Satellite and SIP trunking: helping build the connected enterprise
The benefits of unified communications have been enjoyed in corporate main offices the world over, but smaller and remote offices have often missed out. The ability to deploy a full UC suite of tools including instant messenger (IM), presence, IP telephony and video conferencing requires a robust broadband connection. And this hasn’t always been available in every corporate location.
But as broadband access technologies continue to evolve, the availability of UC in remote locations is improving. Recent enhancements in satellite broadband connectivity, in particular, are helping to make the connected office a genuine reality, wherever companies deploy sites and staff.
extend enterprise networks
“The UC challenge has always been making the connected company a reality, being able to bring the whole suite to companies wherever their sites are at sea or onshore, at high speeds and affordable prices. Advancements in satellite and related access technologies are now helping us to fill in the gaps for customers, no matter where they are,” comments Peter Glock, Solutions Marketing at Orange Business Services.
Until relatively recently the only way in which remote sites could get online was via geosynchronous satellites (geosats), which as the name suggests, sit in geostationary orbit. Geosat transmissions with Orange typically have a latency of around 650 milliseconds, which is simply a result of the physical distance that the signal has to travel and the earth propagation delay.
next generation of satellite
Technology advancements have increased the choice available in satellite services making it easier and cheaper for companies to achieve worldwide network coverage for UC and other services. The satellite industry is developing new systems driven by increasing bandwidth, reducing latency, using smaller antennas and lowering costs.
One example are high-throughput satellites (HTS) that combine the spectrum efficiency and performance of spot-beam antennas with ultra-wideband transponders to deliver unprecedented levels of bandwidth and throughput.
Each spot beam reuses frequencies in multiple carriers so that a single HTS spacecraft can provide five to 10 times the capacity of traditional satellites. For the customer, this offers potential data rates for a single site of 100Mbps and more, along with improved application performance.
Another innovation are the middle-earth orbit (MEO) satellites launched by O3b. Their proximity to earth means that round-trip latency is reduced by around 75 per cent versus geosats. O3b HTS will be based on Ka band, with a typical cost per MHz reduced by one third compared to traditional geosats.
As Michel Verbist, Satellite Solutions at Orange Business Services, notes, “The delay time, combined with an attractive price for high bandwidth consumers, makes a unique selling point of O3b satellites and will even be a competitor for fiber solutions. MEO satellites orbit around the equator making the roundtrip latency for data transmissions very near to the delay of a fiber network,” he explains.
“With a latency on MEO satellites of around 120 to 150 milliseconds, they can be used for high-bandwidth applications for a range of industries, including mining operations, oil and gas companies and cruise vessels,” adds Verbist.
Companies can now choose between traditional geosats or new satellites based on Intelsat EPIQng, Inmarsat GlobalXpress, Iridium Next or O3b. Factors to consider when choosing a type of satellite include availability, VSAT cost, ability to recover from satellite disaster, bandwidth portability, flexibility, coverage, size of antennas and cost.
In terms of broadband satellite, Orange has a unique advantage because the space segment terminates on the Orange Business VPN backbone. This allows enterprises to seamlessly deploy their corporate applications, such as UC, to any location, irrespective of whether the network is terrestrial, mobile or satellite.
connecting outside the company
With satellite connecting even remote sites to the enterprise UC infrastructure, there is just one gap left to fill in UC coverage: connecting to sites outside the company network. With collaboration between partners, suppliers and even customers becoming more commonplace, many enterprises are looking push their UC functionality outside of their company boundary. And this is where SIP trunking can help.
By using a SIP trunk, enterprises are able to break out of their own network and collaborate with other parties seamlessly. In addition to VoIP calls, a SIP trunk can also transport instant messages, presence information, video conferencing and other UC tools. A SIP trunk is essentially a bridge that connects IP-based UC applications to the rest of the world. It also allows organizations to enjoy significant cost savings by removing the need for local PSTN gateways and expensive ISDN interfaces.
“SIP trunking is another element of the mix that is helping us to bring full UC benefits to organizations with remote sites,” continues Peter Glock. “Technologies like satellite connectivity and SIP trunking are allowing us to offer the entire UC suite to companies at high speeds and with no geographical restrictions.”
By filling in the gaps in the network with technology innovations such as SIP trunking and satellite services, enterprises are able to enjoy the full benefits of unified communications – and build out the connected enterprise to any location.
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