“The future of connectivity depends on a worldwide network of multiple transports, including terrestrial cable and fiber, geostationary and Low Earth Orbit satellite services,” said Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes, upon announcing distribution agreements with OneWeb. “OneWeb’s system enhances the Hughes portfolio of networking capabilities, introducing a low-latency option with global reach that complements GEO satellite capacity density and capability to meet our customers’ needs.”
Hughes is both an investor in OneWeb and a technology provider, developing the gateway electronics and core modules for the system. As of the start of 2022, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company has launched 394 of its planned 648 LEO satellites and expects to initiate global services by the end of the year. Service has already begun in the Arctic region, where the Hughes Defense team leads a managed LEO SATCOM program for the U.S. military.
So, what does an expanded portfolio featuring LEO services look like for Hughes customers? Here are some examples.
Another Option for WAN Connectivity: Enterprises with multiple locations, especially those providing essential goods and services to communities – like walk-in urgent care clinics and pharmacies – require uninterrupted connectivity. Locations need to be able to communicate securely and in real-time with doctors, insurance companies and customers. Yet broadband can vary in reliability and performance from site to site. As another option to GEO satellite, LEO services can be incorporated as an automatic failover backup solution for the Wide Area Network (WAN) or connect to specific hard-to-reach locations. Instant activation will maintain connectivity at a single store, several locations or thousands of sites to support essential services to customers. It’s also a great option for fixed and mobile networks for federal, state and local government agencies and programs.
End-to-End High Speed Milsatcom Capabilities: Defense-related missions—from reconnaissance to military research—demand resilient, flexible SATCOM networks for tactical, multi-domain operations. Yet often, these efforts occur in contested environments or inhospitable terrain without connectivity options. LEO services will deliver end-to-end high-speed, low latency broadband access, even in the strategic polar regions, to deliver unprecedented operational freedom and flexibility.
Emergency Networks: National agencies that coordinate local teams and relief organizations during natural or manmade disasters will gain another way – in addition to GEO satellite and Mobile Satellite Systems (MSS) services – to establish effective communications in support of on-the-ground responders when terrestrial networks are destroyed or overwhelmed by demand. Creating a coverage area that spans a few square miles to multiple towns or regions, LEO transport can reestablish reliable communications with voice connectivity, internet access, and video services. These capabilities can power two-way mobile communications for rescue personnel; serve pop-up medical care operations; provide hotspot connectivity for residents to contact loves ones; and help local businesses resume operations.
Critical Infrastructure Monitoring: For energy and oil companies, monitoring and managing assets 24/7 can be a challenge – especially at pipelines or rigs in remote and hard to reach areas. End-to-end managed LEO services can provide another network option for an entire pipeline or rig network, from production fields to refineries, with a single-source solution that’s reliable and secure. Real-time continual monitoring can ensure operations and services are always up and running and meet environmental compliance standards.
These are just a few of the ways LEO services can help meet the demand for connectivity everywhere. As Hughes enhances its portfolio with low latency services – complete with service level agreements, committed information rates and security options for enterprise and government applications – customers will enjoy more options for primary, back-up and hybrid network transports. Once these services become available to all areas, the world will be that much closer to achieving ubiquitous connectivity, with integrated, multi-transport GEO, NGSO, cable, fiber, 4G and 5G solutions.