Established to explore the current interaction between the satellite and wireless industries, the current and future growth trends for data traffic from mobile devices and how these trends will impact both cellular and satellite networks, is the latest addition to the GVF-EMP Partnership events portfolio that was successfully held on June 21st in London, where leading experts revealed the major potential for the satellite backhaul business.
GVF Cellular Backhaul: Smartphones & Tablets - To the Satellite Network & the World, which was comprised of four panel discussion themes, concluded with general agreement regarding the future direction of what is required to realize the full potential for growth in the critical and mutually beneficial collaboration between the satellite and wireless sectors in backhauling escalating volumes of data traffic.
At the close of the day’s dialogue, commenting on the strong consensus among the panelists and the views expressed in dialogue with audience members, David Howgill, the lead in GVF’s cellular initiatives, President of Huckworthy and conference chairman, said “The satellite industry has the technological potential to deliver on the kind of advances necessitated by the backhauling requirements of the wireless data environment. What the satellite industry must do is continue to provide clarity in its value proposition, using the language of the wireless sector, and, as wireless continues to advance through successive technology generations, to deliver clear technology upgrade paths.”
Sponsored by Hughes, iDirect, and Intelsat, supported by Huckworthy and NSR, and moderated by Lluc Palerm, Cellular Analyst with NSR, as well as by Mr Howgill, the conference took place with the participation of representatives of the satellite and wireless industries. The four panel discussions themes:
- Unlocking 3G/4G/LTE Backhaul Opportunities via Satellite
- Fitting Satellite Technology into the Mobile Ecosystem: Video Streaming, Social Media, Commercial CDNs… and 5G
- Evolution of Ground Equipment, Infrastructure & Systems
- Regional Focus: Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia
were addressed by speakers from (in alphabetical order): AB5 Consulting, Access Partnership, Avanti Communications, Comtech EF Data, Gilat Satellite Networks, Huckworthy, Hughes, iDirect, Integrasys, Intelsat, IP Access, Newtec, NSR, Phasor, Sevis Systems, and Telesat.
In his post-conference analysis, Mr Palerm also pointed to the key thematic outcome from the event, asking the question, “With mobile data needs ever growing and terrestrial networks strained, can the satellite industry articulate a value proposition that truly unlocks the market potential of cellular backhaul?”
The mobile network operators (MNOs) do not need to understand satellite technology, but it is key that satellite solutions address their requirements: minimizing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), minimizing risk and meeting network performance (Quality of Experience). The proliferation of new business models including end-to-end solutions where mobile operators don’t need to manage satellite connectivity can open new opportunities for SATCOM.
With the arrival of HTS, Mr Palerm continued, satellite ground equipment players need to continue to develop new technologies and applications. This includes a large number of techniques such as supporting wideband carriers to fill high bandwidth transponders, improved roll off factors, bigger modems… or any other measure that can contribute to reducing the cost per Mbit.
Data traffic growth will require new network architectures where satellites can find opportunities in coverage densification, traffic offload or network resiliency. Some key players are already developing products focused on these applications. No technology beats satellites in data multicasting, and in the global trend to move content to the edge of the network, the satellite industry can build a Greenfield market with very promising prospects.
While 5G is still in the definition phases, the SATCOM industry also has key priorities to address. From spectrum usage to protocol definitions, the satellite industry is working to ensure its role in the telecom infrastructure of the future. Some of the long-term characteristics of 5G are progressively taking shape. Edge computing, content moving to the edge or operators reducing CAPEX through network sharing are some of the elements being adopted today that could create opportunities for the satcom industry. Additional, cheaper satellite capacity blended with more sophisticated ground systems and a value proposition that responds to MNO requirements should increase satellite’s share in the mobile industry.
In contributing their analyses to the conference dialogue several panelists illustrated their remarks with slides. These are now available (as PDF files) for download from the event webpage at www.uk-emp.co.uk/current-events/cellular-backhaul-2016/programme/ where the full conference program and panelist line-up can be viewed.