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Italian Virtual Event – Aerospace and Defense Breakout Room

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Italian Virtual Event – Aerospace and Defense – Transcript

Hello, I am Britt McGinn. I am the Sales and Product Manager for the Satcom (or Aerospace and Defense) products at Optical Zonu. We are joined by Dario Cinchetti from Sincron Sistemi, who will assist with any logistical items associated with this presentation and provide any translation that may be necessary. If you have any questions, please type those into the text chat on the right side of your screen and we will address those at the end of this meeting, or offline.

The topic of my presentation this morning are the capabilities of RF over fiber, RF signal transport over fiber, as it applies to solving problems in Aerospace and Defense applications.

Perhaps the most fundamental, or the most common, capability of RF over fiber that is leveraged in Aerospace and Defense applications, is fiber’s capability of transporting RF signals over very long distances, perhaps even 10s of kilometers. When transporting RF signals over coaxial cable, even L-band is limited to perhaps less than 100 meters. For higher RF frequencies, the distances are even more limited. RF attenuation when transporting over fiber is approximately 0.7 dB/km, independent of the RF frequency that is being transported. Optical Zonu fiber optic modules can transport frequencies ranging from 10 kHz up to 50 GHz and beyond. In addition to RF modulated signal transport over fiber, Optical Zonu modules also transport very low phase noise reference clocks as well as IRIG/PPS timing signals over long distances.

Optical fiber also adds the capability of RF signal transport in very harsh environments. As an example of this capability, Optical Zonu has deployed a solution for the U.S. Navy on Navy warships. In this particular application, the transport distance is several 100s of meters in a very hostile maritime environment. There is an outdoor unit which is installed high above the deck of the ship in a radome and there is a rackmount indoor unit located in a control room far below the deck of the ship. In this application, the RF signal is not being down-converted, instead the Ku-band bi-directional signal is being transported as-is, between the antenna and the control room. In Meir’s presentation earlier, he referred to the eFiberSat antenna remoting solution. eFiberSat is a modular turnkey solution that Optical Zonu has developed that can accommodate up to four uplink and/or downlink RF signals in the weatherized outdoor enclosure shown. These RF signals can be transported over a single fiber to an indoor unit. eFiberSat can also accommodate the distribution of very low phase noise reference clocks to the antenna, in addition to the RF signals. The eFiberSat outdoor enclosure can also we configured with integrated bias-Ts on the RF connectors to provide signaling and power to elements at the antenna.

Another capability and benefit of RF over fiber transport is the very lightweight nature of optical fiber. The light weight lends itself to applications on aircraft and for mobile tactical antenna deployments. Shown here are examples of Optical Zonu small OEM transmitter and receiver modules. The smallest is the OZ101 series. A fiber optic transmitter weighs only 19 grams, occupies a very small envelope, and operates from 3.7V or 5V. The transmitter may dissipate as low as less than 400 mW. This is essential for applications that require very low size/weight/power. These are very sophisticated modules as well that can transport up to 6 GHz. The OZ101 modules also have an I2C interface to access module parameters. To carry the size/weight/power capability further into another application, Optical Zonu partners have integrated Optical Zonu OEM modules into assemblies that can fly on drones. In this way, a radio transceiver may be flown in a drone, and a fiber optic tether may connect the drone to a ground control system. The tethered drone assembly essentially performs the duty of an easily deployable antenna tower.

Meir noted earlier the Optical Zonu satellite phone distribution application. Systems include Iridium, Globalstar and Inmarsat. Therefore, another capability of RF over fiber signal transport is the distribution of very low power signals over wide areas. To use a satellite phone, one must have a line-of-sight to the satellite constellation to close the communication link. In cases where one wishes to use a phone inside of a large building, a tunnel or mine, at sea, or in a secure area, one must transport the low power signal from roof antennas, over long distances, using fiber optics. Optical Zonu has developed a relatively turnkey solution for distributing Iridium, Globalstar, and Inmarsat communications traffic to/from line-of-sight antennas, over long distances, to phones and other user devices. As this figure shows, there are two basic configurations for satellite phone indoor fiber terminations. One is a direct connection of satellite phones to a cradle connected to the fiber termination. A second way to connect is wirelessly via a ceiling mount system which re-radiates the satellite signal using indoor antennas.

Another benefit and capability of RF over fiber signal transport is electromagnetic radiation. Unlike coaxial cable which radiates electromagnetic energy, electromagnetic fields of transported RF signals through fiber are constrained to remain within the core of the fiber waveguide. As a result, RF over fiber may be deployed to transport signals safely and securely in sensitive environments. In addition to the radiating benefits, fiber is also less susceptible to outside sources of electromagnetic interference such as lightning. One does not need to be concerned with ground loops when transporting RF over fiber. As a matter of fact, Optical Zonu has a secure RF over fiber approved design for deployment by the U.S. State Department for secure areas at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

Again, capitalizing on the small weight and space capabilities of RF over fiber transport, Optical Zonu integrates very small and light fiber optic delay lines. The example shown in this figure is a spool of fiber which is approximately 14 kilometers long which implements an RF temporal delay of approximately 65 microseconds. In the package shown, the fiber spool is integrated with an Optical Zonu fiber optic transceiver. The interface is 50 Ohm RF in and 50 Ohm RF out, with a delay of 65 microseconds. This assembly is small enough to hold in the palm of one’s hand. For longer delays, Optical Zonu offers rack mount systems.

I would like to complete this presentation with a brief overview of Optical Zonu’s unique remote management and control capabilities. As Meir noted earlier, one may manage a large array of Optical Zonu chassis and enclosures from a single agent which is connected via serial USB to many different Optical Zonu elements. In this way, one may connect to a single IP address and interact with an entire rack or an entire system of Optical Zonu equipment. Shown in this figure, are examples of the types of user interfaces that are available. The bottom window represents a lower level, feature rich SSH command line interface to interact with the S14 managed switch. The top figure represents a simple Web user interface where one may log into the IP address of the S14 managed switch to access and control any connected Optical Zonu equipment. The middle figure shows an example (the 3RU chassis in this example) of Optical Zonu’s J-Control graphical user interface (GUI). All applications reside within the agent within the Optical Zonu S14 managed switch. Using these interfaces, one may view a system level representation, drill down to see the characteristics of a specific chassis, drill down further to see parameters of specific modules within the chassis, and drill down even further to access subslots within modules. Optical Zonu managed switches support both SNMP v2 and v3. In addition to monitoring capabilities, the S14 also incorporates a four-port layer 2 Ethernet switch which may connect to, not only Optical Zonu equipment, but also any network or equipment from other vendors.

We have a few minutes remaining. Are there any questions?

One item that I did not cover earlier is Optical Zonu’s patented small form factor pluggable Ethernet transceiver. In addition to transporting Ethernet data, the transceiver incorporates Optical Zonu’s patented micro-OTDR (optical time domain reflectometer). If there is a fiber fault (or break), the transceiver switches from transporting data into an OTDR mode. In this way, the Ethernet transceiver can locate the distance to the fiber fault.

With that, we have a few minutes to answer questions.

For more information, please visit our webpage at

For access to additional videos on various Optical Zonu topics, please visit

Thank you.


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