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Choosing an RF Matrix: Seven Key Criteria

An RF Distributing Matrix is a switch which routes radio frequency (RF) signals between inputs and outputs. Popular applications requiring RF matrices are satellite communications, broadcasting, military and government communication systems.

Matrices are often used in mission critical applications. Therefore redundancy, hot swappability, and reliability for highest uptimes, play an important role. As signal condition requirements vary from application to application, an RF Distributing matrix providing a "one size fits all" solution is not realistic.

As a result, customers find it easy to get lost in the jungle of offers. Here are some differentiators, which should be taken into account when selecting an L-Band Matrix solution.

Seven Key Criteria for choosing an RF Distributing Matrix

1. Protect your Investment: Future Proof

Your Matrix should be able to “grow” according to your tasks in your application. That means that if in one or two years you need to handle more RF signals from more satellites, your RF Matrix Switch should be upgradable according to your future needs. That relates to the number of signals to be handled, but likewise for the functionalities you might need e.g. the requirement for changing to optical inputs. This helps to protect your investment and account for future needs.

2. Keep the Operator’s Job easy

Don’t want to read a 200 pages Manual, before you can work with your new L-Band Matrix? Your Matrix should provide intuitive guidance. And if you have a question which you need to confirm, the manual should be available online within the User Interface.

3. Have simultaneous access

Perhaps you have more than one operator and they have different responsibilities. Your Matrix should allow for the possibility that many users may need to access the matrix simultaneously. Of course there need to be access rules, which you should be able to define individually.

4. Simplify Integration to Standard Management Systems

The Matrix must be easy to integrate into your existing Network Management System (NMS). Your Supplier of the RF Matrix should be able to support your integration and deliver a MIB (Management Information Base) which easily enable integration into any standard NMS System.

5. Ensure Service Reliability

Your Matrix Switch Solution must transmit your RF Signals 24 hours/day, seven days a week (24/7). In the case of an error, or when there is a need to replace or repair modules, your Matrix should continue to work properly. As well, when upgrading your matrix, e.g. from a 32x64 to a 64x64 product, or from a 64x192 to 128x128, your Matrix should work continuously without interruption regardless of module exchanges or upgrades.

6. Minimize your Space Requirements

Headend and broadcast systems are getting more complex and comprehensive, while requirements regarding reliability, availability and management of devices are evermore stringent. That requires available space to cover tomorrow’s requirements. However, space is often limited. More space requirements sometimes lead to the necessity to move into a new building. Therefore, rack space is expensive. It is a differentiator if for example a 64 by 64 matrix needs 12 Rack Units, or only 4 RU, or if a 128x128 needs 12 or 24 RU.

7. Go Green

Energy costs play a critical role in your company’s bottom line. Headend and Broadcast equipment consists of energy-intensive components that require additional costly cooling systems. RF Matrix solutions need to reduce energy consumption and heat production e.g. by consolidating functions into a single chassis. They require less power to operate, demand less power to cool, and therefore put less stress on your energy costs.

It goes without saying that the Matrix you will choose shall vary according to your needs. Additional functionalities like variable gain and tilt, best noise figure or isolation parameters can be expected by you, as a matter of fact, when purchasing a professional Matrix.

Summary

The best system is the one that offers optimum support to the operator in running his facility smoothly, while also accounting for economic and ecologic needs of management, as well as consideration for the operators application requirements.

Your RF Distributing Matrix must be able to give you an up-to-date status of the signals being transmitted and also consider circumstances like unforeseen weather conditions, offering various redundancy options that give you the ultimate uptime.

If there is anything which does not run as expected, the support of your supplier should be able to help you anytime. Some Experts in reliable RF Signal Management even give you a warranty period of 7 years.

Keep your network simple: save space, save energy, simplify integration effort – and benefit from superior RF features. Don’t Settle for Less.