Broadband in the Sky - Belgacom DVB-RCS

  • Status
  • Status date

The DVB-RCS standard EN301790 provides the technological basis for two-way satellite IP communications.

Belgacom, together with Newtec, aim to develop a platform that supports the delivery of advanced IP based services to and through multiple service providers.

The main target is to provide the service providers with tools that allow them to define and deliver a service to their customers with minimal effort.

Belgacom, as a telecom company with existing IP based services, both terrestrial and satellite based, also targets to extend several services into the DVB-RCS satellite context. Examples for this are corporate VPN and content distribution solutions. The project consists of two steps. The first step will cover the development and implementation required to reach the above-mentioned targets. This is also done to prepare the second step, where these solutions will be validated in the context of a pilot test.


The key challenges are:

  • Management of resource sharing to enable multiple service providers using the system
  • Providing service provider operator management access to the system to enable them to manage their terminals
  • Security aspects of multiple operator access on management systems
  • Testing relevant usage scenarios

Create a shared two way DVB-RCS IP satellite communication platform that allows to lower operational costs for service providers, with attractive IP services for the end users.

The management tools do support easy provisioning, allowing cost efficient installation.


The target system consists of several building blocks:

  • Satellite
  • Customer premises equipment: outdoor unit, indoor unit and POP
  • Hub
    • RF subsystem: transmit and receive chain,
    • DVB-RCS Blade: ATM/IP conversion, routing, IP value added services (PEP, caching, etc), management and control components and the IP/DVB gateway (which also covers signalling for return link); interfaces to the internet backbone,
    • Management system: FCAPS management of hub and terminals, tools for hub operator and service provider operators.
  • Higher layer management: the MSPP platform is integrated in higher layer management systems
  • IP network: for connectivity to the internet backbone and to the service provider internet data centres
  • Service provider internet data centre: to allow a service provider to offer additional services to his end customers

The system supports multiple service providers by offering tools to the hub operator to define and implement SLAs for the service providers and by offering tools to the service provider operators to define and implement SLAs for their end customers. These tools also allow easy installation of the CPE equipment.


All FCAPS management functionality is also available, for hub and user terminals.

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T0: Kick-off (23/3/2003)

T0+3M: critical design review

T0+6M: implementation, ready for pilot testing

T0+12M: review of results

Current status

The pilot was successfully concluded. The service providers gave positive feedback on the concept of a shared hub.

They feel that the resource management guarantees them that the bandwidth they pay for is really at their disposal and under their control. The management and configuration tools allow easy provisioning and monitoring of the service for their customers. The security features implemented assure that each service provider gets a view on his part of the hub.

Traffic acceleration and prefetching features provide a great surf experience. The use of static public IP address opens opportunities for a wide range of applications.

The service is now commercially deployed. See text

Prime Contractor