By Terry Neumann, Director of Market Strategy
As iDirect finished the second quarter of the year, we saw the first deliveries of the X7-EC Satellite Router(s), along with iDirect SatHaul™ to support LTE backhaul over satellite. We are very excited to have this product in the marketplace, which helps improve the efficiency and user experience for connecting 4G base stations over satellite.
Proof-of-Concept Trials Deemed Successful
During the first half of 2016, we conducted various proof-of-concept (POC) trials with different mobile operators to see how our solution would perform in their specific environments. Out of these tests we learned a good amount about some of the different network setups, and had the ability to try the iDirect SatHaul™ optimization with most of the popular infrastructure equipment from Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia and Alcatel Lucent.
Even though there were a few adjustments to make in order to work in the different operator environments, the standard interface of LTE seems to make integration much simpler than 2G or 3G networks which were much less standardized. We had success optimizing 4G traffic over all of these different infrastructure set ups and improving the 4G experience over satellite.
With key features like TCP Acceleration, header and payload compression, and optimization of IPSec links, iDirect SatHaul™ is an effective solution in 4G networks to improve the user experience and throughput when using satellite.
Satellite Backing Up the Big Players
One interesting point from our testing this year, was the fact that we worked with a number of operators in developed markets – from North America to Europe to Asia – where we have seen interest in using satellite for backhaul for 4G. Many times people think of satellite backhaul as only for developing markets where other backhaul options aren’t available, but with iDirect SatHaul™, the largest operators in the world are becoming interested in what we can do to help them improve their coverage.
The X7-EC is also being well-received, as deploying a remote with embedded computing capabilities saves on space and physical hardware costs while enabling unique applications to enhance the capability of the satellite network. The team has just finished building the final images for iDirect SatHaul™ and a few of the other applications, making it easier for our customers to install and commission these added capabilities.
As mobile operators continue to expand the reach of their networks and deliver 4G services to more rural locations, satellite has a role to play moving forward. iDirect’s unique feature set will be a key part of many mobile networks enabling connectivity in some of the most challenging environments.