European Space Agency



The project develops engineering and planning tools for VSAT networks based on the SkyWAN® product family.

The objectives are to support:

  • Topology and connectivity modelling,
  • Traffic modelling and carrier sizing,
  • TDMA network planning,
  • Link budget with automatic footprint disadvantage calculation,
  • Transmission power control calculation,
  • Overall model analysis and consistency checks.

The target is a powerful tool for governmental customers and similar organizations doing frequent reconfigurations of their networks due to e.g. changing mission areas. Crisis management and missions in changing parts of the world also are growing applications. These customers use the network planning and engineering tool as a part of the overall network management system.



  • The system will provide a so-far unknown network planning and engineering support for SkyWAN networks.
  • This support will be specially appreciated by the customers who from time to time require complete re-configurations of their network or who built networks in different areas of operation, which require a complete new engineering, planning, and configuration.
  • The SkyNMS-NPT complements ideally with the SkyNMS and extends the overall network management and line-up with a planning and engineering functionality.


The major benefits of the SkyNMS NPT are to support:

  • Critical missions for users that operate frequently changing networks,
  • The usage of different or changing satellites for different missions,
  • The reuse of networks in different regions of the world,
  • Network equipment including SkyWAN modems which need to be reconfigured especially for a mission,
  • Safe preparation of a network and comprehensive tool support, such that the system will start operations after deployment without any configuration problems or inconsistencies.


SkyNMS NPT provides network management support and applications that are used to safely prepare network configurations, including all planning and design tasks.

click for larger image

The SkyNMS NPT includes therefore functionality for the following tasks:

Perform link budget calculations, including

  • Geographic locations at which sites will be operated,
  • Rain model with the assumed rainfall probability at the time of the year or on average over a longer period,
  • Satellite data from a database while allowing easy updates for new satellites,
  • Maps for the selection of locations which automatically reference the geographic position and the local conditions,
  • Resulting information about the required power and antenna size, respectively possible data rate,
  • Warnings if the calculated traffic exceeds the link budget constraints,
  • SkyWAN mesh connectivity between the sites.

Perform TDMA network planning

  • Definition of the network’s TDMA frame size, burst size and superframe size.

Traffic modelling and carrier sizing

  • Based on a selectable and changeable traffic profile, which takes into account the connected equipment,
  • Deliver the TDMA-frame-structure for the respective network and its calculated traffic,
  • Provides it as a part of the network configuration.

Transmission power control calculation

  • To set the initial Transmit Power Control values.

Overall model analysis and consistency checks

  • Providing configuration parameters as part of the network configurations,
  • Check the consistency of network parameters and to compare them with the network traffic model and the equipment definition,
  • Generate the remaining parameters of the configurations required for e.g. network topology, IP etc.
  • As an outcome, automatically create a complete network parameter configuration, which can be loaded into SkyNMS, and downloaded by SkyNMS onto the stations in the network.

Figure: Footprint contours as shown in the mapper of the link budget tool

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The complete project follows the software development process with built-in reviews:

  • System requirements and overall system design for the components to be developed,
  • Preliminary Design Review,
  • Detailed Design of the Subsystems,
  • Critical Design Review,
  • Software implementation of subtasks,
  • Software integration,
  • NPT system integration testing,
  • Test Procedure and test preparation,
  • Quality Gate Review,
  • Handover to the Verification Team,
  • Verification and test report,
  • Documentation,
  • Final Review.

After the final review, the software is released as a SkyNMS NPT product release.


Current status

The development is completed. Final verification has been performed and the Final Review with ESA was passed.

Status date

Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 13:26