Is LEO the next Big Thing For Data Networks?

Q&A – Ronald van der Breggen, Chief Commercial Officer, LeoSat Enterprises

In a world which is increasingly inter-connected, cloud-based and data-driven, existing satellite systems do not and cannot meet these connectivity requirements.  LeoSat aims to deliver the only viable satellite solution for enterprise data – responding to customer needs which are not being met by today’s service offerings.    The LeoSat network will provide Ronald van der Breggenthe highest performance offered by any existing or planned system, including fiber.  The satellite constellation will be interconnected through laser links creating an optical backbone in space which is about 1.5 times faster that terrestrial fiber backbones, thus creating a paradigm shift in the use of satellites for data connectivity – rather than a gap filler or last resort where no terrestrial alternative is available.

Tell us about the new satellite constellation venture of LeoSat and how will it facilitate high-speed, low-latency and highly secure data communications to business users around the world?

  • As the world is getting increasingly connected and bandwidth requirements keep rising, traditional satellite infrastructure is starting to show weaknesses in its ability to offer services that keep up with that demand. At the same time the traditional benefits of satellites in the area of rapid deployment, ubiquity and connecting mobile sites remain strong.
  • LeoSat will be leveraging these latter advantages to address todays data-requirements by combining them with high-capacity, speed and security features, unique to LeoSat. By putting our highly powered satellites in a low orbit and by also linking the satellites together using optical lasers, we will be creating a backbone in space, secured from all terrestrial infrastructure and able to send data from anywhere to anywhere on the globe with up to 5Gbps of capacity per link and do so with latencies that are better than fiber.

What are the main advantages of Leo Sat’s technology for data communication?

  • There are basically 5 areas where we believe to have advantages over existing service offering:
    1. Speed/Latency, with latency being only 2/3 of what it is in fiber, we have a leg up and will actually outperform fiber once the cable length exceeds ~5000km.
    2. Ubiquity: our 78 satellites divided over 6 polar planes cover every inch of earth. Combine that with the rapid deployment using phased array antennas and you have a very powerful approach to setting up high capacity infrastructure anywhere.
  • Symmetry: Satellite data communications have always been characterized by a-symmetrical bandwidth. While in the early days of terrestrial infrastructure we have seen this as well with e.g. ADSL, they have moved on to symmetric links – and so now do we. Data communication is all about symmetry and now we are better able to support the SDH and SONET standards.
  1. Security: LeoSat will be taking data from anywhere to anywhere on the globe in a physically closed network. Alternative infrastructure will always require the use of 3rd party cable systems and/or satellite access gateways, with LeoSat there now is the unique opportunity to build infrastructure that allows for introducing security on the most basic and crucial level: physical infrastructure.
  2. Throughput: Our total capacity goes beyond 1,5Tbps, this an unmatched number in our industry. To be able to offer that with the highest levels of redundancy – on any point on earth there are always multiple satellites in view – makes for a very compelling offer when compared to other GEO(HTS) offerings.
  • While all aspect are relevant to all data communication infrastructure, we find is that subject to the industry we are talking to, our prospect typically focus on one particular aspect. Government and Corporate like the security aspects, Finance and military place great value on our latency characteristics, whereas operators in hight north or deep south like our polar abilities and that we better cover their regions with high-capacity, something they never had before.

    Why do you think there is a renewed interest in LEO satellites for communications and how do you think these will augment data communications in Latin America?

  • Generally speaking there are merits in putting satellite close to earth. The proximity allows for more bits per unit of power so that makes it a better trade off. On the back of that, latency will decrease as well which contributes to the reliability and overall quality of data communication, particularly where application to application communication is concerned. This is unique to LEO and that will explain some of the renewed interest.
  • However, to extend these benefits on a global scale, LeoSat has connected the satellites using intersatellite links. It is here where LeoSat is unique and sets itself apart from the rest of the LEO crowd by combining high-throughput with intersatellite links.
  • For Latin America, as well as for other developing regions, satellite has always provided a level of flexibility and rapid deployment that is so important for this region. To now offer the same capabilities with fiber like characteristics in terms of cost and features will allow a new series of options to connect the rest of world to Latin America. Not just designated areas, but the whole of the continent, literally every inch.

What market segments will LeoSat address? Are you strictly B2B or will you also offer Internet connectivity for consumers?

  • We will indeed be strictly B2B, offering LeoSat to consumers will be done by our corporate customers. Markets that we will be addressing include Oil and Gas, Maritime, Government, Media, Wireless and Mobile Backhaul as well as Corporate Networking. As mentioned before, LeoSat is perceived a fit for many type of applications and for various reasons. As we’re engaging with our customers we ourselves are learning new things on a daily basis as to why our solution is ideal for their specific needs. My job is really very rewarding as a result of that.

You came on board earlier this year as Chief Commercial Officer at LeoSat- what attracted you to the company and what plans do you have for the company?

  • Having worked in both fiber and satellite I know firsthand the limitations of data communication via satellite. So when I got a call if I was interested in working for a start up satellite company, I was initially quite reserved. Upon receiving the technical specifications and the business plans for the company, I changed my opinion 180°. In LeoSat I see an opportunity to finally help put in place the right architecture for data-communication on satellites; an architecture that is so intuitive, so logical that one cannot help but ask: ‘Why was this not been done earlier?’.
  • Going forward I think we are set out to do great things. Once we have the constellation up and running I envision LeoSat offering its services to a multitude of customers active in all sorts of vertical and geographic markets. . Through them we’ll be able to connect more people and businesses and offer them better connectivity, we’ll be able to contribute to global trade and the development of regions and lastly as a global infrastructure provider we’d be proud to help welfare organizations with offering infrastructure in support of disaster relief and recovery.

LeoSat will be presenting at the VSAT Latin America and Global Shows, catch Ronald in Sao Paulo on the 22nd of June

09:50 Making LEO A Reality: The LeoSat Story
– LeoSat: The story so far…
– What new opportunities will LEO satellites deliver?
– The LEO business model
Ronald van der Breggen, Chief Commercial Officer at LeoSat

You can register to attend VSAT Latin America here
Or, if you’re an end-user you can apply for a free end user pass

About LeoSat Enterprises

LeoSat Enterprises was established in 2013 to leverage the latest developments in satellite communications technologies to develop and launch a new low-earth-orbit satellite constellation which will provide the first commercially available, business grade, extremely high-speed and secure data service worldwide.

With up to 108 low-earth-orbit communications satellites in the constellation LeoSat is the first company to have all of the High Throughput Satellites (HTS) in the constellation connected together in networked HTS satellites, connected to each other and to select established sectors on the planet.

Based in Washington DC, LeoSat is currently working with Thales Alenia Space for the low-earth-orbit constellation of between 78 and 108 Ka-band communications satellites.   Once operational, the constellation will provide high-speed, low-latency and highly secure communications and bandwidth for business operations in the telecom backhaul, Oil & Gas exploration, Maritime and international business markets. Launch of the constellation is expected in 2018 or 2019.

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