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Contact Datum
Mailing Address:
Datum Systems
15 Great Oaks Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95119

Phone Contact:
Office: 408.884.3956
Phone: 408.365.9745
Fax: 408.365.0471

Datum Systems

Transitioning to PSM-500 Series for PSM-4900 Users

M5 Class - PSM-4900 Satellite Modems (now out of production)
Our very popular M5 Series of modems including the PSM-4900, PSM-4900H and PSM-4900L has been has been replaced by our latest M500 Series of modems, the PSM-500, PSM-500L and the new PSM-500LT. The PSM-4900 is out of production and is no longer available for purchase. The goods news is the PSM-500 Series of modems are 100% backward compatible to the Legacy PSM-4900 Series.

First, we want to assure all of our customers that we will support you and our equipment in any way possible. We have tried to consider the consequences of this change, and have specific plans to cover most concerns.

If you are a current user of our PSM-4900 modems and have questions concerning our change to the M500 Series, please read the Q&A section below first. If you need any further clarification please feel free to contact the factory.

About the PSM-500 Series
Each new generation of Datum Systems modems represents both evolutionary and revolutionary technology enhancements. Most of the evolutionary changes revolve around learning from past experience to enhance usability, reliability and programmability. The revolutionary changes are sometimes hidden technology enhancements that intend to create a superior product manufactured to a reasonable price point. Some past revolutionary changes, for example, were the introduction of the fastest DSP based carrier acquisition available today, and the first to have a fully zero IF design.

Below are a few of the key highlights and features introduced with the PSM-500 Series.

• A 10 fold increase in the amount of programmable logic that gives the PSM-500 the ability to update and refine almost every aspect of this modem's design.
• Many features are now field upgradeable by firmware only updates.
• Moving all FEC technology to Field Programmable Gate Arrays (except TPC).
• FECs are now located on a plug in card that can be replaced or reloaded with new technology. Two FEC card slots are provided.
• The FEC can be bypassed for raw uncorrected data.
• Extensive use of new Ball Grid Array (BGA) packages to reduce size and increase reliability.
• Introduction of 8PSK, 8QAM and 16QAM modulation modes.
• Both Open and Closed model transmission characteristics are selectable.
• New data interface logic automatically detects optimum clock and data settings.
• Our built-in BER Test set can be switched to look toward the "Line" side for external testing of cables and connections.
• The data logic is capable of speeds up to 29.52 Mbps, a 6-fold increase over the PSM-4900.
• Sophisticated new smart logic to reduce common problems with sensitive modulation modes likes 16QAM.
• New true RMS RF level circuitry to accurately control the complex waveforms occurring over multiple modulation modes.
• An Ethernet IP interface using our Satellite Network Interface Processor ("SnIP"). The SnIP utilizes a 32-bit processor powerful enough to smoothly run open source Linux with all available routing facilities. In addition, it also offers a hardware security engine.

Q&A Section

Q: Why are we making this change to a very popular and successful Product?

A: The PSM-4900 series was originally designed approximately 8 years ago, and it uses hundreds of different parts. Over that time various parts have gone out of production, while others have been superseded by newer parts and technology. In addition, a huge change in the way electronics is designed and manufactured is in process - the requirements for Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), Green and Lead Free dictates in various locations force us to quickly re-design to enable new manufacturing processes to meet these requirements. And lastly, the satellite industry is now trying to move to newer technologies that reduces satellite spectrum use.

Q: What is changed in the PSM-500

A: The entire baseband (non-RF processing) portion of the PSM-4900 has been re-designed for the PSM-500 series. The designs of the PSM-500 Series of modems are RoHS compliant. Parts that were not RoHS compliant or were no longer available have been replaced in large measure by Intellectual Property (IP) in new larger Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Those new FPGAs represent a 10-fold increase in the amount of programmable logic, which in turn permits new capabilities. Those include new modulation modes like 8PSK, 8QAM and 16QAM, plus new FEC technologies like more advanced TPC's and our latest Low Density Parity Check FEC (LDPC).

Externally the PSM-500 looks almost identical to the PSM-4900. There are only a few physical changes to the package. The front panel Model Number has been changed to PSM-500 and a new LCD menu item that displays the feature set installed. The front panel infrared window has been removed and a new USB control port has been added to the rear panel to allow a faster speeds than the RS-232 control port can provide. The RS-232/485 port is still there and active.

Internally the PSM-500 looks similar, but the main modem PCB has been significantly re-designed. All new baseband digital signal processing is now loaded into two Xilinx FPGAs. The Multiplexer, TCM and Reed-Solomon transmit Codec are now standard and built onto the main board along with new physical connectors for alternate FEC types.

The physical FEC connectors are wired in parallel and can use whatever FECs are installed on either board. The standard FEC board normally contains Viterbi, Trellis Code Modulation and Reed-Solomon Codecs. The standard FEC card can also have one of two TPC options pre-mounted: a 4k Block Option TPC identical to that used on the PSM-4900, or a new 16k Block Option TPC backward compatible with the PSM-4900 but with new modes offering more advanced coding gain and higher speeds.

Note: The internal option TPC and Multiplexer/Reed-Solomon daughter cards from the PSM-4900 are not usable in the new PSM-500, but note that the Multiplexer/Reed-Solomon is now standard in the PSM-500. The existing "SDMS" and the new "SnIP" Ethernet interface cards are able to operate in either PSM-4900s or PSM-500s.

Q: How does Datum Systems plan on supporting the PSM-4900s in the field?

A: Datum has stockpiled necessary components to support the repair of PSM-4900 modems for years to come. These modems have been extremely reliable, with actual field MTBFs over 250,000 hours, so we also expect few repairs required. All of our firmware and even the manuals will continue to be available and supported on our website.

Q: Is the PSM-500 Compatible with the PSM-4900?

A: Yes, we even have one standard package or "Feature Set" named "M505" that provides a unit with very similar capabilities to the PSM-4900 -- that is BPSK and QPSK modulation, speeds to 5 Mbps, Viterbi and Reed-Solomon with an option for the same TPC chip as the PSM-4900 TPC option. The Reed-Solomon codec plus the same IBS multiplexer as in the PSM-4900 are now standard. There are only 3 differences other than the physical differences noted above:

The remote control protocol is revised to handle all the new features available. New - Firmware Rev 0.16 and above now includes the ability to accept and respond to PSM-4900 protocol control packets within the limits of the PSM-4900. This allows mixed systems using one set of control software.

The front panel menu structure is modified for the same reason, but still uses the same concepts.

The firmware is upgradeable to add new more advanced modes only available for the PSM-500 series.

We are confident that our customers will be very pleased with our latest PSM-500 series, in performance, reliability and capability.

M4 Class Satellite Modems (Out of Production)
Our M4 Class Modems set a new standard in the satellite field. Thousands are performing reliably in the field with industry leading performance. They have been replaced by our latest M5 Class Modems above, but documentation (including full manuals) is still maintained on the web.