There’s satellite, and then there are smart satellite services…
A recap of the advantages of satellite
The early years of commercially available satellite connectivity – and the limitations of early technology in this area – led to several negative perceptions around satellite becoming established. However, the notion that satellite services are somehow slow, expensive and have a latency problem has been rendered obsolete by the rapid pace of technological innovation.
While satellite connectivity will never replace fibre or 4G/5G as a mass-market form of communication, it offers several distinct advantages in more niche contexts. Satellite can be deployed as a backup system for use in emergencies when fibre or mobile connectivity fail, or a primary system in more remote or off-grid locations.
The advantages of satellite broadband connectivity are well-known: always-on signal coverage, anywhere availability, speed of deployment and independence from terrestrial infrastructure. However, on their own these benefits may not be sufficient to tip the scales in favour of satellite.
Taking it to the next level: smart satellite services
Smart satellite services represent a specialised subset of satellite network connectivity. Naturally, they offer all the benefits of satellite connectivity as outlined above, but in addition, the unique performance and cost metrics of smart satellite services enable a wide spectrum of new applications and service delivery options.
These include advanced content management solutions backed by quality-of-service levels that ensure real-time, application-aware service delivery (paired with application-specific billing models). The high data speeds and ample network capacity associated with smart satellite services empower end-users through the provision of complete end-to-end connectivity solutions – and all at feasible service rates, and readily obtainable thanks to the speed with which smart satellite services can be deployed.
Smart satellite services differ from conventional satellite connectivity in the range of value-added services they make possible, including layer-2-over-satellite, advanced quality-of-service options such as seamless voice and video calls with no latency, support for surveillance and security services, and compliance with SD-WAN and other connectivity protocols.
Choosing a smart satellite services supplier
Specialist service providers, like Q-KON Africa with its Twoobii service, are your best option for delivery of this niche service. You need a team that is agile and dynamic (both in terms of technology and paperwork), and is familiar with both the latest advances in technology and the unique requirements of the African context – and can deploy to remote locations at short notice.
Equally, you should look for a service provider that has a network architecture team able to create a seamless integration to the terrestrial core – it is, after all, the architecture process that can unlock the full range of benefits available with smart satellite services.
Importance of support
Twoobii has developed the capability to work “upstream” into the customer value chain and identify and address faults, no matter where in the architecture level they occur. Smart satellite services are extremely reliable and have a very low failure rate. However, the blame for service interruptions is likely to be laid at their door by general support teams. A more insightful, sophisticated approach to support is required, such as that provided by the Q-KON Africa Twoobii team – a specialist service provider that will work with end-user teams to find solutions.
Smart satellite services deliver value-added services that amplify the existing benefits of satellite broadband connectivity, as long as you choose a specialist service provider who is able to consistently deliver these benefits through architecture integration and ongoing support.
Article supplied by:
Dr Dawie de Wet (Pr Eng MSc Eng) – Group CEO of Q-KON Africa and Chief Engineer for Twoobii, an African-supported satellite broadband product. With over 30 years’ experience in designing, engineering, developing and implementing wireless, microwave and satellite communication systems in Africa, De Wet is focused on developing telco solutions that integrate user requirements, emerging markets and leading technology.