A New Way to Connect Canadian Enterprises

A New Way to Connect Canadian Enterprises
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A new technological frontier lies 1200 km above the earth’s surface, prompting some of the biggest names in Tech racing to revolutionize the sky. Using Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, significant players in the communications space are looking to bolster their network capabilities to provide 100% global internet coverage to all customers regardless of location. Currently, only 59.5% of the world has full access to the internet. While there are many reasons for this, lack of availability plays a significant role due to the limited coverage of the current satellite landscape. As a result, people residing in isolated and rural areas often have trouble acquiring reliable internet connections in a digital age where connectivity is no longer a luxury but a necessity. However, advancements in technology and fresh ideas have sparked a metamorphosis in the satellite network above us, solving problems that previously seemed impossible. This blog will be dedicated to shedding light on the new expanding space of LEO satellites and how companies like OneWeb via Galaxy Broadband are using them to bring unparalleled innovation to the connectivity space.

When it comes to satellites, the conventional approach has been to utilize them at an approximate distance of 35,000 km above the earth’s surface, with an orbit speed of 23 hours and 56 minutes. This distance allowed them to maximize their connectivity over a vast range while orbiting at the same rotation speed as earth, hence the name Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites. Their distance, however, acted as a double edge sword as it often limited the latency of the satellite’s signal and scope of coverage. Conversely, LEO’s satellites orbit the earth from 1200 km above the surface, with an orbital period between 84 to 127 minutes.

Satellite internet LEO, GEO, and MEO Latency

When providing a robust network connection for isolated users, the shorter distances of LEO’s provide several advantages over their higher-distance counterparts. Low Earth Orbit satellites don’t require a strong transmission signal as their proximity to the ground guarantees a robust signal latency. They’re also significantly cheaper to produce than GEO satellites and require less energy to operate due to the speed of their orbit. This same speed was once viewed as their most significant limitation, as their fast rotation around the earth meant they could only connect with a ground transmitter for a brief moment. Over time this perceived weakness became their strength as companies used their fast orbit speed as an asset by employing the ephemeral signal connection of over a thousand satellites to create a fluid constellation of LEO satellites always in range. This method was successfully demonstrated by OneWeb, who has used the LEO system to consistently establish a signal due to a constant stream of orbiting satellites always flying through their domain. On an individual scale, the speed, cost of production and transient signal of LEO’s satellites hindered their ability to provide omnipresent connectivity. Now, advancements in satellite hardware, smaller units, and cheaper cost have allowed companies’ economic capabilities to finally catch up with their ambitions, creating a blueprint for global internet connectivity.

OneWeb is a company with these very ambitions and is forging forward to bring thousands of robust LEO satellites to the sky, with the company recently recording an average latency of 32 milliseconds in July 2019 during a satellite transmission in South Korea. Promising news like this has been continuous for OneWeb, further cemented by their forecast to have partial networks up in service as soon as 2021. Companies like SpaceX and LeoSat are also major players in the LEO satellite field. While all plan to use LEO satellites to widen the availability of internet connections, their methods of doing so are all drastically different. OneWeb, for example, is looking to have its LEO satellite capabilities wielded through private companies and the public sector. Conversely, SpaceX has decided to provide its full scope connectivity directly to the consumer, with Elon Musk already providing internet access across isolated areas of Canada, the United States and Britain. While the companies’ approaches may be different, their competing ambitions are an indictment of the promise the tech world sees in LEO satellite technology and the positive change that can be yielded from its implementation.

Here at Galaxy Broadband, we see that same potential in LEO satellites and their ability to revolutionize the connectivity sector. Specifically in its capacity to bring sustainable internet connection on a global scale. As a result, we’ve partnered with OneWeb with the key focus on Enterprise customers and community solutions and will begin offering our services across Canada’s Arctic and North of 50 degrees in September, of this year. This partnership will help deliver all the functionality of LEO satellite constellations to our customers by removing barriers between remote areas and access to low-latency Cloud-Applications. These benefits can be easily obtained through Galaxy Broadband’s offering of nationwide delivery, simple rooftop hardware installation and online activation so that robust internet connection is never seen as a luxury, no matter where you are.

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