SES to revolutionize the satellite connectivity world
Big Interview

SES to revolutionize the satellite connectivity world

Imran Malik_16_9.jpg

SES unlocks new business opportunities for customers by providing fast, seamless, reliable, and flexible connectivity. Imran Malik, VP Global Sales, Fixed Data, SES Networks.

Q. What services does SES offer its enterprise and wholesale customers?

As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES leverages a vast and intelligent network that spans satellite and ground infrastructure to connect more people in more places. With a proven track record of over 30 years, we are the only provider that operates a multi-orbit satellite-based network. With over 50 Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellites and 20 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, we provide high performance, seamless, reliable and flexible services to any segment that connects people and businesses on the go or in one place. 

We reach most of our enterprise end-users through our Telco, MNO, or Satellite Service Provider partners and customers. Although they often manage the relationships with the individual enterprises, we offer several solutions that make it easy for our customers to provide enterprises with cloud-optimised connectivity. Our Managed Enterprise Services enable our customers to act as a Virtual Network Operator (VNO) to manage hundreds or thousands of individual terminals remotely, defining and assigning custom user profiles. Those users can share a “pool” of capacity, and sites dynamically burst to higher speeds when traffic is light.

For both wholesale customers and Enterprises who need ultra-high throughput or low latency, our O3b Networks MEO fleet provides a fibre-like experience from space. Since these satellites are closer to earth, the latency is one-third that of a legacy satellite network. MEF 2.0 certified, the O3b fleet acts as a carrier ethernet extension of any core network to enable real-time applications. 

In the last six months, we have also been helping our customers respond to the increased network demand due to COVID-19 and people working from home and doing remote studies at home. We’ve been able to upgrade bandwidth to existing networks and provide direct access to leading cloud providers, so the home becomes a natural extension of the office and school.

Q. We know that SES is successfully delivering mobile backhaul, particularly in rural locations. Can you share any use cases or success stories of this work?

Most certainly. Over the past few years, we have seen massive throughput demands mainly driven by 4G expansion projects which is surpassing the 2G/3G projects also in rural regions.  In rural locations beyond the USO-type projects, we also see an increase in commercially driven network expansion. MNOs are going beyond leasing just raw capacity and seeking a reliable partner in expanding their network, with their customer requirements in such cases shifting from ‘Lower TCO’ to a positive ROI’ requirements.  

This is where our cost-effective GEO and MEO backhaul solutions come in and help us address those requirements from MNO customers to enable 2G, 3G, and LTE services around the globe. We’ve optimized our network based on throughput, latency, and jitter, the three most crucial network KPIs for a successful mobile network. We’ve also focused on increasing flexibility, reducing time-to-market and financial risk, enabling customers to deploy a fully in-country network.

One of our latest success stories with mobile backhaul services is with Tigo Tchad, a mobile service operator based in Chad, a landlocked, developing African country.

With Chadians relying more on their mobile network for their everyday life, Tigo Tchad required an integrator who could quickly refurbish 40 of their cell sites and establish an in-country teleport with limited downtime. Despite multiple challenges – including limited road and power infrastructure – by establishing a network of local partners, we successfully completed the upgrades and teleport construction in less than four months. Tigo Tchad is now utilising both GEO and MEO capacity to serve customers across the nation, reliably providing critical communications.

Another example is with Teleglobal, an Indonesian telecommunications company, that brings broadband access and mobile connectivity services to rural communities in Indonesia under the universal service obligation scheme. SES Networks provides managed data services via the recent SES-12 high-throughput satellite (HTS), connecting 150,000 sites in remote parts of the country. By leveraging SES-12, SES’s biggest geostationary satellite in the region, Teleglobal was able to bridge the digital divide and bring e-government and other essential services to the underserved rural communities of Indonesia.

Q. What emerging technologies is SES using or integrating across its network?

For the last few years, SES Networks has been making it easier for customers to integrate their satellite-based networks into a global ecosystem.  For example, we’re working with Amdocs to host an Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) within a Microsoft Azure domain. This is a first for the satellite industry, as we leverage open standards developed within the telco and cloud industries, bringing the same automation and programmability familiar to Telcos, to satellite.

Further increasing the resiliency of our services, we also introduced software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), which allows customers to bond their SES satellite connectivity with terrestrial or non-SES satellite connectivity. SD-WAN dynamically routes traffic based on the application requirements, intended destination, and link availability. Customers also enjoy greater visibility and rich analytics via a network management portal.

For a customer in South Sudan, RCS, we provide both MEO and GEO capacity as a single logical link in their network. What’s happening behind the scenes is that our SD-WAN system Is choosing the optimal path for each application: low-latency video calls use MEO, while email can take the GEO path. If one link experiences service degradation, the other is automatically prioritized.

Finally, we recently signed a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to become a founding Azure Orbital partner to jointly develop cloud-based video and data connectivity managed services. SES will be co-locating MEO satellite gateways with Microsoft Azure data centres, so their customers are only “one hop” away from Azure cloud services, anywhere in the world.

Q. What’s in the pipeline as part as new satellite deployments?

Across SES, we have witnessed the huge, positive impact that our customers experienced by leveraging our O3b MEO fleet. In 2017, we decided to take that success even further by building our next generation communication system, O3b mPOWER.

Set to launch in 2021, O3b mPOWER is the most high-performance and flexible network communications system ever built for space. It will improve upon today’s O3b MEO system in terms of throughput and efficiency, delivering connectivity services ranging from 50Mbps to multiple gigabits per second to a single user beam. The new system will allow Telcos, MNOs, governments, enterprises, airlines, cruise operators, shipping vessels, and more to experience unmatched connectivity, even on the go.

 Q. What are the strategic priorities for 2021?

Besides eagerly awaiting the launch of O3b mPOWER and rolling out cloud adoption on a global scale, we are also focused on expanding our Managed Mobile Backhaul and Managed Enterprise Solutions worldwide. By choosing SES to manage the satellite network end-to-end, Telcos, service providers, and MNOs can focus on their core competencies of building and maintaining their last-mile networks and acquiring new customers.

Through SES’s Managed Mobile Backhaul, powered by SES-12, we believe we can help provide Middle Eastern businesses and communities with a solution tailored to meet their unique needs and also bridge the digital divide. 

We believe our multi-orbit network is the best at reaching these far-flung or under-connected populations. Whether on land, at sea, or in the air, SES is innovating our connectivity so you can take your story anywhere.

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