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Twenty Years of RF over Fibre

After 20 years of RF over fibre and announcing the shipment of our 10,000th RF over fibre link, we took the opportunity to mark both milestones by interviewing the company’s founder and CEO Neil Seager. 

When did you start manufacturing RF over fibre equipment?

Neil Seager, CEO of Pulse Power and Measurement Ltd

Twenty years ago!  We acquired Essex-based company Electro Optic Developments (EOD) in 1995 and relocated the manufacturing here in Swindon, UK. We could see the potential for the technology and EOD weren’t focused on the opportunities.

The first products were designed for test and measurement such as EMC compliance and high voltage testing – a market in which we are still known as Pulse, Power and Measurement (PPM).  In 2000 we launched ViaLite Classic to support communications applications such as satellite ground stations and GPS antenna remoting.

In 2010, we launched the ViaLiteHD platform which includes a wider product range and additional capabilities such as AGC, remote monitor and control, plus blind mate connectivity.

What kind of applications use RF over fibre?

ViaLiteHD supports frequencies up to 4.2GHz with a variety of bandwidths. We supply a lot of L-band and IF links for satcom applications, UHF/VHF links for outside TV broadcast. GPS links are used to relay timing signals for applications like IT and cellular networks. The public safety system in the London underground has been using ViaLite for over a decade.  We have got links installed in all six continents of the world - in the heat of the desert down to -40 degrees at the South Pole! Live sporting events are routinely broadcast using ViaLite links either to relay the live TV signals from wireless cameras back to the broadcast truck or as part of the satellite uplink. 

Why did you start trading as ViaLite Communications?

We  have three other business lines at PPM.  ViaLite Communications is the only one that is branded separately.  In 2012 we were looking to engage with more of the USA market.  Our main distributor at the time was a limiting factor and so we established our own corporate presence there.  We knew that in the USA there was much greater recognition of the ViaLite brand than of PPM so we decided to trade using the name ViaLite - not just in the USA, but globally. 

What is the secret of your success?

There is no secret.  We strive to offer the best solution in the field.  That means the best product performance and configurability.  Our design process has the customer at the centre of the discussion.  Every installation is different so we work closely with customers to configure a system which will do the job and fit within their budget.  That includes system capabilities like DWDM, SNMP control and redundancy as well as functionality such as Ethernet, reference signals and serial data.  We supply RF over fibre systems to all the biggest satellite operators in the world but we also supply a basic link to the guy who needs a timing reference for his IT network from a rooftop GPS antenna. 

ViaLite's Neil Seager and Martin Ryan stood by a Satcom6 unit

CEO Neil Seager and Managing Director Dr. Martin Ryan

What’s next?

We are pushing the limits of the technology with ultra-long distance links.  The capability to cover distances like 300km opens up a whole new set of possibilities.  Satellite operators can connect ground stations together to borrow feeds during periods of maintenance or bad weather which is particularly important for satcom operators using Ka-band.

Where will ViaLite be in another 20 years ?

Ha! 20 years is a long time – I would say more customers, a wider range of applications and even better technology. We have a few research programs in progress to help keep us at the cutting edge.  ViaLite may already be installed on all six continents but there are plenty more customers to work with in current, as well as new, applications. 

There are still satellite ground station operators using copper coax who haven’t realised the possibilities of RF over fibre and the impact that can have on their service delivery.  Right now, the most obvious emerging application is delivering very tight cellular network synchronisation to support the interleaving of multiple data streams at the receiver.  I am sure there will be new applications where RF over fibre can make a real difference.  I expect we will be kept very busy for a long time to come!


Twenty Years of RF over Fibre

Bexel Chooses ViaLite RFoF Links for NBC’s New Fitness Reality Series “S.T.R.O.N.G.”

Presidents Cup uses RF over Fibre Links for Wireless Cameras

ViaSat install ViaLite in Angola

New RF & optical conversion slide charts

ViaLiteHD selected for Intelsat's EPIC satellites

Goonhilly chooses ViaLite, again.

RF over Fiber in ViaSatellite's Tech Corner

ViaLite at IBC2014

ViaLite Communications at IBC

ViaLite Grandmaster wins European Senior Chess Championship

100km RF over Fiber Link - Potential Game Changer for Teleports .

ViaLite at Satellite2014 - Washington DC

ViaLite at the 2014 WTA Teleport Awards

ViaLite Appoints New Distributor in India

Investors In People Silver Award for ViaLite Communications

U.S. Electrodynamics Chooses ViaLite for Ku band Satellite

ViaLite European Distributor Conference

ViaLite: Horse Racing at Sandown

ViaLite at the 2012 QBE International Rugby

ViaLite at MediaCity UK

ViaLite at the Ryder Cup 2012

ViaLite announce L-band + reference over a single fibre

ViaLite at Fish’O’Mania 2012

ViaLite launch new USA sales organisation

Blue Star India and Rikei Corporation sign ViaLite distribution agreements

ViaLiteHD on show in Rome

ViaLiteHD makes Broadway debut transmitting live audio from 65th Tony awards

New ViaLiteHD fiber-optic link system

1st October 2010 - ViaLite announce new sales distributor for China

30th March 2010 - Shipments of ViaLiteHD commence

1st January 2010 - ViaLite opens USA office

14th November 2009 - New ViaLite distributors in Australia and South Africa

11th September 2009 - ViaLiteHD Launched at IBC 2009

12th August 2009 - Dedicated support number for North America

1st June 2009 - ViaLite 3 year warranty as standard

15th April 2009 - Special discount offers

2nd September 2008 - SNMP network monitoring module added to ViaLite range

10th August 2008 - New serial digital fibre optic modem

2nd July 2008 - PPM extends bandwidth limits on wideband RF-over-Fibre link

31st May 2008 - New combined RF and digital ViaLite fiber optic link

3rd February 2008 - Enhanced ViaLite L-Band fibre optic link performance

1st January 2008 - New distributors to cover the USA and Germany

2007 - PPM Ltd raise standard in ISO and Investors in People

2007 - ViaLite Extends Range to cover WIMAX Applications

2007 - New generation of fibre optic connectivity solutions

2006 - EBU Upgrades

2006 - New ViaLite RF Fibre Optic Wavelength Division Multiplexing Product Platform

2006 - PPM Launch the DVB-T Fiber Optic Link

2005 - New Metro GPS Product Family

2005 - Outdoor Housing Launched by PPM

2005 - OEM module format now available for all PPM fiber optic links

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