Comtech to Join Digital Intermediate Frequency Interoperability Consortium

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor  |  November 17, 2021

Interoperability of terrestrial communications systems is vital for public safety and commerce. But what about interoperability of non-terrestrial systems? The Digital Intermediate Frequency Interoperability (DIFI) Consortium was created to do just that. The DIFI Consortium enables the digital transformation of space, satellite, and related industries by providing a simple, open, interoperable digital IF/RF standard that replaces the natural interoperability of analog IF signals and helps prevent vendor lock-in.

Comtech Telecommunications (News - Alert) Corporation, a provider of 911 emergency systems and secure wireless communications technologies, is the most recent addition to membership of the DIFI Consortium. As a member, it will join other member organizations pledged to contribute to the innovation of digital transformation of space, satellite, and related technologies for the benefit of the space industry.

“We are pleased to announce that we have joined the DIFI Consortium,” said Michael Porcelain, President and Chief Operating Officer of Comtech Telecommunications Corp. “Comtech has a long heritage of supporting new standards and has provided support and guidance on numerous technologies that have enabled the satellite community and its stakeholders to connect our world.”

The DIFI Consortium is currently developing a new standard for a digital interface that will allow users to connect digital baseband equipment and RF or edge devices, located at the satellite antenna or uplink center, over a digital medium eliminating lossy IF cable runs and enabling users to remove the constraint that has always required digital and RF equipment to co-exist within close proximity. The new digital interface standard will allow lossless switching between antennas and geographically diverse systems as well as enable the use of low-cost COTS switches and interconnect devices. This is expected to reduce cost and complexity and will be highly desirable at complex hub or gateway locations.

Comtech is a major maker of satellite ground system equipment. The company’s addition to the DIFI Consortium and its working groups is a sign of industry acceptance of the importance of interoperability and support for the DIFI standard, according to the group.

Edited by Luke Bellos