By Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect
It has always been critical to ensure that satellite communications infrastructure remain online, and operational. High Throughput Satellites (HTS) introduce many reasons for redundancy and resiliency—five reasons, to be exact. Let’s take a look.
1) Gateway Architecture
One of the critical factors that impact satellite operators and service providers is the architecture of a high throughput satellite. Centrally located hub infrastructure accessing a gateway beam, a feeder link, leads to an increased amount of traffic generated from a single teleport, which equates to greater risk of network failure or service impact from uplink degradation. This is particularly relevant in the case of Ka-band, as its frequency has a higher susceptibility to rain fade compared to Ku-band and C-band. Since Ka-band frequencies are particularly prone to rain fade, a network must also leverage adaptive modulation techniques, such as Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) and Adaptive TDMA, to achieve the maximum data throughput and optimized traffic in changing weather conditions.
In many cases satellite operators that are managing the teleport will make provision for service degradation such as for weather so severe that ACM can’t protect the link, or for a failure in the teleport. This will also drive operators to consider smarter gateway diversity, ensuring that failure in one gateway, will be backed up in a different location. This is the case with Telenor’s Thor 7, as explained here, which has two uplinks in Norway to achieve carrier-grade availability.
2) Scale of Networks
In a previous blog I considered how HTS networks will increase in scale. There will be additional network infrastructure with HTS, due to increased numbers of beams, more terminals, and higher data rates. As the networks grows the need for reliable network infrastructure increases.
3) Complexity of Service
HTS networks with increased infrastructure, number of beams, products, and customers ultimately increase the complexity of service provision. This provision also needs to accommodate different business models, as we considered here.
HTS impacts the satellite value chain. Satellite operators most often pre-populate the multi spot beams with linecards oftentimes located in the same concentrated hub gateway since some HTS satellites have only a small number of dedicated beams, which must be used to access the satellite.
Spot-beam architecture also impacts infrastructure management. Each spot beam requires a dedicated line card. This adds up to a larger outlay on hub infrastructure as more equipment is needed to cover the same size area that was traditionally covered by a single wide beam.
4) Network Operations
HTS encourages a consolidation of infrastructure, with less flexibility available in terms of hub locations. These factors will result in networks with more remotes per network and a larger overall bandwidth pool to manage. Enabling such advances requires hub infrastructure scalability.
These networks will bring more complexity to the network operation center (NOC). This complexity comes from more complex network architectures with HTS/ broad beam/hybrids. As networks increase in size the complexity accumulates. This is driven by remotes supporting higher throughputs with more business grade applications and associated Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Thus, there will be an increased need for real-time monitoring of network performance, especially to ensure that larger volumes of bandwidth running across the network are fully optimized.
5) Integration with Third-Party Systems
Satellite is becoming key to connecting people wherever they go, and whatever they are doing. To achieve this, the operating model in an HTS environment demands a seamless interface between network and business operations. An open, yet secure Web Service API technology plays a key role here. It enables the NMS to connect with other Operation Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS). This further streamlines NOC operations by synchronizing multiple independent systems and reducing human error. To read more about iDirect’s vision for next-generation NMS technology, download our white paper.
One of the primary value propositions of satellite is the fact that the technology is resilient and can keep users connected at all times. With the advent of HTS, the industry must take the proper steps to ensure that this resiliency remains strong.
Now it’s time to take a look at these factors in greater technical detail. For that I will hand it off to my colleague Nikola Kromer, who next week will examine how iDirect Velocity® addresses these topics around resiliency and complex operations for satellite operators.