Tightly synchronised with 5G, roams easily
Intelsat could be about to launch a new acronym, according to its SVP of global sales for media and networks, Jean Philippe Gillet. Speaking at a Fierce Wireless private wireless virtual event Gillet hinted Intelsat and Microsoft had defined their own private wireless network demonstration purposes but this exercise established a blueprint for private LTE and 5G networks over satellite to enterprise locations around the world.
Locally defined IoT
The pact has been working on locally defined IoT connectivity, according to Gillet. At the same time Intelsat is working on a software-defined satellite service that can allocate throughput according to demand. The traditional fixed beams will become a lot more flexible and will be “really integrated into a pure 5G network” said Gillet. They’d be cheaper to integrate and consequently easier to roam with Intelsat’s services.
Integrating Intelsat’s satellites with terrestrial 5G networks would be a liberation, freeing connections for easy roaming between space-based services and the terrestrial services. This type of network would be of immediate interest to maritime and aviation enterprises, which often aren’t connected to terrestrial networks. In March, Intelsat said it was working with the vendor Marlink to offer increased Ku and C-band satellite connectivity to maritime customers in the cruise ship and merchant shipping sectors.
Intelsat is also working with Orange Mali to bring 3G and 4G connectivity to hard-to-reach areas in Mali, the eighth largest country in Africa. Gillet said for countries such as Mali the problem is closing the digital divide where there isn’t much fixed infrastructure in far-flung places. “How do I expand in a quicker way?” he said. “A satellite link is deployed in a day or so, versus waiting for connectivity that would require either microwave or terrestrial solutions.”