Making SatCom simple
Soldier Modernisation talks to Ulf Sandberg, founder & managing director, Paradigm
SWARM in use on the RAF100 Himalayan Expedition - internet in a backpack
Q: Many people will be aware of the name Paradigm, could you tell us about the background of the company and the geographic regions you supply in?
A: Paradigm was founded in 1996 with two very clear guiding principles; to simplify satellite communications and to add value for our customers. Engineering led from the outset, the company supplies, distributes, integrates and manufactures satellite communications equipment – from manpacks to earth stations.
Year on year, Paradigm has consistently expanded operations, whilst maintaining that clear focus on simplifying satcom and adding value. With first class software engineering, product design and integration teams, Paradigm is manufacturing superior, simple-to-use, PIM®-based satellite terminals for a global customer base.
Paradigm has specifically made huge advances in simplifying the setup and pointing processes, and modularising terminals for rapid deployment. With skillsets in software, installation, baseband management and RF, their teams of engineers have successfully created stand out products that are now standardised on by key user groups such as the United Nations and the Global SOF Community.
Paradigm’s market penetration couldn’t have been possible without the strong support of a global sales and operations team, which includes reseller/VAR partners, maximising their presence around the world
With business centred on satellite communications equipment, it becomes obvious why global sales are the only way forward. By not being restricted to geographical regions, access has been enabled to a variety of markets, catering for global commercial, NGO, military and government requirements. Whilst customers might dictate local operations, Paradigm ensures that their products and equipment are capable for global operation.
Q: Could you explain what a ‘PIM-Enabled Terminal’ is and how they link into military communication systems for the transfer of voice and data?
A: The popularity of Paradigm’s products has been based on the development of the PIM - the Paradigm Interface Module – an environmentally rugged terminal controller designed to provide a common level of operation to all satellite terminals. Its simplicity and ease-of-use has made it extremely popular and it has also been integrated into many non-Paradigm terminals to enable quick and rapid access to key satellite constellations and networks.
The PIM minimises training, not only because it is so straightforward to use but because it is integrated into so many different terminals. They make it easy for non-skilled users to setup and point a satellite terminal, simplifying a process to one that only requires basic training at most. Actions such as pointing the terminal, getting it operational on a satellite and transmitting and receiving data can now take less than a minute to perform with the user guided by easy-to-follow, simple instructions delivered via the PIM’s basic unit interface.
Consequently, by avoiding the requirement for trained satcom engineers to setup, point and operate satellite terminals, satellite communications has become more accessible for the mobile dismounted soldier. Less training is required than before to enable the setup of reliable communications in any location and to provide higher bandwidth than previously available from other comms equipment with comparable training requirements. Soldiers can then focus more easily and quickly on the task in hand, supported by equipment delivering much higher bandwidth for fixed, or on-the-move use.
To assist the operator to point the satellite terminal, the PIM provides all the required cues using the on-board control interface; no spectrum analysers, laptops, PC’s or external equipment is necessary. The user follows straightforward visual guidance, with optional audio guidance available. These simple-to-follow instructions are all that’s needed to enable rapid, accurate terminal pointing.
The ruggedised PIM represents an easy-to-use interface across many different satellite terminals, thus enabling Armed Forces to standardise on equipment. Additionally, the technical agility and versatility of the PIM allows it to be integrated with all types of satcom terminals and modem technologies; so other manufacturers can, and do, use it as the brain of their system, further standardising the process of satellite communication.
PIM-enabled HORNET terminals - lightweight and portable © Paradigm Communication Systems Ltd.
Q: Can you explain some of the features of the main PIM-Enabled Terminal that are currently available?
A: By integrating the PIM into Paradigm’s and other manufacturer’s satellite terminals, and by supporting a multitude of different satcom modems, it means that today’s satcom operator needs only to train on one terminal - and then put that training to work across all others. By reducing the training requirements and reducing the differences between terminals down to situational and environmental driven features, the PIM has enabled a range of satcom terminals that meet every operational need.
The ‘internet in a backpack’: for maximum high speed data throughput in an ultra-portable, low powered solution, the SWARM® terminal offers a 90 second assembly, giving today’s modern dismounted soldier maximum communications capability in one easy to carry backpack. The SWARM was used by the RAF in 2018 to send video and high resolution images back from extreme altitude locations in the Himalayas during HV18, the principal expedition of RAF100.
The lightweight HORNET terminals are designed to balance high-speed data throughput with portability. Maintaining the courier-friendly and airline compliant case design, the HORNET terminals provide a positive balance between weight, ruggedness and data throughput.
The CONNECT100T terminal is a tough, resilient three-case terminal that can be transported by commercial courier and taken on board commercial airlines. It’s designed for a longer-term temporary installation, providing maximum data throughput, thus ideal for HQ-level communications. It is in use by UN OCHA to provide a longer term communication backbone following an initial communications setup with the SWARM.
Paradigm’s new MANTA® product is capable of providing communications on-the-pause and on-the-go with rapid vehicle mounting and is still a one case airline checkable solution. It removes the need for satellite terminal pointing entirely, utilising flat panel hardware and software controlled beam forming technology. All the user needs to do is “just add power”, either via the vehicle or vessel’s DC or from regular AC. The MANTA can ensure constant connectivity and routes any device connected to it to Wi-Fi, cellular or satellite depending on real time availability, service weighting and/or least cost. The MANTA+ option has recently been adopted by the United States Special Operations Forces community.
Q: These terminals are in use throughout the world, could you talk us through where and the climatic differences they can handle?
A: Paradigm’s approach to a global market place is very noticeable in the design and operation of their range of portable satellite terminals. The terminals are designed for operation in extreme and demanding environments and climates and all are field-proven to meet the tough and exacting requirements of military use.
From operations in the desert providing broadcast-quality video network connectivity to operations at extreme altitude in ultra-cold temperatures to maintain welfare data communication channels, all terminals are operational in theatre. They provide simple, easy to deploy and use satcom, tried and tested, with operations standardised across the range.
Q: Where could people see or trial these products and what is next for Paradigm?
A: Paradigm is constantly supporting both commercial and military events and exhibitions around the world, with the range of PIM-enabled terminals and Paradigm’s terminal design and engineering capability all on display. The website https://paracomm.co.uk is always up-to-date with details of these. Additionally demonstrations can be arranged for key global locations by contacting our sales teams on firstname.lastname@example.org