A gamut of new Global Xpress technologies including new and existing applications are poised to enter the market following Inmarsat’s launch of its Global Xpress network. This will see the introduction of many new GX applications and services that will enforce the benefits of high speed connectivity which is so greatly in demand across all segments: land, air and sea.
All new GX apps will need to be thoroughly tested before entering service. In today’s cost-conscious satellite communications world where every dollar counts, developers will look for new ways to shave costs in their valuable GX development programs.
So, let’s consider the costs of “fat v lean testing” a new GX satellite service.
In hardware terms, you first need a terminal and antenna. The average cost of a terminal to test the new service is $30,000. In addition, it’s fairly large and cumbersome and in the event of rain, sleet or snow, you’ll need a tent or other form of cover. Add air time into the operation and the budget is stretched.
So, what about “lean testing”? For the past decade, GateHouse Telecom has become the leading independent provider of complete embedded software within Inmarsat’s BGAN system. Today, of the approximate 120,000 active BGAN terminals in use, around 50% have been activated using GateHouse’s licensed BGAN software.
The firm has now turned its expertise to “lean testing” for the Global Xpress network and has developed a new in-situ testing and expo demo tool for Global Xpress solutions called the Global Xpress Link Emulator (GLE).
The tool is small – about the size of a Garmin GPS and costs just $12,000. It emulates all the procedures of on-air, ex-situ testing, but in a controlled environment. They can test multiple SSPCs, possible signal degradation scenarios caused by storms or blockage, simulate traffic congestion scenarios, optimise for minimum airtime usage and much, much more.
So, fat or lean testing? Why spend $30,000 instead of just $12,000 to test a new GX app? That is the real question. And the answer seems obvious.