MDS Orbit Platform

Flexible Networking

MDS Orbit’s support for dynamic and static routing as well as managed switch capabilities facilitate the deployment of a multitude of network architectures. To achieve maximum uplink and application uptime, Orbit supports a variety of High Availability mechanisms such as interface bonding, Spanning Tree, Layer 3 failover, VRRP as well as latency and packet loss based failover. GRE tunneling coupled with IPSec VPNs and DMVPN further enable the establishment of secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN) across any wireless technology.

Enterprise-Class Security

The MDS Orbit platform is built on a comprehensive cybersecurity framework to enable the deployment of highly secure environments. It offers standards-based IPSec VPN and DMVPN capabilities with X.509 certificate management to allow the encryption of network paths and interop with non-GE devices. As an added layer of security, Orbit supports the encryption of private radio links at the RF layer. RBAC and RADIUS enable local and centralized user authentication into the network. MDS Orbit’s stateful firewall, as well as MAC-filtering capabilities, ensure that only valid traffic is permitted through the network. Its secure boot and secure firmware protect against meddling with the hardware and software, and its magnetometer provides tamper-detection to secure against theft.

Advanced QoS (Quality of Service)

Orbit supports advanced QoS functionality with fair and priority queuing to enable deterministic latency and throughput performance with up to 16 application priority queues. Orbit’s Traffic Shaping allows applications such as SCADA to have a dedicated throughput on the uplink for predictable performance. Orbit further supports classification based on DSCP, 802.1p, and other Layer 2-4 header information.

Network Management and User Interface

The MDS Orbit platform supports standards-based SNMP and Netconf network and device management protocols for easy integration into MDS PulseNet as well as 3rd party network management software. It supports Command-Line Interface (CLI), an intuitive web-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) as well as wizards to simplify and speed the configuration of complex tasks. Orbit’s user experience is identical regardless of radio technology or form factor.

Diverse Radio Technology Options

Licensed Spectrum
MDS Orbit’s Licensed radio technology offers multiple narrowband spectrum options with QAM modulation that maximizes available throughput for modern IP-based applications. Performance is enhanced with raw data rates of up to 240 Kbps in a 50 kHz channel, up to 120 Kbps in a 25 kHz channel or to 60 Kbps in a standard 12.5 kHz channel. IP header and payload compression, as well as per-packet, per-remote, bi-directional adaptive modulation, further optimize throughput on a per remote basis to ensure the network isn’t penalized for its lowest common denominator remote. (150MHz - 960MHz)

Backwards Compatibility
For customers looking to upgrade legacy licensed networks, the Orbit Licensed radio technology supports 3-FSK modulation mode, which provides backward compatibility with legacy x710 as well as SD base stations on the A Modem. Furthermore, for those customers who desire an at-your-own-pace migration, a GE MDS Master Station equipped with Orbit radio modules and an embedded Evolution Module allows coexistence of both new and legacy networks by routing the traffic over the appropriate network.

Unlicensed Spectrum
MDS Orbit’s unlicensed radio offers cutting edge performance in the 900MHz ISM spectrum with its advanced Media Access Control (MAC) technology. Orbit’s patented MAC prevents ingress collision at the access point by synchronizing the network and allocating time slots for one remote to transmit at a time. It enables communication at 1.25Mbps with a latency as low as 5msec for latency-sensitive automation and protection applications. Orbit’s unlicensed 900Mhz radio can be deployed in various topologies including point to point, point to multipoint, and a self-healing store-and-forward network.

A variety of cellular modems are supported on Orbit covering 3G and 4G LTE technologies on most carriers and continents. Furthermore, Orbit supports communication over private LTE bands in the US and overseas. Orbit’s cellular modem can be used as a primary uplink, as a backup for a primary licensed or unlicensed radio, or in tandem with the primary radio. GPS is supported by select cellular modem options.

A Wi-Fi radio option can be selected as a standalone, or as a secondary radio for licensed, unlicensed or cellular radios. Orbit offers two versions of Wi-Fi to meet performance and cost requirements. A 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi option supports up to 7 clients/hosts per AP. A 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4/5 GHz option provides enhanced dual antenna (MIMO) performance and up to 32+ clients per AP.

Comprehensive Security Framework

A foundational building block for the MDS Orbit Platform is security, a core competency area for GE, and a critical consideration and requirement for evaluating wireless communications systems for customers across all industry types and geographies. GE approached the development of its comprehensive security framework from three different perspectives:

  • Securing the device – ensuring that the device isn’t compromised by tampering or alterations
  • Securing the user – ensuring that only the right users have access to prevent inappropriate device, network configuration, and status entry
  • Securing the network – ensuring that only the right devices are on the network by preventing unauthenticated access to the network/services

By securing the device, the user, and the network with open standards-based algorithms and protocols, the MDS Orbit Platform provides the necessary functions and tools to enable utilities to meet cybersecurity requirements and regulations.

Security Features Embedded in the MDS Orbit Platform