European Space Agency



The MiniT (Mini Terminal) aims to make a significant step in establishing satellite communication in the broadband IP world. Taking this step at this point in time means the current market requirements will be met as well as the satellite operators' coming change in business paradigm.

The Internet defines the reference in communication from a cost and operational point of view. The MiniT makes an important step in positioning Satcom properly in the internet world. The MiniT provides broadband satcom at a lower transmission cost with high installation and operational comfort:  

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  • The MiniT ODU (Outdoor Unit) consists of the planar antenna, the LNB and the interface to the Indoor unit. The design target of the ODU is a dramatic size reduction for satcom broadband receiver antennas and a simpler installation.  The MiniT ODU will be developed into a production-ready prototype and integrated into the overall system.


  • The MiniT IDU (InDoor Unit) includes an optimized air interface for low Eb/N0 and high interference conditions. The MiniT IDU will be developed into a production-ready prototype and integrated into the overall system. The MiniT IDU is a small sized box using state of the art DSP/FPGA technology. All the components will be integrated into a complete system and will be verified in ND SatCom's verification office.


  • The MiniT Modulator is the core component of the transmit station for MiniT services. The modulator includes paketising, coding, spreading and modulation. It defines the coder and with that the MiniT specific air interface. The hubstation is completed with the content distribution S/W, based on off the shelf products and a program guide generator. The hubstation also includes the Network and the Terminal Management System.


Commercial requirements, user requirements and technical requirements determine the system design. Because of the specific satellite configuration - the system is designed for the use of satellites positioned in an inclined orbit - the requirements of the satellite operator play a major role in the system design. The satellite specific conditions are evaluated by a specific link budget WP.


The target of a small antenna requires a special focus on the optimisation of the air interface. On network layers the DVB standard will be used, but on physical layers a more sophisticated air interface with optimised Eb/N0 and interference suppression characteristic will be designed. The air interface will provide operation modes allowing reception of signals at very low SNIR. This also allows the use of the terminal in very critical interference scenarios. Based on the component specifications the High Level Design HLD of the MiniT terminal and the MiniT modulator are realised.


The table to the right illustrates the key targets of the project. Through the use of the inclined orbit satellites the transmission cost/Mbyte is reduced significantly. A part of the 'cheap bandwidth' is used to provide an air interface for small terminals. The resulting improvement of acceptance and reduction of transmission cost will be the base of the MiniT´s market success:  

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  • The Internet as entertainment medium with corresponding broadband multicast content requires an efficient multicast contribution network with Internet like features as provided by the MiniT.


  • The bandwidth growth shifts from Television Broadcast to IP networks. The satellite operators are aware of this situation. This is the main reason SES Astra are supporting this project.


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  The MiniT network connects Content Servers as data sources and Host-PCs as data destinations. Building blocks of the MiniT network are the Hub, the Satellite and the MiniT terminals. Together with the standard equipment for satellite data transmission the Hub contains the MiniT Modulator. The MiniT Modulator is in charge of the encoding part of the DVB-MiniT protocol. The decoding part is embedded in the MiniT IDU demodulator.


The characteristic feature of the inclined orbit satellite makes the ODU special: the small rectangular shape of the antenna allows the reception of an inclined orbit satellite describing an 8 shaped figure without the need for satellite tracking.


The MiniT terminal consists of two main parts: the IDU and the ODU. They are connected via an L-Band cable. The components may be colocated, but they may also be operated in different locations. The length of the cabling will be comparable to a normal SATdish-TV installation. The MiniT will be managed remotely over the Sat link or from the Host-PC using a browser interface.


The two core technical targets for the MiniT terminal are:


  • ODU focussed: Small planar antenna to improve operational properties of satcom and to make use of inclined orbit satellites


  • IDU focussed: Air interface for optimized bandwidth efficiency at low Eb/N0 and high interference conditions at receive side


  • High Level Design completed
  • 1st Prototype ready: February 2005
  • 2nd Prototype ready: August 2005
  • Final Review: October 2005

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Current status

The Project is Completed.

Status date

Monday, September 13, 2010 - 18:38