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Hughes Innovative ESA Enables Low-Latency Connectivity Worldwide


Enterprise businesses require reliable, secure communications that work anywhere and under any conditions to keep customers happy and employees engaged. 

In some cases, businesses can’t pull cable or fiber to certain locations or natural events, such as hurricanes, cause a disruption in connectivity—but that shouldn’t disrupt business operations or services for customers. Businesses must elevate their connectivity with satellite broadband to ensure robust connectivity and seamless communications are available at any location. Hughes Managed LEO Services help enterprise customers by offering this level of broadband connectivity with a variety of coverage options. Hughes has been providing multi-transport services to enterprise business customers for decades, and Gartner® named Hughes a Leader in the 2023 Magic Quadrant™ for Managed Network Services. 

Hughes is now innovating with antenna technology that provides low-latency communications and exceptional networking capabilities to more locations worldwide. 

Low Latency Equals Better Performance 

Why is it so important to reduce latency for business applications and communications? 

In sophisticated enterprise networks, latency—which is the amount of time it takes for data packets to transmit from one location to another—can cause delays and degrade application performance. Today’s cellular technologies lead people to believe that all types of connections should be as fast and reliable as using a cell phone. Businesses strive to provide that level of speedy connectivity across their locations, but several factors, such as network congestion or physical distance between devices, can cause latency. 

Low latency, meaning the lack of delay in data transport, is the key to exceptional performance and customer satisfaction. Fiber and cellular services have established a baseline for great performance and availability based on low-latency connectivity—yet not all locations are conducive to these services. 

Enter satellite technology. Traditional communication satellites have been providing coverage to areas where cellular and terrestrial connectivity is not available. These satellites are in a geosynchronous (GEO) orbit about 22,000 miles above the Earth. The latency created by the distance is not an issue for non-real-time applications, such as email, file transfers, and video playback. However, current applications are becoming real-time and demand a network with low latency. For instance, streaming a movie is not latency-sensitive, but video conference meetings are. 

The new generation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are located significantly closer above the Earth and can provide a cellphone-like latency and customer experience. LEO satellites are not in a synchronous orbit; they are a constellation of hundreds constantly moving in orbits around the Earth. Latency is lower, and coverage is broader. Still, technology is necessary to establish and maintain a connection while changing from one satellite to the next as they pass overhead. 

Electronically Steerable Antennas 

Hughes developed its innovative electronically steerable antenna (ESA) technology to deliver low-latency broadband connectivity to enterprise customers worldwide. ESAs are designed to be electronically steered and controlled by software that lets them connect to multiple satellites, enabling high-speed, high-quality data rates, as well as reliable and secure connections. 

Hughes couples its experience with managed network services and satellite connectivity to solve two problems with one ESA device. 

  • The flat panel design of the Hughes ESA eliminates the installation challenges of previous antenna models.
  • The Hughes Managed LEO service can provide 5-10 times performance improvements for business apps, web searching, social media, and more—reducing latency concerns. 

Constructed with a solid and durable aluminum chassis, the Hughes HL1120W User Terminal (UT) includes a low-profile ESA that represents the leading edge of antenna technology. The HL1120W ESA is a full-duplex, self-aligning terminal with a built-in modem. The innovative design of the phased array antenna is low-profile, light, small, and contains no moving parts, making it ideal for both fixed and mobile connectivity. The innovative design of the phased array antenna is low-profile, light, small, and contains no moving parts, making it ideal for both fixed and mobile connectivity. 

The flat-panel ESA device relieves some common installation pain points enterprise customers experienced with earlier generations of satellite antennas. For instance, the flat design can be placed on top of a building without extensive training. The Hughes ESA could even provide connectivity to water vessels across oceans, enabling more communications for operators. 

The Hughes ESA is optimized for operation over the OneWeb Ku-band LEO satellite constellation, providing access to affordable, fast high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service. Designed for an outdoor environment, it is lightweight, low-power, weather-tight, and works right “out of the box,” with a compact indoor (IDU) and outdoor unit (ODU) self-pointing to the OneWeb constellation. 

The Hughes ESA is capable of seamless handoffs across the constellation with instantaneous switching speeds without interruption to the customer experience. The ESA technology is a game-changer for LEO service implementations around the world because it supports speeds of up to 195 Mpbs down and 32 Mbps up. Broadband provider OneWeb, a Hughes partner, is using the terminals to activate high-speed, low-latency broadband service on the OneWeb constellation. 

“We are excited about the capabilities in the Hughes flat panel and the unique benefits we can extend to our customers. These terminals will enable our partners to optimize low-latency, high-speed benefits of our network with a turnkey, easy to install and operate terminal,” said Massimiliano Ladovaz, COO at Eutelsat Group, in a statement. 

Learn more about Hughes Managed LEO and ESA technology here. 



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Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services, 08 November 2023, Ted Corbett, et. Al.