Satellite firms start space-based SD-WAN for Africa

Satellite firms start space-based SD-WAN for Africa

03 August 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Two Israeli satellite companies are planning to introduce a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) service covering Africa.

Spacecom and Gilat say they will use the Amos-17 satellite, launched a year ago this week (see picture), to offer services to African mobile operators and internet providers.

Spacecom CEO Dan Zajicek said: “This partnership enables us to boost the services offered to customers along with fast returns on investments to these growing markets.”

Amos-17 is a high-throughput satellite operating on C and Ku bands, and it will deliver Gilat Telecom’s SD-WAN Max technology.

Gilat CEO Asaf Rosenheck said: “We are an innovative company always focused on how we can improve the service we provide to our customers. Our partnership with Spacecom demonstrates how we work across the ecosystem to drive down costs and improve capacity.”

The service is available immediately, said the companies, and can be used for home and office connectivity including video conferences, e-health applications, e-learning and e-education.

The Amos-17 satellite means customers can use existing equipment which can also be set up remotely by the end customers. Gilat claims that intelligent routing means capacity can be expanded by up to 20% – meaning the equivalent of 6Mbps can be achieved from a 5Mbps downlink, it claimed.

Gilat Telecom said its SD-WAN enables service providers and mobile operators to centrally control the route that both satellite and fibre traffic takes to and from the customer. It enables different applications – voice, streaming and caching on Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft cloud services – to be identified with automatic prioritisation, according to the customer’s needs and demands.

Zajicek said: “We are sure this fruitful cooperation will lead us to many great business opportunities in Africa, and invite all to gain great value from this unique collaboration and join us today.”

The Amos-17 satellite supports a variety of broadcast, broadband and data services from its 17˚E orbital slot. The satellite provides African coverage in C-band, global steerable coverage in Ka-band, and extensive Ku-band coverage over Africa. The satellite’s digital processing capabilities allow service architecture flexibility, including full cross-beam and cross-band connectivity that maximize throughput and spectral efficiency.