs showed a continuation of the positive trend of RCS acceptance by the market. By mid-2010, more than 370 DVB-RCS networks were deployed worldwide, serving more than 180,000 terminals.
“After a dozen meetings attended by 30 people on average, more than 10,000 hours of work, and more than 50,000 CPU hours of simulations, the second generation interactive DVB Satellite System (RCS2) was approved and published in March 2011,” says Stephane Combes, Ground Segment Engineer at ESA.
DVB-RCS2 will allow a dramatic increase in user data rates and satellite link efficiency while allowing cost efficient user terminal implementations.
According to Jens Krause, senior manager for Communications Systems Development at SES Astra: “The DVB-RCS2 specification will support interoperability between equipment from different manufacturers much better than the first generation DVB-RCS specification did. The interoperability is of advantage for network operators and users in many areas of broadband satellite communications.“
Andy Hoyle, Chief Engineer for Secure Satcom Systems at EADS ASTRIUM Services, declared: “Having actively participated throughout the development of DVB-RCS2, Astrium is glad to see the publication of the new DVB Blue Books for the Lower Layers and System and is looking forward to implementing the new standard in future products and services.”
Two RCS2 documents are available for download by clicking on links in the column to the right. The first presents the system specifications for RCS2, providing an overview of the system. The second is a specification of the lower layers and the lower layer embedded signalling for the management and control. A third document – which will describe the higher layers of the system – will become available in June 2011. ESA is currently the Editor of the Implementation Guidelines document which will provide further details on system configurations and implementation.
"The DVB-RCS2 specifications include state-of-the-art digital transmission techniques which also fit the need of Ka-band broadband multi-spot beam satellites", said Alberto Ginesi, Head of the Communication and TT&C Systems and Techniques Section at ESA.
Other ARTES activities that have contributed to DVB-RCS as well as contact information are listed in the column to the right.
Last Update: 11 May 2011