In the last few months the Signal and Data Transport (SADT) Consortium has been working on finalising the detailed design of the SKA networks in preparation for Critical Design Review (CDR). A great deal of this progress has come from a three day face-to-face meeting held in Manchester during April and then during the June SKA Engineering meeting in Rotterdam. In particular the Rotterdam meeting allowed us to harmonise interfaces with other consortia to address changes arising from the Cost Control Project (CCP). The Consortium has been supporting the SKAO in several areas of the CCP, assessing the technical and financial impact of various proposed changes. The costings of the network solutions we have proposed have matured and the Consortium has made great strides in reducing costs. The bottom line SADT Cost Estimate dropped by €9.6M between March and June 2017.
The Consortium has completed four formal project milestones, delivering reports on the sub-system monitoring the frequency transfer prototype and on the physical network layout for the SKA1-low telescope, together with sub-system integration and test plans. Reviews have now started on several of the sub-element Detailed Design Documents and we are on schedule to submit our document set for CDR in November, subject to the outcome of the CCP and Revision 11 of Level 1 Requirements due to be issued imminently. SADT are currently running a technical down-select on two highly innovative and challenging frequency distribution systems to be completed in advance of the CDR.
We have conducted a procurement exercise for the hardware and software needed to test and demonstrate the functionality of the SKA Digital Data Backhaul (DDBH) system. There was a great deal of interest from industry in the various pieces of hardware we needed and we have signed contracts with Cisco/BT, ADVA, Coriant, Nagios, FibreStore and Insight/Mellanox as a result of the competitive tendering process. The DDBH tests will be conducted after CDR and will use the e-MERLIN installed fibre network as a test-bed.