VSAT Global 2016 - New Challenges, New Players, New Rules

Posted by Ivana Barić Ćurko Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016
Susan Bull: Opening Speech

Before going to the VSAT Global 2016 show, due to the evening return flight, I gave myself a goal to find an exciting bedtime story for my 3,5-year-old…

Several topics were covered at this year's VSAT Global show, all of them being game changers in today’s satellite world:

High-throughput satellites (HTS)

Every year, a number of satellites increase due to the market demands. Next generation of satellites, high-throughput satellites (spot-beam technology & reusable frequencies), enables more capacity with prices going down.

A great example is O3b MEO HTS constellation. It already provides gigabytes of data for RCCL cruise ships; floating cities with up to 8k people on board, thirsty for instantaneous Facebook communication, movie download, streaming and other popular apps. They have succeeded to meet market expectations, providing the same service most of us have at home.

HTS satellite gave the flexibility to move capacity around, so you can get more capacity on the place where you need it, dynamically allocate bandwidth, a shift from active to inactive beams, etc.


As bandwidth not being a problem anymore, VSAT operator consolidation and specialisation is getting more and more significant. Broadband is becoming a utility like water. Everybody expects that VSAT just works, similar to smartphone apps.

With HTS turning point, VSAT’s should become more and more affordable and simpler.

Vertical Integration

Hughes and Viasat are the first two to have the end-to-end (satellite to ground) segment integration. It provides customers flexibility at the top of the change to do things on the application level.

Business models substantially differ from region to region. The model will flood North America with capacity, but what applies to the African countries?


The fast-growing sector can be divided into three groups: maritime, aeronautical, cruise. There is a market for aeronautical and cruise, a critical mass.

Maritime is different because there is only crew onboard and there is no high demand for bandwidth. Containers are equipped with sensors and regulators. It is envisioned to have autonomous ships by the end of 2020, Amazon using drones to deliver packages, Uber driverless taxies in Pittsburgh, etc.

New players

LEO constellations are at our doorstep. Hybrid networks, optimising capacity where it is required are becoming reality. OneWeb and LeoSat are overcoming the latency problem and making satellite networks comparable to fiber. Ideally, we will wait 3+ years for the first premium customer.

London Eye Networking Event

Software challenge

SDN (SDWAN, SD radio) was mentioned several times in various debates, decoupling networking hardware from its control mechanism.

It is clear that software is bringing a new level of efficiency in the satellite world. It is no longer the case that satellite hardware vendors provide software specific platforms. A software is designed to provide out-of-the-box solutions, easier installation, extensibility, hardware agnostic mechanism.

There is a trend of having intelligence for giving control to customers on the application level.

I am proud to say that Amphinicy already joined the journey with our Blink innovative product.

So, what is the impressive story for my 3,5-year-old?

It started around 1946 when grandparents were born and big ENIAC was developed, weighed 30t and resigned on 160m2. Then, a shift to a little integrated circuit and transistor invention, just a few years later. The importance of this invention led to a creation of all the cool stuff today, like playing games in bed on a tablet. It reduced the size and increased the computing power. In 1957, the first satellite was launched and a few years later NASA started launching more satellites to orbit.

I am explaining how thousands of satellites are orbiting the Earth and enable communication to the people with any part of the world.

Nowdays, satellites are being launched by reusable rockets. I am showing my son the YouTube clip. He is not so impressed. Then I open my bag and give him a new, shining in dark, astronaut T-shirt from A&F. Now he is happy. :) The future looks bright... 

A present

Opportunities are significant for ones who embrace the change. (Renato Goodfellow, BT Global Services)

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