The 2012 Summer Olympics in London were the most-watched television event in U.S. history, attracting over 219 million viewers over 17 days of coverage. Intelsat has worked to deliver Olympic coverage via satellite since 1968, and this year we saw the opportunity to test technology to improve all satellite communications.
Satellite interference is a serious problem that costs the industry millions of dollars each year. The London Games were a perfect opportunity to try Digital Carrier Identification technology, more commonly known as Carrier ID. Carrier ID is a stamp on uplink signals that enable satellite operators to more efficiently trace the source of transmissions to their satellites and thereby speed the remediation of any signal interference.
Two versions of Carrier ID were used in London – Network Identification Table (NIT) and the proposed Comtech Carrier ID method. Several vendors provided equipment for the testing, and Intelsat did not need to use the capability to resolve any interference issues.
Interference wasn’t required to prove the effectiveness of Carrier ID, however. The success of the test was demonstrated by the ability of monitoring systems to extract and read the codes. It was also demonstrated to users and operators that Carrier ID had no effect on the signal — it was implemented seamlessly and with no issues.
The successful demonstration of the Comtech Carrier ID technology was very important because in February 2013, it is up for approval by an internationally recognized body, the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), as the industry standard. Plus, the OIympic experiment served as a test bed for a Carrier ID database, being developed in partnership with the Space Data Association (SDA).
Intelsat is a member of the Satellite Interference Reduction Group, which sponsored the testing in London and works with satellite operators worldwide on interference issues. Intelsat continues to play a leadership role in mitigating signal interference and space situational awareness.