27/04/20239 Minutes

Connecting Antennas and Satellites: The Critical Link?

This final event of the GVF-CBN webinar series under the GVF banner saw David Meltzer taking the helm as moderator in conversation with representatives of Orange Business, Talia, Oasis Networks, and SpaceBridge.

With satellite communications fulfilling unique business needs, this discussion was premised on the fact that this comes with significant network challenges. The webinar began with a quick high-level overview of exactly what comprises the various hardware technology and software service elements in the chain connecting antennas on the ground and satellites in orbit. The discussion then turned to identifying particularly significant network challenges or complexities faced by the providers of product and service solutions that sit between antenna and satellite, and how the nature of these challenging complexities has changed as the delivery of satellite-based connectivity has evolved and matured.

Of several important panellist observations, three in particular stand-out. The first is that what is of overwhelming importance for the end user customer of the “critical link” is that a provider’s service portfolio brings a combined and integrated single-source expertise in delivering quality end-to-end connectivity that is reliable, and secure. The second is that, for satellite, the Cloud traffic market is an opportunity with exponential growth and that with the application of AI and Machine Learning all points in the “critical link” will be able to gain from the kind of improved dynamic resource management that the Cloud will demand. The final observation related to innovations – particularly around LEOs and high throughput satellites – and how such innovations create opportunities and challenges.

If you want to know what our panellists thought about what is next for the “critical link”, you can watch the video recording here.

Q & A continued….

Thank you to our audience for taking an active part by asking many questions. We ran out of time to respond to the questions below but our panellists were kind enough to answer after the event ended…

1. Dear Jack, is it also an issue for the services located at the beam peak for C-band? Does not having high EIRP and G/T compensates the links? Asking this question considering the fact that we do not need much link margins on C-band in Dual Rain fade conditions.

Jack Buechler (Talia): In fact that is why we like to use C-band. It is hardly affected by rain. I was talking about the fact that part of the C-band is given over to C-band – in some countries – not in all and if you do use that part of the spectrum you may be interfered with later on.

Nimrod Kapon (Oasis Networks): The problem we face with C-band is not due to rain fade. Before we had lot of problems from WiMAX terrestrial microwave, and now we face even worse situation with 5G. Whatever the G/T or EIRP are, if you run a link budget properly, the link should be stable also when it rains. But if a new 5G link starting to transmit near the VSAT station, it could be a big problem.


2. Can you put some light on the fact that increasing low cast LEO connectivity on cheaper terminals will cause less requirement on Geo satellites and eventually the cost of bandwidth will Decrease substantially?

Jack Buechler (Talia): Actually, LEO terminals are still more expensive than some LEO terminals. However, your point is noted and it is our belief that GEO satellite operators MUST lower their prices to remain competitive especially given the fact that they have much higher latency.

Albert Ifrah (Orange Business): The cost of GEO bandwidth is expected to decrease again but not up to the point of breaking the economic model of GEO operators. At the end of the day GEO may become a niche market in Satellite connectivity landscape.

Nimrod Kapon (Oasis Networks): I think that eventually both GEO and LEO will exist in the same eco-system. Both platforms has their own advantages and disadvantages. And I think that we are moving toward more and more connected world, the demand for capacity will increase, and it wont be able to provide it with only GEO or only LEO.


3. I would like to ask from panelists what time frame they are expecting that the new LEO terminals initial glitches will be sorted out and a greater or equal to geo satellite availability will be possible?

Jack Buechler (Talia): I believe that in some cases it is a frequency band issue. Ka-band simply cannot give the availability that C-band can even with a large rain fade margin.

Albert Ifrah (Orange Business): A couple of years maximum.


5. What impact will LEO have on the Africa market in the areas of bandwidth, field engineering services and ground station equipment supply?

Jack Buechler (Talia): In principle it may be a good idea. Ka-band with some very heavy tropical rain systems may be an issue – see above. Cost of terminals is always an issue.

Albert Ifrah (Orange Business): LEO is a disruptive innovation for our industry, it will not only be the case in Africa but also in Europe and will impact terrestrial and maritime.

Nimrod Kapon (Oasis Networks): It is difficult to predict. I would like to see LEO and GEO combined together, among other technologies, to provide better services to customers. And to see field engineers offering different services in their basket, not only VSAT for example. Of course, I can imagine that some providers will promote only LEO and will pull the market prices down. I still think that LEO will never be able to provide all the required capacity, so in my opinion GEO is here to stay.


6. Does direct-to-home TV (DTH) have a place aside of all the streaming companies like Netflix or Paramount+? Do you guys think hybrid satellite (internet access combining SAT and 3G) contribute in that sense?

Amir Kashani  (SpaceBridge): DTH is still valid for many parts of the globe, specifically because its matching the broadcast nature of Star satellite networks on GEO. Despite the fact that the world digital traffic (even Video service) is moving towards IP protocol more and more , I believe DTH will still stay around for a while. So the Hybrid (Multipath system) can be a good candidate as all-in-one solution, to provide connectivity to all types of traffic including Internet traffic and VoIP over 4G/5G and DTH over GEO.