Showing posts tagged backhaul

Short-lived backhaul declaration better, says Voda

Vodafone is warning the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against setting backhaul service prices too far into the future, saying that an early review would be better for the industry than a long-term lock-in.

The carrier’s latest submission to the competition regulator’s draft FAD (That’s a ‘final access determination’, not a short-lived craze) says that a review in 12 months is necessary to test the regulator’s proposed domestic benchmark methodology.

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Fighting the Bandwidth Crunch

The economy of scale offered by communications satellite operators translates into millions of cost savings on the part of backhaul service providers and telecom firms.

Who wants to return to the days when satellite communication was only reserved for enterprise users and cruise ship owners? The wireless communications sector has witnessed enormous changes during the past years which paved the way for faster connection and more scalable networks. These developments can be partly attributed to rise in mobile computing via advanced smartphones and tablet PCs.

As a result of the boom in bandwidth-consuming activities like social media updates and online video streaming, the telecommunications sector is beginning to adopt satellite backhaul. There is also a looming shift to vertical integration of the satellite industry as operators and resellers venture into each others’ market niches. Commercial satellites are getting more attention from government sector not only as a result of restraints on military budget for satellite communications but due to economic reasons as well.

As more people browse social media sites and access online services via mobile gadgets, ISPs and wireless phone carriers need to expand their capacity by seeking alternative means of signal transmission. Although satellite broadband lags behind DSL and traditional wireless Internet technologies like Edge and WiMax, satellite broadband offers the most cost-efficient means to bring high-speed broadband connection in the absence of telephone lines or fiber optics.

Both the public and private sectors have played a crucial role in commercializing satellite communications for the household market. EU, the US and Australia have recently tapped on satellite networks to strengthen national broadband infrastructures amid the explosive growth in mobile Internet usage. Roaming service providers serving cellular phone providers have also good reasons for getting satellite payload on commercial satellites. The economy of scale offered by communications satellite operators translates into millions of cost savings on the part of backhaul service providers and telecom firms. With satellite links, hosted payload and VSAT networks, telcos do not have to lay down huge fiber optic networks just to serve marginalized areas.

Satellite dishes have mushroomed in various towns and villages covered by broadband subsidy programs. For instance, many rural residences in the US and Australia are able to get high-speed broadband connection for the first time through federal subsidies. But the growth of the satellite communications industry can also be attributed to improvements in the efficiency of satellite-powered backhaul networks. Cellular hub operators are becoming more open in embracing satellite technology to expand their coverage.

Almost $100 million was earmarked for broadband projects by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Last year, Australia rolled out its national broadband project which seeks to extend wired and wireless Internet coverage to millions of rural and urban households nationwide.


Obstacles to 3G Backhaul via Satellite Communications Network

Faced with growing demand for mobile Internet, telcos are looking for alternative ways to close the backhaul gap in areas outside the urban zones. For decades, satellite communications are used to substitute for cables, cell towers and microwave terminals in such areas. However, the telecommunications sector has major concerns over the use of satellite backhaul technology.

The huge cost of satellite transponder capacity and large bandwidth requirements of certain markets pose investment risks, prompting carriers to find substitutes for point-to-point SCPC satellite link.

Depending on satellite service providers, signal latency may significantly affect user experience. However, there are advanced modulation technologies that can help minimize latency. The industry is also launching larger satellites which have bigger antennas.

Mobile backhaul demand can also be influenced by the demographic profile of an area. Rural markets that consist of younger population will tend to have larger demand for web services and thus mobile broadband. The declining price of mobile handsets and smartphones also pose both opportunities and challenges for the satellite communications and mobile Internet sectors.

To address these challenges, satellite communications providers are setting bandwidth caps, caching frequently downloaded files, and conducting deep packet inspection to to weed out unauthorized traffic like VOIP.