Internet over Satellite

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Telecom Namibia selects Gilat for SkyEdge II broadband satellite network

Telecom Namibia has selected Gilat to provide a SkyEdge II Broadband Satellite Network to serve various locations throughout Namibia. The new, IP oriented and higher capacity network will replace legacy equipment and enable the connection of new sites to broadband services.

According to the company, the implementation of the 600-site Sky Edge II network commenced in mid-2010 and is in final stages of completion. Telecom Namibia will use the SkyEdge II network to deliver Internet and VoIP services to residential and enterprise customers.

Laban Hiwilepo, general manager of Network Provisioning and Assurance, Telecom Namibia, said: "Gilat has been a long term partner for Telecom Namibia. Their track record in product leadership and service support was a key consideration in our selection process.

"By upgrading our network to Gilat's SkyEdge II VSAT platform, we aim to establish a more bandwidth efficient infrastructure and improve our satellite capacity utilization, enabling us to expand our customer footprint and deliver broadband access to even more locations throughout the country."

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ViaSat Formalizes Agreement with JetBlue Airways for Ka-band In-flight High-Speed Internet Service

ViaSat Inc. and JetBlue Airways have reached a definitive agreement to deploy the first Ka-band commercial aviation broadband network using ViaSat-1, the world's highest capacity Ka-band satellite. The agreement formalizes the memorandum of understanding, entered into last September, in which the companies announced their intention to create the industry's best in-flight broadband for commercial aviation, using ViaSat's innovative Ka-band satellite technology. Ka-band has the ability to offer higher transmission speeds, more bandwidth for each customer, and more attractive airtime pricing than other high-speed in-flight Internet access alternatives. The agreement includes an order valued at over $30 million for Ka-band airborne terminals and services to outfit the JetBlue fleet of more than 170 aircraft.

"Over the past few months we have worked closely with JetBlue and LiveTV to finalize a user-friendly and scalable satellite network for in-flight broadband," said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat CEO and chairman. "We believe the economics of Ka-band will create an environment that will engage more passengers and offer a broader range of online experiences in the air."

Under the agreement, ViaSat will provide satellite broadband terminals for installation on the airline's Airbus A320 and Embraer E190 aircraft along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue satellite broadband network, including the high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellite. JetBlue will be the first airline to receive the ViaSat Ka-band system, and those initial installations are expected to be quickly followed by deployment onboard the Continental Airlines fleet, as announced on March 22 by JetBlue's wholly-owned subsidiary, LiveTV, and subject to final agreement. Installations are expected to begin in 2012.

"We believe JetBlue, LiveTV, and ViaSat make a great team, enabling our customers to stay connected, informed and entertained while in the air," said Robin Hayes, JetBlue chief commercial officer. "Together, we will introduce a product that will give customers true social networking connectivity at altitude – a 21st Century product that will scale with the ever-increasing reliance we all have on our personal communications devices. We will also have the flexibility to design content and price-points around customer's needs, whether that be emailing or streaming movies, at a much more competitive price point than today's ground-to-air products."

The system, the first of its kind for commercial aviation, must be certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration. LiveTV will manage the certification, integrate the ViaSat broadband and related components onboard the aircraft, and provide the Wi-Fi enabled services into the cabin.

"We have been waiting for the right technology to deliver the highest speed and lowest cost connectivity to an aircraft," said Glenn Latta, president of LiveTV. "Our partnership with ViaSat will deliver a system that puts the airline back in control, allowing airlines the freedom to bundle and price the service in ways consistent with their brand."

The in-flight Ka-band system being developed for JetBlue is also a key step in ViaSat's expansion of its successful Yonder® global mobile satellite network to Ka-band in key international markets. ViaSat is adding capacity from regional partners to the network, such as Eutelsat in Europe and Yahsat in the Middle East, which will be accessible to a rapidly growing base of aviation, maritime, and government subscribers now getting high-speed access from Ku-band satellites.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hughes launching Jupiter satellite in 2012, may actually provide broadband internet

If you're stuck in an area that's not served by an existing broadband source, your options for hopping on the world wide web at a rate hastier than 56Kbps are limited. Severely limited. The go-to alternative for the past few years has been HughesNet, a satellite-based "broadband" service that offers users 2Mbps down / 300Kbps up for a staggering $120 per month. It's definitely a last resort, and many satellite gamers have kvetched that triple-digit ping times have all but destroyed their yearning to catch a round of Counter-Strike before hitting the sack.

hughesnet jupiter communication satellite

If all goes well, however, this entire situation could be up-ended by 2012. Hughes just landed the financing it needs to launch a $400 million Jupiter satellite into orbit, theoretically giving it over 100 Gigabits per second of capacity and enabling it to seriously expand its customer base. Once launched, consumers could be offered download rates as high as 20Mbps, and while that's far from impressive, it's definitely a step-up for those positioned in bandwidth-starved locales. Until then, it looks like you'll still need to Photoshop your speed tests to convince yourself you're really on a high-speed connection. Jupiter™, Hughes’ next generation, Ka-band, 100+ Gbps, high-throughput satellite system. Planned for launch in 2012, Jupiter will have 100 times the capacity of conventional Ku-band satellites, and will enable Hughes to continue its leadership in delivering high-speed services to enterprises, government agencies, and consumers, now with over 500,000 subscribers in North America.

A technical requirement for setting up satellite Internet at one's home or business in North America is that the satellite dish for sending and receiving signals must have an unobstructed view of the southern sky. That is because the satellites are in a geostationary, or fixed-position, orbit 22,000 miles (36,000 km) over the equator. (This requirement is one more reason why satellite Internet does not lend itself to urban landscapes.)

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In-flight Internet Coming to an Intercontinental Flights

Lots of big airlines have grabbed onto the in-flight-Internet trend. Because most of the newcomers are heavily involved with intercontinental travel, they're installing satellite rather than ground-based systems. Within the next year or so, you'll be able to connect to the Internet on a blue ribbon list of major intercontinental players, and woe to those competitors that lag.

Nine North American lines are in various stages of completing installation of the Gogo system for domestic travel: Air Canada, AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways, and Virgin America. Gogo, which relies on ground-based transmitter/receiver stations, seems to be robust and probably offers good Wi-Fi performance at the lowest cost. But because it's ground-based, it can't connect over the oceans. As far as I know, Gogo is the only ground-based system active in the marketplace, and I'd be surprised if anyone else tries to displace it in North America.

The only way to get Internet access over extended water bodies is via satellite, and a handful of satellite operators have already cut deals with many of the world's top airlines:

* JetBlue just signed up with ViaSat for its entire fleet, with service starting in 2012. Probably, JetBlue wants to be able to offer Internet connection on its increasing number of overwater flights in the Caribbean area.
* Southwest has started to outfit its planes with the Row44 system. It remains to be seen how Southwest will rationalize its 737 fleet with the Gogo-equipped AirTran fleet after the acquisition.
* So far, the most widely accepted satellite system is OnAir, boasting a customer list that includes Air Asia, British Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, Singapore, TAP Portugal, and Wataniya. Some are already operating, on some planes; others will be installed over the next two years.
* Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa have signed up for Panasonic's Exconnect system, and Qatar Airways opted for the TopSeries system from Thales.

So far, none of the major intercontinental lines has announced satellite Internet pricing for flights to/from the United States. As I noted in the earlier report, you can buy Gogo access through a variety of "passes," ranging from $4.95 for a single short flight to$34.95 a month for unlimited access on all participating airlines. Presumably, transoceanic satellite service will be priced near these levels or higher. Also, some airlines will likely offer satellite Wi-Fi "free" to travelers in premium cabins, travelers on premium tickets, and top-level frequent flyers.

Noticeably absent from the list of satellite adopters are any big domestic U.S. airlines for their overseas services. Although the jury is still out on how many travelers will use satellite Internet, my guess is that it will become quite popular, and that lack of overwater service will be still another competitive difficulty for U.S. lines that already suffer from chronic low-satisfaction ratings.

Another complication: So far, none of the big three alliances seems to have standardized on one system. Within Star Alliance, for example, Singapore is with OnAir while Lufthansa has gone with Exconnect. Incompatibilities like this among alliance members could become vexatious if travelers have to buy into the various systems separately. Presumably, these lines will work out the details.

Regardless of technology or supplier, I'm pretty sure that, this time, in-flight Internet will catch on in a big way. The ability to do online searches, business, entertainment, email, and all those other Internet tasks while you're stuck on an airplane would seem to be extremely attractive to a large number of travelers. If you like the idea of spending some of those boring flight hours online, you'll probably have lots of choices, starting next year.

Would you pay for Internet on intercontinental flights? Share your thoughts by submitting a comment below!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

iDirect Unveils Software Upgrade for Evolution Platform

VT iDirect has released iDX 2.1, the latest software upgrade to its Evolution platform. iDirect’s Evolution line is based on the DVB-S2 transmission standard with Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM). iDX 2.1 aims to increase DVB-S2/ACM efficiency gains through faster data processing speeds, while introducing network scalability improvements and new functionality to iDirect’s group quality of service technology. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.

idirect evolution modems

With the release of iDX 2.0, iDirect has integrated 2D 16-State FEC coding technology into its overall platform to give customers an increase of up to 20 percent in their inbound IP throughput without sacrificing link performance.

“To date, iDirect partners have launched more than 200 Evolution networks. In addition, the world’s top five satellite operators and major telecom carriers have now deployed or are migrating to Evolution,” iDirect said in a company statement.

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Why you should avoid satellite Internet

Satellite internet is often called the better alternative, and that it has so many wonderful features and ways to save you money. In all reality, the only people who should be bothering with satellite Internet are those who live in the middle of nowhere and have no other option, besides dial-up, for high speed Internet. Here's why:

#1 Reason to Avoid Satellite Internet: Usage Limits

The big names in satellite Internet, HighesNet and Wild Blue, both have usage limits. That means you can only use the Internet so much per day, or month. You have a set amount of downloading and uploading. If you go over that amount, say goodbye to your Internet.

No big deal, you say? You don't download movies or music so you'll have no problem with usage limits. Don't jump to conclusions. Downloading includes playing games online; Farmville on Facebook will suck up your usage in no time. Downloading also includes every single time you open and close a web page. Basically everything you do online takes up some of your usage limit.

When do get the usage you used one day back? For Wild Blue, generally after a month. Don't forget, though, that the day your usage disappears, more is being added on for that day's use. Every day you are removing usage and heaping more on. HughesNet is daily, meaning you get full usage back after one day.

Services like Wild Blue like to forget to mention usage limits to the unsuspecting. At least until it is too late and your Internet has slowed down to snail mode. They do allow you to check your limit, but the little online graph does little to help you understand or keep track. It would be nice to know when you spent a huge day downloading so you can keep an eye on when it will drop off the usage.

#2 Reason to Avoid Satellite Internet: Cost

Cable Internet can offer you those deals where you get phone, Internet, and TV for one price. With satellite Internet that isn't so much an option. Directv does have a deal with Wild Blue, but they just combine your bill. With satellite Internet you are paying more for limited use. Wild Blue's middle plan of 12,000mb use a month costs $70. At HughesNet, you will pay $70-$80 for 425mb a day. Most cable companies will offer you bundles that include phone, Internet, and TV for a discounted price.

Also, if you accidentally go over your usage limit you will still be paying for it while you wait for the usage to drop down to usable quality.

Of course, that doesn't include the set up costs. With Wild Blue, expect to pay at least $200 to have the satellite installed and up and running. They will even charge you for a pole to put it on. With HughesNet, you can expect to pay up to $400 or more. They offer rebates to lower the cost, but how many people bother with those? All of them require a contract of 18 months to 2 years, making them difficult to get rid of if you decide you don't like satellite Internet.

#3 Reason to Avoid Satellite Internet: The Weather

Anyone with satellite TV knows the feeling of watching your favorite show or sports event, and then it suddenly starts to rain. You hope the rain stops or stays light, while you stare at the screen, just waiting for those evil lines to distort the screen and then your show disappears altogether. All you can do is wait for the rain to stop or slow down.

Expect the exact same thing with satellite Internet. Rain, clouds, and heavy snow will all affect your Internet. You can lose service completely until the weather clears. That means, if you depend on the satellite Internet for your phone service, you will be out of luck. Of course, this helps you lower your usage for a month from then, but does little if you are working or watching a movie. Also, you're still paying that huge monthly fee for Internet you can't use.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Citrix Innovation Award 2010 for satellite-based IT solution XWARP™

ND SatCom, an SES ASTRA company, is on the short list for the Citrix Innovation Award 2010 with its satellite-based IT solution XWARP™. The award winner will be announced during the Citrix Synergy event in San Francisco from May 12-14, 2010. XWARP™ is the first satellite-based IT solution which offers companies with a distributed workforce or their IT service providers, almost latency-free software performance by separating the user interface from the application running on the server. XWARP™ enables satellite internet connections to run at LAN speed with the lowest satellite bandwidth consumption, even in the most remote areas.

This is an extremely efficient and high performance product that provides responsiveness that is better than many internal, LAN-based SAP implementations without using a lot of satellite bandwidth. XWARP™ incorporates years of network optimization background and a relentless focus on end-user experience from Citrix to deliver one of the most compelling and innovative satellite-based offerings.

ND SatCom introduced hosted virtual desktops for centralized management and delivery of its applications to branch office employees, and hosted Blade PC desktops for its CAD engineers, providing the superior performance of HDX technology for graphics-intensive applications. Additionally, ND SatCom completely replaced its existing server virtualization environment with Citrix.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reliable Satellite Internet Services for Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq

For the U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, lack of poor communication infrastructure poses lots of problems to communicate back home to their families and anywhere in the globe. Satellite Internet providers are committed to provide high speed internet services to cater the needs of communicating them back home with their respective families.

satellite internet iraq

Their services offer two-way high-speed Internet access with no phone lines or any dial-up modem. It’s always online, ADSL quality and affordable. The offered satellite system is ideally suited for all types of broadband requirements such as Internet, browsing, etc.

Some of them understands the needs and have taken it a step further whereby providing free satellite internet systems for the military troops, soldiers, marines in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They can share the internet connection with other users via WiFi or a basic LAN. This is an ideal solution for soldiers with a laptop in hand and connecting to Internet in their camps.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Gilat enters deal to acquire RaySat

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. announced plans to acquire U.S. company and military satellite communications technologies developer Raysat Antenna Systems.

Israel's company Gilat says it entered into a deal to purchase RAS, a developer of mobile satellite antenna technologies, to strengthen its footprint in the security and defense satellite communications market.

Under the acquisition deal worth approximately $25 million, the U.S. unit of RAS will become part of Gilat's Spacenet Integrated Government Solutions subsidiary. Officials say the acquisition is expected to be completed before October.

"With this acquisition, we plan to bring together two innovative leaders in the industry with complementary technologies," Amiram Levinberg, Gilat chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"We believe that this partnership will lead to a new level of high-speed, highly mobile communications for the military, emergency response organizations and other markets with a need for fast, flexible, on the move communications."

Gilat Announces Integrated Satellite On The Move solutions

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. and Orbit Technology Group announced today that they have completed integration for Satellite Communications On-The-Move (SOTM) solutions to serve a wide range of industries.

The new SOTM solutions provided by Gilat includes its advanced VSAT platforms with Orbit's Stabilized Satellite Communication Systems. These serve the complex mobile communications requirements of the ground and maritime markets.

Gilat is a leading provider of products and services for satellite-based communications networks. Orbit is a recognized leader in the development of advanced solutions for Stabilized Mobile Satellite Communication and Tracking Antennas.

Recently, the integrated Gilat-Orbit SOTM solution was successfully deployed by Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the national railway company of Kazakhstan. Gilat provided the integrated solution to enable the delivery of broadband wireless services to train passengers, representing the first satellite-based broadband service for train passengers in the region.

Gilat's SkyEdge II VSATs together with Orbit's maritime antennas were also deployed on offshore oil platforms, vessels and exploration sites operated by China's CNOOC Oil Base Group.

Joshua Levinberg, Executive Vice President, Corporate Business Development & Strategy, said, "We see the SOTM market as a growing market and an important building block in our growth strategy. Orbit has proven to be an excellent partner for efficient solutions in the various SOTM markets. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Orbit and to providing integrated solutions that meet the demanding requirements of these important markets."

Avi Cohen, Orbit's President and CEO, said, "The market for SOTM solutions is growing rapidly. The integration of our Stabilized Satellite Communication Mobile SatCom systems with Gilat VSAT technology creates an excellent SOTM solution for key markets. In addition, Gilat's vast global network of experienced professionals delivers the dedicated support required to ensure the success of our joint solution."