Beamforming chip for flat panel LEO satellite terminals

Beamforming chip for flat panel LEO satellite terminals

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By Nick Flaherty

UK design house Ensilica is to supply a beamformer chip for the next generation of flat Ka-band satellite terminals.

VITES in Germany will use the chip at the heart of its ViSAT-Ka terminal for a more power- and cost-efficient terminal for both fixed and mobile satellite communication systems.

VITES specialises in broadband wireless systems for professional applications and has been delivering flat panel terminals based on its own phased array technology since 2019.

The ViSAT-ka terminal uses a scalable architecture that enables more power efficient TDD and FDD terminals and is intended to be integrated into vehicles for Communications-on-the Move applications. As such it is able to track the movement of low earth orbit (LEO) and other non geosynchronous (NGSO) satellites to provide high-speed connectivity anywhere on the planet while a ground-based or maritime vehicle is moving.

Ensilica has developed a number of custom mixed signal chips for satellite systems, including a Ka and Ku band terminal chip for the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems Core Competitiveness programme (ARTES CC) for the European Space Agency, as well as an ASIC for the BlueWalker 3 5G satellite system launched by AST SpaceMobile.

“EnSilica has been investing in this area for several years working closely with the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and VITES GmbH. VITES have provided clear terminal requirements so we have been able to optimise our solution for the market. This beamformer chip can be paired with a range of Ka- and Ku-band RFICs including our own EN92030 allowing it to cover the various LEO or GEO constellations,“ said Paul Morris, VP of the RF and communications business unit at EnSilica.

“For the upcoming NGSO-constellations, quantum leap solutions are required in order to drive performance up, while driving cost and power consumption down. Our new ViSAT-Ka-Band terminals are the solution to these challenges. We’re delighted to be partnering with EnSilica and working closely with them on leading SOTM solutions that are delivering broadband connectivity even when there is no access to terrestrial networks,” said Martin Gassner, CEO of VITES.


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