Etisalat, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world and the leading operator in the Middle East and Africa, wished to expand an existing CATV head-end in UAE by adding a 700-channel IPTV system. The order to supply the system went to the Chinese telecommunications group Huawei. For the critical system segment from the antenna to the receiver, Huawei relies on products and services of DEV Systemtechnik.

“For the largest IPTV platform in the World we required a massive satellite downlink system that can pull entertainment, news, and information from more than seven hundred satellite TV channels” says a Senior Manager of Etisalat.

“DEV’s high-performance L-Band distribution system ensures superior signal quality, redundancy, signal monitoring and controlability in less rack space, using less power, and for a lower total cost of ownership, which is important to Etisalat,“ he adds.

„DEV’s system also gives us more flexibility and control over incoming satellite RF signal routing and distribution, making it easier for us to expand in the future.“

Etisalat is a comprehensive telecommunications provider offering a one-stop shop for mobile and fixed-line voice and data services to individuals, enterprises and international telecommunications companies, ISPs, content providers and mobile operators. It operates in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, serving over 100 million customers. Etisalat is also the major hub in the Middle East for internet, voice, mobile broadband, broadcast, roaming and corporate data services, with an extensive regional and intercontinental network. It is the largest carrier of international voice traffic in the Middle East and Africa and the 12th largest voice carrier in the world.

The Etisalat CATV head-end, located at Towi Al-Saman in Sharjah UAE, receives 128 signals from several satellites in both Ku- and C-band.


Towi Al-Saman Head end

Towi Al-Saman Head end.


TV programming is supplied to customers via the entire spectrum of wirebound and wireless transmission media.  As part of a major expansion of services, Etisalat wished to complement its offering with 700 IPTV channels. No interruption or disturbance of the regular operation was acceptable during the installation and all equipment had to be fully redundant with no single point of failure.

Etisalat decided to choose the Chinese Huawei group as prime contractor and systems integrator. Huawei presents itself as a total solution supplier in the Internet TV area. It offers it’s own IPTV hardware. In May 2010, Huawei contacted DEV Systemtechnik to cover the RF distribution segment of the system.


Functional view of Huawei’s IP-TV system for Etisalat

Functional view of Huawei’s IP-TV system for Etisalat


DEV’s contribution to the system covers the part from the antennas to the receivers. A total of 128 L-band signals are first split between the existing and the new system and then distributed to the 1+1 receiver sub-system by more than 70 rack-mounted distribution amplifiers (model DEV 2190).


DEV2190 system (part of) installed at Etisalat.

DEV2190 system (part of) installed at Etisalat.


The L-band Signal Distribution System DEV 2190 accommodates up to 3 power supplies and 16 amplifiers at the front side of a 4RU chassis. The splitters and/or matrix switches are located at the rear. Fixed and matrix distribution can be mixed. Each Chassis allows for 16, 32, 48 or 64 outputs (matrix switches 4:x or 8:x) and max. 128 outputs for splitters (1:x), if desired with mixed configuration and impedances (50 or 75 Ohm) for inputs and outputs. Optical inputs and redundant amplifiers are available as an option.

The Signal Distribution System is controlled and monitored via web interface or SNMP and enables the adjustment of gain and RF sensing thresholds as well as LNB bias current. The variable tilt functionality for extended L-band ensures a constant signal level over the entire frequency range, an essential feature for high-availability applications. Signal LEDs in the front panel show at a glance whether the unit works locally or remotely, the power supplies are doing fine, the temperature of the distribution amplifier modules is within limits, the CPU communicates undisturbed with the system, and whether there are alarms or error messages to care for.

L-band Signal Distribution System DEV 2190, front (top) and rear view

Service under pressure

Etisalat’s tight project schedule for the project meant that Huawei, and therefore its key subcontractors like DEV  were required to perform exceptionally. “We had to deliver very fast and started to produce equipment even before we received a formal order“, remembers Joerg Sommerschuh, DEV’s area manager. ”Also, there was a lot of on-site service necessary, especially factory acceptance tests and support for the deployment of the no-single-point-of-failure structure for the site acceptance test. Our installation expert David Joyce, who later on also organized training for Etisalat and Huawei, had to change his travel plans several times. But finally we managed to put all the pieces together in time.”

A responsible Huawei representative commented: “This was the first order to DEV Systemtechnik from Huawei. We choose DEV Systemtechnik because of reputation, recommendations, product range, functionality, German engineering and product reliability. DEV was very flexible during the delivery phase of the project and suggested a phased delivery in order to assist with the equipment installation process, which turned out to be very helpful. Also, DEV guarantees 100% availability of all equipment, and signals exceeded our expectations in all respects. We got all that we required from the equipment plus the unique addition of SNMP and web page monitoring. System engineering changes proposed by DEV also proved to be very successful. We are looking forward to collaborating with DEV Systemtechnik in future projects.”


German-Chinese partnership

Huawei ( is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through its dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, it has established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei is committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers by providing competitive solutions and services. Its products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei has grown from a USD 5,680 small company to a global company with a sales volume of over USD 20 billion with business presence in over 140 countries.

DEV Systemtechnik ( develops and produces a complete range of leading-edge, high-performance products and systems for the optical and electrical transmission of Radio Frequency (RF) signals via coaxial cable or fiber for satellite, cable, and broadcast television head ends.  DEV products include distribution amplifiers, splitters and combiners, switching systems, distributing matrices, routing products, multiplexers, and fiber-optic RF signal transmission systems – all built to meet the highest standards of system availability, reliability and controllability. Named several times to the Deloitte Fast 50 list, DEV has achieved a compound growth rate of 462% over five years.