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.

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.

Both factors combined represent a new set of considerations for satellite operators when it comes to Bringing HTS to Market. In fact, this is the title of a recently published whitepaper here at iDirect.

Written as an educational piece for the satellite operator community, this whitepaper examines the fundamental requirements that this new era of HTS will have on the satellite ground infrastructure.

We see four essential topics that rise to the top, which are highlighted in the whitepaper:

  • Performance and scale
  • Ensuring network and ground infrastructure reliability
  • Bandwidth management across multiple spot-beams
  • Service delivery

In the coming weeks, I will be exploring these topics in greater detail and Nikola Kromer heading up Product Marketing at iDirect will demonstrate how Satellite Operators can use our new product line VelocityTM to bring HTS capacity to market in the most profitable manner.

Join in the discussion using the hashtag #BringHTStoMarket.

Download the Bringing HTS to Market.

2 Responses to Bringing HTS to Market

  1. Denis,

    I have read a number of your blog posts over the past couple of years on these topics, and have found them to be educational and interesting. You have focused on the satellite operators as the vehicle to market for providing services using HTS. My questions relate to the traditional value-added service providers:

    1) Are these VARs now relegated to re-selling a managed platform provided by a satellite operator? A large part of the benefit to these VARs was the ability to recognize revenue and margin from marking up satellite bandwidth, in addition to providing uplink, hub services and a plethora of applications services, voice, internet, etc. The current model you have been talking about seems to push these service providers into the same mold as Inmarsat’s resellers, and I don’t think this fits the business models of the larger service providers.
    2) Is there any way for thee VARs to differentiate themselves at the satellite level, or must all future differentiation come from the value-added services only?

    And a question from the satellite operator’s perspective: In the case of satellite operators who traditionally have not provided services beyond access to their space segment, and who do not really have the infrastructure or desire to become a de facto service provider, what options are there for using HTS effectively?


    • Denis says:


      You know I love feedback, and challenging questions, so thanks again for taking some time out of your busy schedule to post such a well thought out and considered comments.

      To answer your question, is the existing VAR model going away? No not anytime soon. In fact in iDirect we consider the future to be a blend of different business models and approaches and for that to be the landscape for the foreseeable future.

      End customers are increasing presented with a various options, and one phrase I have heard from the UK MOD many times is a Golf bag approach (or maybe I read on Xstar’s Blog!). They would like to pick the best club for the situation. I am sure you would agree that the MOD’s of this world are coming from environments where they had rather fixed requirements, and thus expectations from the VAR on services and products they buy. But now they are considering all kind of option, maybe HTS for Welfare, and a national satellite program for C2 comms. But many shades of grey in between.

      The VAR have never had so many options.

      The reason I talk about HTS is that it’s new, and evolving, it’s not to say the existing infrastructure going away. In fact the recent Intelsat Flex announcement is a good example of service that will use new HTS capacity but also existing broad beam networks. HTS has created some new consideration, and may include the way business models are constructed but a blended portfolio will suit many VAR’s, something iDirect tried to explain in the following video:

      All that said, my thoughts are with the wonderful people of Nepal, you and I know so many great satellite engineers from that part of the world, and I am sure you would agree the Gurka’s are second too none.

      Thanks again, and keep the comments coming!


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