One of the biggest tech success stories in Israel is without doubt Orbit Communications. Orbit isn't exactly a start-up, but it does work in an area that is very up and coming – satellite communications, tracking systems and audio management systems for airborne, marine and ground vessels, in both commercial and military applications.
The company is without doubt one of the world's leaders in satellite communications, and issues news about a new deal or sale nearly daily. Here, for example, are some of the company's announcements for November: In a deal with $4.5 million, Orbit will provide maintenance and upgrade services for satellites installed on ships belong to the navy of a leading European country; Orbit will provide digital communications systems for satellites for mining company Sierra Nevada; Orbit will provide similar systems for Embraer, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world; and so on. All of Orbit's development work is done here in Israel, mostly at the company's Netanya headquarters.
This week, Orbit announced that it was embarking on an exciting new venture: supplying next generation VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) satellite systems for use with high speed trains. The systems are meant to replace regular wireless 3G systems, allowing passengers a high-level intenet surfing experience – thus encouraging more commuters to leave their cars at home and take the train.
The deal, with French national rail company SNCF, is even sweeter for the company and passengers; the new systems will be able to take advantage of the new Ka-Band satellite systems, which promise a far fast surfing experience. Recently, several Ka-Band satellites have been launched over Europe, and the system now covers Europe. Most experts believe that Ka-Band is the future of satellite communications due to its speed advantages over the current Ku-Band systems.
Ka-Band satellites will supply travelers with extremely fast rates of internet surfing – far more than they could get on regular 3G networks, says Avi Cohen, President and Director of Orbit Communications. “We are very happy that a veteran customer has given us the responsibility for developing the world's first system that uses VSAT systems based on Ka-Band technology, to be used for high-speed trains. Ka-Band is expected to be the breakthrough technology for satellite communication, and we see our participation in the project as certification of our leading role in satellite technology,” Cohen adds.