What is IRS?

IRS provides a neat solution to the problem of multiple satellite dishes and aerials required on a single building to serve each apartment. IRS Systems allows you to distribute services such as Sky +, Sky Q, Freeview, FM or DAB radio to multiple homes and multiple rooms with only one satellite array. IKM’s residential division have successfully undertaken a number of MDU deployments featuring numerous satellite broadcasters equipment on one array all served by a Fibre Optic backbone utilising Global Invacom conversion equipment to serve each property. The lack of signal degradation provided within a Fibre backbone ensures a perfect signal from Dish to Television.

An IRS is the collection of Satellite, TV & Radio services being combined for distribution, to either multiple individual properties on a large housing project or for distribution to multi-dwelling units such as blocks of flats or new high rise apartment buildings. A typical single satellite IRS system would include a main satellite and aerial array installed at the roof location and from here cabling would connect to what is called a main headend. At the headend, various amplification and filtering would take place before distributing the combined signal over the designed cabling network. Each property would be connected to this system and would have the ability to receive Digital TV Channels, FM Radio, Digital Radio and the option to subscribe to a satellite provider such as SKY or purchase a Freesat set-top box.

Difference between IRS vs FIRS?

An IRS is typically designed using a coaxial cabling structure where for a single satellite and aerial setup you would require 5 x 5mm coaxial cables to distribute the signal throughout the network. Due to the signal loss and degradation over coaxial cable, repeated amplification is required as the network expands further away from the main headend.


  • At least 5 cables required to distribute a single system setup
  • 4 additional cables required for each extra satellite signal
  • High signal losses over short distance
  • Costly active equipment to amplify signals over the network
  • Large area required for amplification and distribution equipment
  • Power required at every amplification and distribution point
  • Large use of active equipment within the system
  • Costly system to upgrade or upscale
  • Limitation on size of system
  • CT100 Cable loss 21bB over 100 metres or 210dB over 1000 metres

A FIRS (Fibre Optic Integrated Receiving System) is designed using fibre optic cabling where a single cable could support a setup providing up to 8 satellites signals. A FIRS system installed by IKM can be designed to support from 32 to over 10000 connected homes each receiving the same signal levels as if they were connected to their own aerial and satellite dish.


  • Only 1 x Fibre Optic cable link required to satellite array
  • No active equipment required between headend and property
  • Signal distributed over PON (Passive Optical Network)
  • Signals not affected by EMI (Electrical Magnetic Interference)
  • No electrical equipment required in riser reducing fire risks
  • Minimal space required at distribution points
  • A system capable of being distributed over 5km
  • Easy to expand and upscale as required
  • Fibre Cable loss 0.03dB over 100 metres or 0.30dB over 1000 metres

How Does FIRS work?

The satellite & combined aerial signals are connected to an Optical Device Unit (ODU) where signals are converted to an optical output. This optical output is distributed over the fibre optic cabling network called a PON (Passive Optical Network). The signal can be distributed over a network using optical splitters which take the incoming signal and split it into forms of 2,4,8,16 & 32. From the splitter location, a single fibre cable is run to the end user’s property where it is connected to a Gate Way Unit (GTU) within the home. The GTU converts the signal back to coaxial outputs which are connected to the internal cabling within the home, enabling the customer to connect to satellite (SKY or Freesat) or terrestrial (Freeview) set-top boxes or directly into a digital ready TV or DAB radio.

IKM’s FIRS Systems can be designed to support multiple foreign satellite services to cater for MDU’s where there is a high degree of diversity or where there is a demand for non-English programming.

With a FIRS system, up to 4 satellite signals can be distributed over a single fibre cable for use with Global Switchblade technology. The 4 satellites signals can be stacked together and distributed via coaxial outputs for connection to the home cabling network.

Talk to us about how our IRS TV Services can help you

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Wingate have engaged IKM on numerous data and comms contracts at our secure MOD project, where John Leach and his team have excelled in understanding the security complexities and in their standard of work.

The works were carried out safely, to programme and budget and without incident, under demanding circumstances. The installation was tested and signed off and approved by the Clients representatives, who told me personally the standard of work was to the highest standard they have seen for some time.

I would have no hesitation in recommending IKM to anyone.

Paul Gardiner, Wingate Building Services

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