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Checking Under the Hood

Think about all the truly mediocre products that have made it to market. Your list might differ from mine, but I would include McDonald’s hamburgers, Wonder Bread and those exploding hoverboards.

Now for all of those disappointing products that somehow made it, think about the high quality products out there that haven’t gotten the notice they deserve.

I don’t know about you. But I really think it should be easier these days.

auto-1599628_640Back when I went to purchase my first car, my parents told me one thing: do your research. And I did. That research included reading all of the automotive magazines I could get my hands on to answer my questions; How many cylinders? What is the gas mileage? What kind of transmission? This pre-Internet research took time, but I knew how important it was that I understood what I wanted and then found the best car to fit those requirements.

Today, the Internet allows us to conduct research very quickly. But as we speed through information, are we being as thorough in our analysis?

Take X-band for example. This frequency is sometimes ignored and often misunderstood, yet we have a great product – one that is technically and operationally superior to any other commercial satellite capability out there.

Are purchasers still doing their research? Are they digging down to make sure that the solution they select fully meets the end user requirements for the person in the field providing real time situational awareness in theater to decision makers in Fort Bragg, Colorado Springs or Omaha? Are they looking at:

Efficiencies. XTAR can achieve 0.54 bits/Hz when Ku-band HTS satellites can only achieve 0.26 bits/Hz.

Resilience. Rain fade at Ku-band and Ka-band need 2.7 dB and 8dB respectively of additional power margin to maintain the same link availability as any X-band link.

Performance. XTAR can achieve QPSK bandwidth limited operation when Ku-band has to use spread spectrum techniques to close the links into small remote antennas.

Satellite communications are a vital piece of military equipment and deserve a thorough inspection and analysis. Before you purchase, make sure you check under the hood.