In December 2022, Maxar acquired Aurora Insight Inc., a company specializing in accurate, impartial, data-driven insights on the radio frequency (RF) spectrum based on real-world measurements of the RF environment. Maxar now offers RF solutions to customers as part of our expanding multiple source intelligence solution set.

Through a combination of ground, aircraft and satellite-based sensors, we accurately measure RF spectrum and wireless networks across the world to unlock hidden insights using patented systems and methods. Our automated approach to comprehensive data collection enables us to gather data across almost all frequencies, providing the most accurate RF mapping commercially available.

As access to RF spectrum has become a top concern for organizations around the world, our RF solutions provide measurements of the global RF environment and detailed information and insights on spectral activity, and thus into human activity.

“By combining spectrum data with Maxar’s high-resolution imagery, data analytics, and 3D capabilities, we can unlock new opportunities in multisource analytics to support customers over a wide range of application areas,” said Jennifer Alvarez, co-founder and former CEO of Aurora Insight, who now leads Maxar’s RF program.

The RF spectrum is a finite resource, and wireless service providers, broadcasters, satellite operators, investors and governments compete for access to spectrum for their technologies and services.

It’s estimated that over $1 trillion will be invested by mobile operators into wireless deployments by 2025, and governments have their own multibillion-dollar budgets for managing RF resources. The RF environment must be measured to be used efficiently and effectively, and RF data from these measurements provides valuable insights into human activity and enriches other data sets, including imagery. RF mapping is essential for wireless network infrastructure planning, RF network design and optimization, and global RF spectrum intelligence, awareness and dominance.

Use Case: Network Deployment from Space

The RF spectrum is continually being adapted to enable new use cases, such as mobile phone to satellite communication. Our team surveyed T-Mobile’s PCS-G spectrum holding in the United States after the announcement of its partnership with Starlink to provide satellite-based connectivity to unmodified handsets.

Since the announcement in August 2022, our space-based sensors have measured a decrease in the received power from T-Mobile’s PCS-G block’s 1990 – 1995 MHz downlink channel.

In December 2022, SpaceX requested permission from the FCC to use the PCS-G block for a “SpaceX Direct-To-Cellular Non-Geostationary Satellite System.” The planned direct-to-cell service will coexist with T-Mobile’s terrestrial use of the same spectrum. According to the FCC filing, “SpaceX and T-Mobile have carefully coordinated to ensure that the system can coexist with T-Mobile’s terrestrial operations and have executed a spectrum manager lease permitting SpaceX’s use of the frequencies.”

Use Case: Spectrum & Infrastructure Monitoring

Our advanced wireless network monitoring and analytics products deliver unparalleled competitive benchmarking capabilities to businesses seeking to stay ahead of the game in the rapidly evolving wireless industry.

By collecting and processing data across all frequencies and all mobile network operators simultaneously, our analytics products instantly identify network deployment and optimization opportunities, deliver high-grade spatial data on network configurations and performance, as well as provide insights into competitors’ use of spectrum and strategies.

With this data, businesses can pinpoint exactly where to deploy new infrastructure and optimize existing networks for improved subscriber service and cost savings. For example, we accurately measured the change in Citizens Broadband Radio Service deployment by Verizon Wireless in Las Vegas, Nevada from July to November 2021. With our analytics products, businesses can maximize their returns on investment and stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving wireless communications industry.

Use Case: GNSS Interference Monitoring

To combat the challenges associated with interference, Maxar provides a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Interference Monitoring Service powered by satellite-based RF sensors. This service allows users to identify areas where GNSS disruptions have recently occurred and spot trends over time.

In late 2021, increased activity was detected in the GPS L1 frequency range (centered at 1575.42 MHz) near Finland and the surrounding Baltic states. The increase in received power in the GPS L1 frequency range clearly indicated a disruption was occurring in the signal environment. The frequency range was monitored for several months, the results of which are presented in the graphic below.

By January 2022, measurements of the same area showed a strong increase in signals in the GPS L1 frequency range. In March 2022, received signal power in the area decreased before increasing again in May 2022. Knowledge of this periodic increase and decrease in power in GNSS bands provides valuable information to government agencies needing to understand where GNSS services may be compromised, and to commercial organizations that rely upon clean GNSS signals for positioning and timing.

Introducing Maxar’s New RF Solutions

Unlock hidden insights into the radio frequency spectrum

Learn More About RF
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