Author Archives: Denis Sutherland

Bringing HTS to Market

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Director of Business Development, iDirect

The advent of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology means that the VSAT industry is poised to enter a new era of innovation and possibility. Challenges associated with quality, reliability and cost have been addressed, positioning satellite communication for exponential growth and mass adoption.

At the most fundamental level, HTS represents a major advance in satellite architecture design.

Compared with a traditional broad-beam satellite, HTS can be defined by three primary characteristics, as depicted in the diagram below:

iDirect HTS

The use of multiple spot beams changes where infrastructure must be located and how it will be deployed and managed. With an HTS feeder link design, an operator can no longer place hubs anywhere under a beam. Instead, the entire hub infrastructure must be located within a feeder link managed by a single network operator. Read More

Preparing Oil and Gas for HTS

From OffComm News

It is predicted by NSR that by 2023 10% of connected O&G sites will be for exploration and production, and 12% of those sites will utilize HTS capacity.Denis Sutherland

The past year has brought steady progress on the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) front. For the oil and gas market, writes Denis Sutherland at iDirect, VSAT continues to play a large role in helping to send large data files and support greater use of video for multiple applications.

The industry is moving closer to the reality of HTS, with 2014 bringing the planned launch of several programs focused on the enterprise space. But most of all, the market is addressing critical questions that will set the framework for the next step forward.

Preparing the oil and gas market for HTS in the year ahead involves two evaluations: network design and business model.

Network Design
Frequency will have a direct impact across the ecosystem. The decision between Ka-band satellite and Ku-band satellite seems to garner much debate amongst the satellite community. But the reality is that one is not better than the other. Satellite operators continue to stand by the notion that it is not only a matter of frequency, but it also is dependent on the planned bandwidth allocated to the multi-spot beams, bandwidth efficiency tradeoffs, frequency reuse scheme and the architecture that determine the high throughput.

Business Model
Multi-spot beam architectures of HTS have a direct impact on the ground infrastructure and thus are changing the business models of satellite operators. They can no longer just focus just on space, but also need to consider how to build out cost effective ground infrastructure across a multi-spot beam architecture.

Satellite operators will change their business models to sell Mbps rather than MHz, due mostly to the fact that they will no longer be able to depend on service providers to build their own infrastructure. With this new focus service providers will be able to cost effectively access HTS via a managed service model. Continue >

HTS: 5 Points to Prepare for 2015

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

The dust has settled on yet another GVF HTS round table in London. For me, it was my fifth and final panel of 2014. That includes three GVF panels, one at Posidonia and one at the maritime event SMM. All have included lively debate and countless engagements with vendors, satellite operators, consultants and end customers.

Last week we took a look back at the year in HTS. As I alluded to in that blog, 2015 will be a year in which we continue to see more developments on the HTS front. Based on my participation in various conferences and other industry events, I have come away with five distinct things to watch as we prepare for 2015.

iDirect HTS 5 Points
1. The Inflection Point
Analyst projections show that HTS is just getting started as a great deal of capacity is coming online. The numbers paint an encouraging picture for the future.

For example, a report released earlier this year from NSR shows that leased HTS capacity increased by 25.6% in the last year and the wholesale revenue equivalent derived from the global HTS market in 2013 was estimated to be nearly $ 246.3 million, up 14.6% compared to 2012.

But the global market for HTS is still emerging. HTS demand growth rate is expected to rise above 30% annually with broadband access services to be the mainstay of demand. Overall, NSR forecasts that HTS capacity demand will surpass 1,000 Gbps by 2023. Read More

The Year in HTS: Market Debates and Program Debuts

By Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System EngineeringDenis Sutherland

As we begin looking ahead to 2015, I cannot help but first look back at the major progress that has been made on the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) front during 2014. These past 12 months have been particularly enlightening for me, as I’ve had the opportunity to engage in some thorough and thought-provoking dialogue with the industry about both the challenges and opportunities associated with HTS.

First things first: HTS satellites have launched. This year we moved closer to the reality of several HTS programs focused on the enterprise market. The launch of Inmarsat’s first Global Xpress satellite was a great step forward . As we look forward to 2015, the anticipation is that satellite launches will quicken, led by major programs like Intelsat EPIC.

Certainly the launch of these HTS programs presents a major milestone. They signal a new era for the industry. However, we must continue to focus on preparing enterprise markets for the impact that comes with HTS; most notably how we design networks, offer services and manage operations.

These very subjects were the topic of much discussion on the blog this past year. I posed some thoughts, encouraged the industry to respond—and heard back with some great insight. And before we look ahead to what 2015 will hold for HTS, let’s quickly recap what we’ve discovered over this past year. Read More

HTS and the Capacity to Accommodate Offshore Oil & Gas

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering 

From Offcomm News

The adoption of High Throughput Satellite in the oil and gas market will be impacted by the cost of the service compared to the uptime and availability that can be delivered.

More than two Tbps of HTS (High Throughput Satellite) capacity is projected to fill the sky over the next 10 years. This should provide a welcome opportunity for the offshore oil and gas sector, where satellite internet demand continues to escalate, says Denis Sutherland, senior manager, sales system engineering, iDirect.

Offshore rigs and platforms around the world remain heavy users of satellite broadband with their use of voice, video, and data applications – ultimately driving up the average consumption of bandwidth. Be it: applications connecting rigs with onshore production teams; safety applications and equipment monitoring to track operations; or personal connections for crew welfare, this growing use of data presents a service challenge that satellite network operators will need to face in the near future.

Both Ku-band and C-band have served the oil and gas offshore market for a number of years. C-band is the most reliable choice for operations where uptime is a must, but is also the most expensive choice per site. Ku-band is more cost-effective and is the most deployed satellite connectivity solution in the market. It is used in many areas where weather has less impact on performance. Continue>

Coming Down From Space, Part 2 of 2

BDenis Sutherlandy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Satellite operators’ business models are going to change due to the multi spot beam architecture of HTS. Satellite operators will need to focus not just on space but also on ground infrastructure. This new focus will enable their service provider (SP) customers to cost effectively access HTS via a managed service model. We predict that satellite operators will change their business models to sell Mbps rather than MHz. In my last blog I considered why, but in this one I would like to discuss what impact this may have.

How Do You Sell Mbps?

RSCC recently told SatTV Week that they are an “operator of infrastructure” during an interview at CommunicAsia 2014.

This demonstrates to me that satellite operators understand that they need to sell more than just a satellite’s capability in order to ultimately sell Mbps. Satellite operators must sell what’s on the ground, too; the quality, security and reliability of the ground infrastructure are significant. The ground elements are a critical part of the overall network architecture. Therefore, satellite operators will be responsible for the entire network if they are selling Mbps via a managed service model.

Could The VNO Model Be A Stepping Stone?

Satellite operators can control how their capacity comes to market by choosing one of four business models:

  • Vertically Integrated Model – (Mbps)
  • Managed Services Model – (Mbps)
  • Virtual Network Operator Model – (MHz)
  • Hub Co-location Model – (MHz)

Although all four business models are in use today, I made the case in my last blog that satellite operators that are selling MHz will gradually transition to a managed service model based on selling Mbps. However, the VNO model could serve as transition point for some. Read More

Coming Down from Space, Part 1 of 2

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

Satellite operators need to change their business model.

A lot is written about the benefits and advancements of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and the impact they will have on the satellite market. However, satellite operators will find it more difficult to sell megahertz (MHz) in a hub co-location model, as described here,  and instead will sell megabits per second (Mbps) and in a managed service model due to the increased infrastructure requirements created by multi spot beam satellites.

This change not only affects satellite operators, but also causes dramatic changes throughout the whole value chain. Let’s consider what is driving this change.

A couple of years ago, I talked with a CTO from a satellite service provider (SP) and he said that the company could not build a business case to enable the core iDirect infrastructure on a soon-to-be launched HTS. I realized we had the same problem with a second SP and on the same satellite.

So what was going on?

It turns out both satellite SPs planned to use a new HTS with really focused and powerful beams. However, they needed to use eight spot beams rather than one wide beam in order to cover the same geographic service area.  This meant that they needed to expand their iDirect infrastructure to handle 8X more outbound capability, which would be considerably more expensive. The issue is that the number of remote terminals in the network did not increase; the business case changed from 100 terminals on a single beam to 100 terminals on eight beams. So, the cost of the infrastructure was not viable to get the return on the satellite SPs’ investment.

Fortunately, iDirect solved the problem by working with the satellite operator to build the infrastructure and shared this with different SPs. Thus, the infrastructure costs were able to be shared across multiple business plans. Read More

The Battle of the Bands Continues at the GVF HTS Round Table

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

It never was a battle, really, but sometimes it can be an emotional discussion about which band is most suited to High Throughput Satellite (HTS) deployments. There was certainly a strong response on the “Battle of the Bands” blog piece I wrote, with over 300 votes in our online poll.

I enjoy social media because it gives me an opportunity to interact with partners across the globe and hear their views. Sometimes, people even talk to me. If you prefer that quirky way to communicate, I will be speaking at the GVF HTS Round Table on June 23, 2-2:30 p.m., in Washington D.C.:  “Engineering the HTS Solution.”

You never know what folks will ask when you sit on one of these panels, but some of the feedback I have received on recent blogs gives me some idea.  Also, the results of some of the polls below give me some insights on a couple of topics. It’s always nice to be prepared.

Which band do you think is better suited to HTS?

72% of people think Ka is a better option.

In my view it’s difficult to say one is any better than the other.  As satellite operators who need to make these hard choices repeatedly point out, it’s not only a matter of frequency but also depends on the planned bandwidth allocated to the multi-spot beams, bandwidth efficiency tradeoffs, frequency reuse scheme and the architecture that determine the high throughput. Intelsat and Eutelsat are just two that are placing their bets on high-throughput Ku payloads. Read More

What I learned at Posidonia2014: Roaming in Neptune’s Grass

By Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System EngineeringDenis Sutherland

I took my daughter’s iPad to a round table event at Posidonia2014 in Greece. She is only three, and I thought she would not miss it for a few days as it is important that we stay connected.  Nowhere is that more true than at sea; it must be tough for maritime crew to be away from their friends and family for long periods. I am glad to be part of the changes that are happening within satellite communications. Our technology is not only connecting people, but also driving business productivity.

With that said, I was very excited to be invited by Orange Business Services (OBS) and Gottlieb International to come and speak to 100 experts in Maritime IT at the recent Posidonia2014 event. This is important to me because there is a very healthy but heated debate concerning the future of High-Throughput Satellites (HTS), and maritime shipping is at the center of it.

Some questions need answers: Which band is best? Is global or regional coverage needed? How can satellite connectivity lose the perception that it is costly, to a tool that will save shipping companies money? How can we support business applications?

Nowhere is the future of broadband satellite connectivity more discussed than in the shipping community. Probably because they have gone through a lot of change, from a market dominated by L Band, then to wide-beam C and Ku. And now, there are interesting new HTS satellites coming into orbit. Read More

Hub Side Fade

Denis SutherlandBy Denis Sutherland, Sr. Manager, Sales System Engineering

In the last blog, we left off discussing about rain fade and the possibility it could hit on the hub side.

Adaptive will help mitigate rain fade on the hub side of things, but from a hub reliability and redundancy standpoint these are becoming even more critical. The centralized nature of having all of your hub equipment in a single feeder link, typically at a single teleport or multiple teleports in different feeder links, leads to larger network sizes, and the need to have a lot more redundancy and reliability of the link, in general.

Hub Side Fade

Utilizing Ka band as their uplink frequencies from the feeder links, this provides a challenge in being able to handle rain fades on the hub side. iDirect is introducing a feature that actually will allow a complete hub switchover from one hub to another hub located at a different location, seamlessly, that will allow the ability to overcome Ka band rain fade on the feeder links. Read More