Communications are undergoing a complete transition from what we know as the norm, towards a somewhat unknown reality, where anything and everything will eventually be connected. Of course, this is no easy feat for established networks built on fixed, tried and tested infrastructure and as new applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), continues to advance and connected objects become commonplace, universal high-capacity, high-speed connectivity will become a necessity, anywhere and everywhere. Consequently, the role of satellite will play a growing role, delivering seamless, high-bandwidth broadband services to once unimaginable locations, including out at sea and in the sky.
When it comes to the ways in which consumers demand data, their usage is now not only confined to a physical location. The huge draw to Over-the-top Services (OTT), has led to people demanding data for streaming, whenever and wherever they are. For example, more people in India than ever are consuming content on their phones as their primary means of viewing. This is just one example of how expectations for ‘always on’ connectivity has increased in recent years. This shift in expectations has also taken the hunger for services to new realms in the form of the rise in demand for Communications on the Move (COTM) services. As whole populations shift consumption habits, a strategic infrastructure of the right kind of connection and the most suitable equipment to carry the service is now required.
In the past, VSAT networks were small and they were used solely to provide broadband connectivity to predominantly rural areas that were beyond the reach of traditional infrastructures. This has now changed and there has been a sizable shift in where satellite can deliver, due to the strategic and increased use of teleports to open up new services in new locations around the world.
Today’s satellites are not only able to deliver connectivity but in fact revolutionise what was once possible, bringing significant new capabilities at the same time. One of the factors that has made this all possible is the different types of equipment now being deployed are of immense capabilities. From the smaller satellite footprints of the past, made of a limited number of beams and terminals, to the networks of today, where a much larger area is covered, using thousands of terminals with hundreds of beams. This, combined with the powers of High Throughput Satellite (HTS), creates a winning combination able to transform and shape those communications, positioning satellite as the key player in the field of COTM.
When it comes to COTM, satellite communications are ideally positioned to achieve the best possible results for users – whether on land, out at sea or in the air. This is as true for an inpidual passenger on a cruise as it is for a military aeroplane seeking the best position to land in a warzone, using on-board communications as part of its navigation system. For the latter, it is not only a robust connection that is needed, but a completely secure, reliable one that can be relied upon at any critical moment, regardless of the path of the aircraft. For offshore and maritime markets, increased demand for higher data throughputs that can support bandwidth intensive services in those remote locations is rising at an unprecedented rate. The kinds of services that are now required include video conferencing, and media streaming – another example of the rapid spread of desire for OTT services, even out at sea.
In terms of COTM, land communications in these areas are crucial and satellite technologies are being deployed to this more and more, connecting vehicles reliably as they pass through any terrain either through a direct connection or by enabling cost-effective extension of the terrestrial network to remote areas that could not be connected otherwise.