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SatLabs Qualification Program Questions and Answers



What is the SatLabs Qualification Program?
Who can participate in the SatLabs Qualification Program?
Who is the owner of the SatLabs Qualification Program?
Who is performing the SatLabs Qualification Testing?
What is the SatLabs Qualification Testing about and what are the Deliverables?
Who developed the SatLabs Qualification Test Bed?
What is required to pass the SatLabs Qualification Program?
How do I obtain the SatLabs Qualification Mark for branding a "Qualified Product"?
What about complaints?
What about product confidentiality?
How will SatLabs promote "Qualified Products"?
How can I join the SatLabs Group?
What does it mean if a product carries the SatLabs Mark?
What costs are to be expected when qualifying a product?
What is addressed in the scope of the Satlabs Qualification Program?
Is it possible to certify system and/or HUB?







What is the SatLabs Qualification Program?

The SatLabs Qualification Program has been launched to increase the level of interoperability in DVB-RCS systems and to visibly promote interoperable and well-performing satellite communications DVB-RCS systems. In the SatLabs Qualification Program, DVB-RCS terminals will be tested thoroughly against a well-defined Qualification Test Plan containing more than 100 single test cases. The test plan itself is based on the SatLabs System Recommendations, which describes the requirements a SatLabs recommended terminal must fulfil to be deemed a “Qualified Product”. Both documents, the SatLabs Terminal certification Test Plan and the SatLabs System Recommendations are available for download.

When a DVB-RCS terminal passes the SatLabs Qualification Program successfully it is expected that this terminal can be operated without problems at a DVB-RCS network itself based on the SatLabs System Recommendations. Supplementary to the provisions contained in the DVB-RCS standards, the SatLabs Group has agreed on a common set of options and features to be used and supported in the SatLabs recommended terminals. This set of options has been defined to ensure interoperability in a wide range of DVB-RCS networks.

When a terminal has passed the processes of the SatLabs Qualification Program it is called a "Qualified Product". As such it is entitled to carry the SatLabs Mark under a certain license agreement. The SatLabs Mark is a registered community mark that has been registered by the SatLabs Group.




Who can participate in the SatLabs Qualification Program?

The SatLabs Qualification Program is open to members of the SatLabs EEIG. In other words, it is a requirement to be a member of the SatLabs EEIG to have access to the SatLabs Qualification Program. Here you can find all the necessary information on how to become a member of the SatLabs EEIG.




Who is the owner of the SatLabs Qualification Program?

The SatLabs Qualification Program is owned by the SatLabs EEIG. SatLabs EEIG  also holds  the rights on the SatLabs Logo and SatLabs Mark. Both the SatLabs Logo and the SatLabs Mark are registered marks at the European Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market.




Who is performing the SatLabs Qualification Testing?

In a thorough selection process SatLabs EEIG has selected CETECOM ICT Services to provide the SatLabs Qualification Testing. CETECOM ICT Services has its registered offices at Untertuerkheimer Str. 6 – 10,
66117 Saarbruecken, Germany.

CETECOM is providing testing and certification services to almost any kind of telecommunication technology. This also includes  the regulatory testing for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), Electrical Safety and Health. CETECOM has established a separate laboratory especially for the SatLabs Qualification Testing according to the SatLabs Qualification Program. To have a product tested according to the SatLabs Qualification Program please contact:

CETECOM ICT Services GmbH
Untertuerkheimer Str. 6 - 10
66117 Saarbruecken
Germany
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
web site: www.cetecom-ict.de




What is the SatLabs Qualification Testing about and what are the Deliverables?

The SatLabs Qualification Testing is the basis for certifying a  terminal according the rules of the SatLabs EEIG. SatLabs EEIG has produced several documents that describe the requirements, features and options that are expected to be fulfilled by a SatLabs recommended terminal. Requirements on regulatory aspects such  as electrical safety or electro-magnetic compatibility are regimented according to various regional and international regulations (such as the CE marking regulation) and are outside the scope of the SatLabs Qualification Program.

However, CETECOM ICT Services also provides test and certification services regarding these aspects alongside the SatLabs Qualification Testing. The SatLabs Qualification Program concentrates on requirements that are of importance when interoperability or performance issues arise.  All SatLabs specifications are available for download at www.satlabs.org.

The SatLabs Qualification Test Plan is expected to evolve incrementally as and when new features are to be supported by SatLabs recommended DVB-RCS terminals. Furthermore, new terminal profiles will also be defined to follow the latest market demands.  Qualification testing will ensure the appropriate test plan (usually the latest one) and profiles are applied. SatLabs is steadily working on strategies to maintain and improve the position of the SatLabs Mark and its specifications (as found in the test plan version) for terminals to pass qualification.

In the SatLabs Qualification testing a DVB-RCS terminal is tested using a test bed developed especially for this purpose. All aspects specified to be of importance for the interoperability of DVB-RCS terminals will be tested thoroughly.  The test cases are described in the SatLabs Terminal certification Test Plan which has been developed on the basis of the SatLabs System Recommendations and the DVB-RCS standards.

Using a test bed which has been specifically developed for investigating the compliance of products will ensure that parameters can be configured independent of existing networks. This leaves the opportunity to provide a future-proof testing regime. Fixed parameters in present networks will be more flexibly applied in future to optimise the available resources. The SatLabs Qualification Test Bed can play-out data streams that are used in existing networks today and  also those which are expected in the near and medium future.

After a terminal has been tested, the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory will issue a test report. This test report will provide objective information about all the tests that have been performed and the results that have been achieved. Next to  the pure verdict, additional information such as log files of specific actions and observations are also reported. The test report follows the requirements of DIN ISO/IEC 17025, which describes the contents and structure of test reports that are issued by accredited laboratories.

If a terminal passes all test cases that are described in the SatLabs Qualification Test Plan a “Certificate of Compliance” will be issued. This “Certificate of Compliance” acknowledges the compliance of the tested product with the requirements of the SatLabs System Recommendations based on the performed testing. As soon as such a certificate has been  issued,  it will be deemed to be a “Qualified Product”. This is the basis for obtaining the SatLabs Mark, which visibly demonstrates that special efforts have been made to make this product suitable for the open DVB-RCS market.

A list containing all Qualified Products will be published on the SatLabs web site. This list provides detailed information on the qualification status of qualified products such as the date on which the Certificate of Compliance was issued and the version of test plan applied during testing.




Who developed the SatLabs Qualification Test Bed?

The SatLabs Qualification test bed was developed by VeriSat, a Norwegian company that focuses on the development of test systems in the field of satellite telecommunications. In co-operation with several leading companies (such as Alcatel Bell Space, Erzia and Skysoft) VeriSat has developed a tool, which is capable of composing and broadcasting DVB-S streams containing descriptions of satellite interactive networks based on the DVB-RCS standard. Furthermore, the system is capable of analysing the data stream that is sent out by the tested terminal. The development was done under a contract from the European Space Agency.

The SatLabs Qualification Test Bed has undergone a thorough validation, which was performed in co-operation with VeriSat, CETECOM ICT Services (SatLabs Qualification Laboratory) and the European Space Agency. The test bed has shown to be capable of correctly testing SatLabs recommended terminals under the SatLabs Qualification Program.

The SatLabs Qualification Test Bed was transferred to the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory in March 2005 enabling the SatLabs Qualification Program to start in the second quarter of 2005.




What is required to pass the SatLabs Qualification Program?

A terminal that shall be deemed as "Qualified Product" under the SatLabs Qualification Program must meet the requirements of the SatLabs System Recommendations. The terminal must prove this by passing thorough testing in the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory in accordance with the latest SatLabs Terminal certification Test Plan.

When a terminal is deemed to be ready for passing the test, a qualification request is sent to the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory. The SatLabs Qualification Laboratory will then take care of organising a timeslot for testing the terminal at the SatLabs Qualification Test Bed. Contracts between the SatLabs EEIG and the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory emphasise that the provision of qualification services follow the exact provisions of the SatLabs Qualification Program and defines reasonable service levels.

During testing the manufacturer of the terminal is invited to attend the testing at the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory.




How do I obtain the SatLabs Qualification Mark for branding a "Qualified Product"?

As soon as a terminal has passed all the tests of the SatLabs Qualification Test Plan at the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory a notification will be sent to the SatLabs EEIG by the laboratory. This notification is the pre-condition for performing a license agreement between the SatLabs EEIG and the terminal manufacturer. Such a license agreement will regiment the use of the SatLabs Mark with the “Qualified Product”.

Once this license agreement is in place the product can be marked with the SatLabs Mark (also called “the stamp”) on the product itself as well as on the product packaging and further product information material.




What about complaints?

Even if a program like this is thoroughly established it must be expected that complaints are occasionally received from participants in the Qualification Program. When such a case arises, the SatLabs Qualification Program has defined certain complaint resolving processes, which will be performed at several levels based on the severity and reason of complaint.




What about product confidentiality?

In all processes during the SatLabs Qualification Program the highest level of confidentiality is maintained. The SatLabs Qualification Program is set-up in a way that only the manufacturer of a product and the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory can access product-specifics and the results of single test cases.

CETECOM ICT Services, the company appointed as the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory, is a third-party test house, which is accredited by DA-Tech the German accreditation authority. CETECOM ICT Services has a high-level quality management system in place, which ensures absolute neutrality and confidentiality prevails. No information gained on any single product will be passed to any other party without the explicit authorisation of the customer. This includes even the SatLabs EEIG, which is only informed when a product has entered the SatLabs Qualification Program, and – if the testing runs successfully – that a product has passed all tests and can be deemed as a “Qualified Product”. Detailed test results such as the test report will only be provided to the customer.

One copy of the test report is archived at the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory together with all the information that was provided to the laboratory in the course of the qualification project. The archive will only be accessible to the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory.

The SatLabs Qualification Testing is provided by the CETECOM ICT Services under a separate contract with the SatLabs member who is requesting the qualification. This contract follows certain agreements (such as the standard service level) with the SatLabs EEIG but it is not controlled by the SatLabs Qualification Program.




How will SatLabs promote "Qualified Products"?

Once a product is deemed to be a “Qualified Product” it will be listed on the SatLabs web site, which is accessible to the public. Every interested party can obtain information about products that have successfully passed the SatLabs Qualification Testing. This listing is certain proof that the SatLabs EEIG is satisfied the listed product meets all the stringent requirements that have been specified in the SatLabs Qualification Program.




How can I join the SatLabs Group?

All information on the SatLabs EEIG’s mission, how to join and the member’s rights and duties are available in the public area of the web site www.satlabs.org.

A list of contact persons is also available to personally inform interested parties on the advantages of the SatLabs EEIG and its activities for the satellite communications industry.




What does it mean if a product carries the SatLabs Mark?

A product carrying the SatLabs Mark shows it has been qualified according to the SatLabs Qualification Program. It has shown its compliance with the SatLabs System Recommendations by passing thorough testing at the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory according to the latest SatLabs Qualification Test Plan.

The product thus demonstrates a high confidence that it will interoperate properly with interactive return link satellite networks that follow the DVB-RCS standards and the SatLabs recommendations.

The SatLabs Mark cannot guarantee compliance with regulatory requirements such as electromagnetic compatibility, these being out of the scope of the SatLabs Qualification Program. For these requirements separate qualification processes are in place (such as CE marking). A product is expected to have passed these processes before it is released to the market. CETECOM ICT Services - the company that also serves as the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory - offers appropriate testing and certification services for all of these regulatory requirements (EMC, Safety, Emitted Fields, etc.) and is as such offering a one-stop-shopping solution for market access.

Having a product qualified according to the SatLabs Qualification Program is a voluntary act. The manufacturer of a DVB-RCS terminal is not obliged to qualify his product according to the SatLabs Qualification Program. However, having a product qualified proves that the manufacturer has made an additional and voluntary effort to increase the interoperability of his product.

The SatLabs System Recommendations together with the SatLabs Qualification Program and the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory provide a thorough means to assess the capability of a DVB-RCS terminal to interoperate in different system configurations.

Certainly, it must be stated, that the SatLabs Qualification program cannot guarantee that a product carrying the SatLabs Mark (validly or invalidly) will work in all DVB-RCS networks under all circumstances. However, it increases the probability to an extremely high grade that such a terminal will work in return link channel satellite systems that are presently provided by SatLabs member companies. The SatLabs System Recommendations on which the SatLabs Qualification is based forms a joint effort of world-leading companies in interactive return link satellite communications that support the DVB-RCS open standard. As the SatLabs System Recommendations as well as the SatLabs Qualification Test Plan are continuously reviewed and enhanced (if necessary), the SatLabs Qualification can claim to be future-proof with respect to both the DVB-RCS technology and the performance expected by the SatLabs Group.




What costs are to be expected when qualifying a product?

The prices for the SatLabs Qualification Testing at the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory are proven to be reasonable. This has been ensured by performing an RFP on the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory, from which the most suitable proposal was selected. With both the service prices and service levels being given due consideration in this selection process, SatLabs EEIG has taken all necessary action to ensure a good balance exists between the effort and the price of this service.




What is addressed in the scope of the Satlabs Qualification Program?

The SatLabs Qualification Program now addresses the compliance of both integrated Terminals (only In Door Units) and HUBs against the Satlabs System Recommendations.




Is it possible to certify system and/or HUB?

It is now possible for a DVB-RCS HUB manufacturer or operator to have its HUB verified by the SatLabs Qualification Laboratory. As HUBs are often customised to particular requirements and operate only on a restricted set of DVB-RCS capabilities, there is no Certificate of Compliance issued for HUBs. The HUB manufacturer or operator only receives a Test Report, showing how the tested hub configuration comply with the SatLabs Hub Recommendations. See SatLabs Hub Verification Program for more details.