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DVB-RCS Standard vs. LinkStar™

DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) Return Channel via Satellite (DVB-RCS), an ETSI standard, forms the specification for the provision of the interaction channel for satellite interactive networks with fixed return channel satellite terminals (RCST).

DVB-RCS networks build the platform for high-speed networks supporting all kinds of broadband services running on the Internet, such as broadband web-access, web TV, streaming video etc. DVB-RCS allows for cost efficient broadband satellite transmit and receive links. The system typically consists of a central RCS-Gateway for broadcast uplink and remote RCS-Terminal stations to connect the customers interactively to the network.

LinkStar™  is one implementation of the DVB-RCS standard. LinkStar™ uses the standardized forward link based on DVB/MPEG-2 data format, carrying up to 45 Mbps of traffic.The return link of up to 2 Mbps is based on a Multiple Frequency Time Division Multiple Access (MF-TDMA) scheme, as outlined by DVB-RCS.

Unfortunately the DVB-RCS standard currently does not treat all aspects of broadband satellite. DVB-RCS only defines the link and physical layers (OSI layers 1 & 2) but does not specify the equally important processing at upper layers. An example is TCP/IP acceleration, which is crucial for fast IP communication, and which remains proprietary. The result is that none of the DVB-RCS terminals today can be operated with a hub system from a different vendor. Vendors include NERA, Newtec, EMS and Viasat.

However, compatibility tests among DVB-RCS vendors, including Viasat (LinkStar™), are under way and the hope is that DVB-RCS may well become a global satellite standard with interoperability of the remote terminals. 

Fully standardized terminals would have, without any doubt, a dramatic downward effect on RCST hardware prices.


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