Common Test Bed for DVB-RCS Terminals


DVB-RCS is the open standard specification developed by DVB for the provision of the interaction channel for GEO satellite interactive networks with fixed user terminals. The interoperability of user terminals is of paramount importance if the key benefits of having an open standard are to be best exploited. To achieve the goal of interoperability and documented compliance with the DVB-RCS standard, it is necessary to perform qualification testing of terminals in a special test bed developed for this purpose.


This project has resulted in such a Common Test Bed for DVB-RCS terminals (CTB) with the required test equipment hardware and software for certifying compliance and interoperability. The CTB has been handed over to an independent test house (CETECOM) responsible for testing and certification of DVB-RCS terminals on behalf of The SatLabs Group. So far 9 terminals have been certified using the CTB. A second CTB has been delivered and is in use for training and support purposes.



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The SatLabs Group ( manages the terminal certification process.

The SatLabs Group has released the enhanced profiles 1.3 and 2.0 that include interoperability of QoS, Management, Control and DVB-S2 functionality, including the software download MSDP protocol and I-PEP specifications.

The CTB is now ready for the certification testing of terminals according to the SatLabs 1.3 and 2.1 profiles.


The main development activities were:

  • Link Emulator
    RF conversion unit, integrated noise generator and wideband burst counter
  • Test Controller
    The Test Controller is designed to handle the large number (400+) of test cases required for the certification program. The Test Controller includes the commercially available analysis module 'VeriSat DVB-RCS Forward and Return Link Analyser'. The Test Controller generates all required signalling tables and performs NCR generation and IP encapsulation.

The Common Test Bed allows the certification of DVB-RCS terminals, which is an important step in achieving terminal interoperability. The outcomes so far have resulted in an important contribution to the development of a compact Hub Emulator well suited to support cost-effective DVB-RCS terminal development.


The Test Bed facilitates testing of DVB-RCS terminals performed at L-band.  The test suite range from basic RCS signalling tests, RCST management and control and end-to-end QoS IP application tests, including MSDP and I-PEP capabilities. The CTB has a compact hardware implementation with 2 Windows PCs, a modulator and a burst demodulator as the main elements. The Common Test Bed block diagram is shown to the right.     


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The green modules are Commercial Off The Shelf Equipment, including the BMDv2 (Burst Mode Demodulator) provided by Thales Alenia Space Antwerpen. The Link Emulator (developed by Erzia) performs RF conversion between the terminal and the Test Controller, DVB-S/S2 modulator and burst demodulator.


The development started on 1 December 2004. The CTB has been operational since June 2005. The ongoing upgrade for SatLabs 1.3 and 2.1 testing is now completed. DVB-S2 CCM testing has been available since September 2008. ACM support is still not available for certification due to the current lack of compliant terminals.

Current status

The CTB upgrade for supporting QoS, Management, Control (including MSDP and I-PEP functionality) and DVB-S2 CCM/VCM/ACM functionality has been validated at Cetecom. The SatLabs 1.3 and 2.1 certification program has been in operation since July 2009.