Category Archives: HTS

Satellite 2014: Latin America-An Emerging Region Emerges

Latin America remains a region of both opportunity and challenge for satellite communication. The coming of HTS is providing excitement around the idea of delivering great capacity at lower costs in order to help meet customer demands, yet government regulations remain a hot topic that all satellite companies need to monitor closely.

A panel discussion at Satellite 2014 addressed such topics, touching on the ways in which such factors will influence this region’s ability to maintain its moniker as “emerging” for years to come.

The Value Chain Change: Could we see a shift in the way the typical value chain is constructed? Russell Ribeiro, Regional Vice President Latin America, Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., believes this could indeed be the case, citing demand from customers to provide a full solution and new pricing levels for customers. While HTS will deliver huge capacity, he also expects a sharp drop on the price of capacity and believes new platforms will help create opportunities to deliver new services at lower costs.

He anticipates more vertical partnerships being created in the coming years in order to provide a complete solution targeted at specific markets. That could, however, create certain challenges if such partnerships compete with existing customers of the companies involved.

Overall, this potential change in the way value chains are assembled speaks to a an emerging trend in the region: demand for total cost of ownership of the entire communications infrastructure, says Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, RVP, Latin America and Caribbean Sales, Intelsat. This all revolves around providing better cost efficiencies to the customer. Read More

Satellite 2014: What’s Next in HTS

One of the most widely anticipated sessions at Satellite 2014 was “What’s Next in HTS.” NSR president Christopher Baugh moderated a panel of industry leaders who shared their insights on how HTS will propel satellite communications forward and how best to manage this critical inflection point.

Defining HTS 

The session opened with an attempt to define HTS. The answer isn’t an easy one, though. As several panelists suggested, you can argue when the first High Throughput Satellite launched or whether to define HTS by throughput, architecture, beam size, payload or all of the above. But the panelists all agreed on this: HTS represents an increasingly rapid improvement in capacity, throughput and pricing.

Mike Cook, senior vice president with Hughes, outlined the exponential leap in throughput on a Hughes satellite, surging from 10 Gbps in 2008 to more than 150 Gbps today. iDirect CTO Dave Bettinger shared NSR’s projection that HTS capacity will soon exceed 2.6 Tbps.

John Zlogar, vice president of commercial networks at ViaSat, highlighted the massive increase in HTS launches and the significant improvement in the cost of capacity per bit. And Ashok Rao, O3B Networks vice president of product development, shared his company’s bullish growth plans, which included an elliptical orbit fleet, higher throughput rates and new target markets.

Maximizing HTS Opportunity 

Certainly, the numbers are strong, Baugh suggested, before setting up the day’s key question: How can the industry best monetize all this new capacity? Are all the business cases in place, or could this be another version of the satellite industry placing a risky 20-year bet on an uncertain future? Read More

Power to Scale to HTS Networks

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

In my last blog, I discussed how ground infrastructure providers like iDirect have a tricky job keeping their technology at the pace of change of developments in space.  Much has been said about the exciting changes in the VSAT industry, not least with the many High Throughput Satellites (HTS) launched or planned.

The reality is that there is no common way to build an HTS satellite. O3B is exceptionally different from the other constellations, but we have also seen many other differences in terms of numbers of beams, size of transponders, polarization, onboard process and many other factors. I talked about some of the different business models here.

One thing they have in common is that HTS brings many more beams to cover a similar geographical area. For example, a typical Ku satellite beam could cover Europe, but with an HTS Ka satellite, you may require 30 or more beams.  This multi-beam frequency reuse is obviously one of the key advantages of an HTS architecture, but I will not talk about that here. Intelsat do a very good job on the “teach in video” you can view:

Let’s consider how this change impacts the ground vendors or service providers using a TDMA platform like iDirect.  With a non-HTS Ku satellite, from a design perspective, we would assume for Europe wide coverage that a single DVB-S2 outbound would sufficiently cover the continent,  up to a limited amount of total IP traffic, and we can run some sophisticated modeling to work out numbers of terminals contention ratios, SLA, rain fade with resultant ACM impact. Easy! Read More

What to Look for at SATELLITE 2014: The Debate about HTS Business Models

From Via Satellite

High Throughput Satellites (HTS) is undoubtedly one of the industry’s hottest topics, no longer confined to a few geographies. As HTS “globalizes,” new questions arise such as how platforms will tend to evolve worldwide; what challenges and opportunities are expected from the emergence of empowering service architectures; and the business models and technologies behind them. With the entire satellite industry gradually transitioning to HTS, these are important debate topics. They affect all stakeholders in the satellite broadband, backhaul and trunking ecosystems including manufacturers, satellite operators, telcos/MNOs, service providers, broadcasters, technology vendors and — most importantly — end users.

Central to the HTS debate is the topic of the business models and, in particular, the pros and cons of the so-called “closed” and “open” network architectures. This is subject to further exploration, debate and clarification during Satellite 2014.

“Closed” HTS Models

The number one goal through this architecture is achieving the lowest possible operational cost per bit on the satellites. This usually pushes HTS architectures toward some degree of vertical integration; such as when the roles of the satellite operator, network infrastructure and IP service are integrated and managed by a single player. Prime examples of this model are HughesNet and ViaSat exede in the U.S. and Eutelsat tooway (KASAT) in Europe. Continue>

Smooth Sailing for Maritime HTS?

iDirect's Terry Neumann

iDirect’s Terry Neumann

Market forecasts show that the number of maritime vessels relying on VSAT as their primary means of communications will more than double by 2016, to more than 26,000. Terry Neumann, iDirect’s director of market strategy, talks current trends and future direction of this market with regards to HTS.

Set the current stage with regards to the adoption of VSAT broadband in maritime and where you see the biggest opportunities ahead. 

Neumann: We have already seen operators in segments like cruise, offshore oil and gas, and super yachts heavily adopt the use VSAT technology. They are actively leveraging their VSAT networks to help improve ship-to-shore communications, boost business productivity and address crew welfare. Demand in these markets continues to grow as new IP applications are increasing throughput requirements every year.

Outside of these segments there is still plenty of opportunity for VSAT broadband to further permeate the maritime market. Large market segments, like industrial fishing or commercial shipping, have been slower to adopt VSAT despite the fact that they could greatly benefit from using VSAT for all the aforementioned purposes and more. To date, they have been hesitant to adopt due to a range of variables including cost and bandwidth requirements. Read More

HTS Spotlight Series – HTS Profile: Intelsat EpicNG


Intelsat’s Steve Good, Vice President, Network Services

The Intelsat EpicNG platform is an innovative approach to satellite and network architecture utilizing C-, Ku- and Ka-bands, wide beams, spot beams, and frequency reuse technology to provide a host of customer-centric benefits. Designed as a complementary overlay to Intelsat’s largest fixed satellite network, Intelsat EpicNG will be fully integrated with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and global IntelsatOne terrestrial network.

Why did Intelsat choose to introduce an HTS platform and where are you in the process?

Intelsat’s approach to High Throughput Satellites is Intelsat EpicNG. We designed our HTS platform in response to an environment where higher throughput and lower cost per bit delivered is required to usher in the next generation of fixed and mobile broadband applications. The Intelsat EpicNG design leverages a mix of spot beams in Ku- and C-band to focus power and bandwidth to geographic areas of highest demand, complemented by wide beams to provide expanded coverage, based upon the user application.

Intelsat EpicNG is fully integrated with our existing traditional fleet to allow customers to leverage their current satellite networking investments and also to choose the spectrum and coverage type that works best for their particular needs. The Intelsat EpicNG satellites complement our existing fleet offering service providers and their end users a complete global solution with the coverage and capacity that they need now and into the future. Continue>

HTS Revenues Easily Offset Any FSS C/Ku Losses

From Talk Satellite

Concern has been raised throughout the satellite industry that the vast amount of new HTS supply coming to market, forecasted by NSR to increase by 1.5 Tbps by 2022, will swamp existing C- and Ku-band transponder demand leading to a global drop in C/Ku pricing and negatively impacting revenues for legacy FSS services.

NSR does not deny, and in fact readily concurs, that some existing C- and Ku-band transponder demand for applications like backhaul, trunking and VSAT networking will suffer in the coming years due to the arrival of new HTS systems. And there will as well be significant transponder price pressure for certain applications and/or satellites if some operators try to compete using classic C/Ku transponders on a pure price basis with the new HTS capacity.

This being said, NSR also argues based on data from its Global Assessment of Satellite Supply & Demand 10th Edition study that, net-net, the migration to HTS services is overall advantageous to the satellite industry in terms of real revenue gains in the coming ten years. The chart below attempts to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of NSR’s forecasted net revenue gains for C- and Ku-band services – excluding the video distribution and DTH verticals that are the strongest natural fit for classic FSS capacity and benefit the least from the move to HTS – compared to the net wholesale HTS capacity revenue growth – excluding consumer broadband access services, which are effectively a new market segment. Continue>

Post Event Report: Global VSAT Forum’s “High Throughput Satellites 2013: The Game-Changer in Action”

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

GX and O3B are in orbit; Telenor will launch in 2014; and Avanti has been operational for some time. All of these High Throughput Satellite (HTS) programs have different approaches to allocate space segment and operate over different business models. Overlay that with hosted payloads, satellite operators hosting HTS and broadcast payloads, and it’s a complex new world.

The recent GVF HTS event in London provided a forum for some interesting discussion around go-to-market models for satellite operators in the HTS market. The good news is that there now seems to be consensus within the industry that HTS does not mean Ka-band frequency. It could also refer to Ku- and X-band systems, with some satellite operators said they would consider a C-band HTS offering.

Some of the more interesting discussion was around the advantages of an open or closed approach.  Although some dispute this whole concept, in reality there are 50 Shades of Grey between open and closed.

Closed models taken to the most extreme would be something like the Viasat-1 approach where a satellite operator has a complete, vertically integrated service provision, owns the satellite, and develops the ground infrastructure. At the other end of the spectrum, Intelsat’s plans for Epic are characterized by an open architecture akin to what the VSAT industry is accustomed with traditional Ku-band satellites. Others are in between, potentially allowing multiple vendors or different service providers to build networks. Read More

GVF HTS Conference: Engineering the HTS Solution

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

I’m excited to see what’s in store for our industry as it undergoes a major transformation.

It is great to see all of the eagerness from the people within industry as new, game-changing technologies and solutions begin to emerge. I mostly see this enthusiasm when it comes to high throughput satellites (HTS) finally coming online and offering our partners more growth and opportunities.

However, I also sense a lot of apprehension. While HTS is offering a lot of promise, behind the HTS hype, many challenges are falling on the shoulders of engineers who are now tasked to develop solutions that prepares both operators and service providers for the arrival of this unpredictable technology. I hear countless questions and concerns such as:

  • How can we maximize on HTS multi-spot beam and frequency reuse architectures?
  • How has ground infrastructure evolved to support HTS designs?
  • How can we help meet customer expectations when HTS officially comes online?
  • What technology is available to effectively support HTS terminals, portable devices, smaller antennas and battle against unpredictable spectral changes such as rain fade?

Read More

iDirect and Via Satellite to Present Webinar on HTS

A growing need for connectivity is driving demand for bandwidth across the satellite industry, creating major opportunity for VSAT in the enterprise space. And more opportunity is coming with the arrival of high throughput satellites (HTS).

However, while there is considerable hype surrounding HTS, there is still much to understand about how HTS will fully impact the industry from both a technical and business perspective. To examine this critical development, iDirect’s Chief Technology Officer Dave Bettinger presented a Webinar on HTS, on Thursday December 5th, 2013, hosted by Via Satellite.

During the presentation, Bettinger discussed:

  • How HTS will impact ground infrastructure requirements. Bettinger walked through what to look for in choosing the right infrastructure to ensure the network is able to support multiple frequencies, handle redundancy, support smaller terminals and manage bandwidth across multiple spot beams.
  • Assessing new HTS business models. Bettinger discussed how go-to market strategies will involve managing a blended mixture of business models to support different capital and operational costs. This will enable both service providers and operators to profit from a range of network architectures and business strategies.
  • Creating new value for service providers. With HTS, service providers will focuss les on managing networks and more on service customers. Bettinger reviewed new tools service providers can leverage to create value for their customers.

Read More