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Today over 5 million people around the world don’t quite know how they would get along without their mobile phones or PDAs. There’s a whole generation, in fact, that can’t even remember when they didn’t exist. But for the remaining millions living outside the primarily urban and highway-centric coverage of most mobile networks, talking, texting, or emailing on a cellphone is still a distant dream.
Fortunately, thanks to satellite technology, that dream is becoming a reality. By carrying cellular traffic over a satellite connection, mobile service providers are cost-effectively extending their cellular networks to rural and less-populated areas where terrestrial backhaul costs are prohibitive.
That’s what Hughes Satellite Cellular Backhaul Solutions are all about. Only satellite can provide the reach and flexibility to cover rural areas and low-density populations virtually anywhere—cost-effectively. Designed to support a full range of cellular radio access network (RAN) technologies, Hughes Satellite Backhaul Solutions are based on the company’s leading HX System platform, providing high-quality links while optimizing space segment resource utilization to minimize operating costs.
Key features include efficient bypass and real-time fast-track algorithms on outbound channels, and “just-in-time” TDMA burst forming and jitter buffer on the inbound. Ideal not only for rural and difficult-to-reach fixed locations on land, these solutions also connect people on-the-move—on airplanes, cruise ships, and trains—and they are also ideal for emergency response and special events with Cell on Wheels (COWS) coverage.
For example, Telma, the leading fixed and mobile operator in Madagascar, is employing a Hughes HX backhaul solution to reach unserved areas with cellular voice and data service. Approximately 100 GSM sites have been connected, with plans to extend the network to a total of 150 sites.
In the Middle East,Omantel, the leading telecom operator in Oman. is expanding its GSM and 3G network with an HX backhaul solution to meet its universal service obligations of 95 percent coverage.
A new trend at the heart of the mobile industry is the use of small cells, which are operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, for providing the best user experience to mobile subscribers everywhere. When these small cells are combined with a satellite backhaul solution, they offer enormous potential for providing wireless access to underserved locations at a lower cost.
An active supporter of small cells, Hughes is a member of the Small Cell Forum, an international organization that promotes and helps drive the wide-scale adoption of small cell technologies to improve coverage, capacity, and services delivered by mobile networks.
According to Euroconsult’s 2013 report, “Prospects for Cellular Backhaul in Fast-Growing Economies,” cellular backhaul sites are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.6 percent over the next 10 years, while 3G will grow in double digits, and capacity carried over satellite will increase by 16 percent. Going forward, it’s also anticipated that High Throughput Satellites (HTS) will play a significant role in backhauling the explosive traffic capacity expected due to 3G and 4G/LTE requirements.
That means more and more mobile operators will adopt satellite backhaul technology to fill the gaps in their networks to reach untapped markets in previously cost-prohibitive locations. As the world continues to expect more from cellular technology, satellite backhaul solutions will grow as a key component of a true, high-performance global communications network—fulfilling the dream of connecting people no matter where they live, work, or travel.
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