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Keeping Satellite in the 5G Game

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EKINOPS explores the intersection between virtualization, 5G and satellite communications, highlighting how a recent technology breakthrough will deliver additional value for satcom providers, CSPs and end-users alike.

5GPP, the EU body charged with establishing global consensus on the use of 5G, has been making strong progress in defining how the new connectivity standard can support a rapidly growing range of future use cases. Telecom operators, who will be required to make huge investments in replacing masts, antennas, base stations and other equipment to support 5G, are happy to wait for the body to publish its specifications. Satcom providers, however, are not. As things currently stand, satcom is not part of the 5G game and, as a result, its equipment and service providers risk being elbowed out of use-cases for which satellite is today’s de-facto choice.

From a commercial perspective, communication service providers (CSPs) know that their ability to support all types of network links gives them the flexibility to deliver bespoke solutions that maximise value for their customers. To this end, harmonising satellite with 5G makes a lot of sense, particularly where the technology can augment 5G services.

The range of situations that favour a satcom/5G solution is bigger than one might think, and extends beyond the infrequent, high bandwidth requirements of native satcom broadcasting, live sports stadium feeds and news broadcasting. Satellite also has a valuable role to play in areas where 5G networks have limited coverage, allowing 5G traffic backhauling to remote areas, for example, and complementing ‘slow’ terrestrial links thanks to multi-link technology and connections to mobile vehicles and planes.

Fortunately, this argument has already been recognised within 5GPP, and has given rise to SaT5G, an H2020 European Research project with the objective of designing next generation standards that make satcom 5G-friendly. The group is developing a cost-effective ‘plug and play’ satcom solution for 5G to enable operators and network vendors to accelerate 5G deployment in all geographies and, at the same time, create new and growing market opportunities for satcom industry stakeholders.

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Can Smart, Hybrid-Access Technology be the panacea for delivering universal high-speed broadband services?

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OneAccess product marketing manager, Thierry Masson believes that the success of the European Broadband Access via integrated Terrestrial & Satellite Systems (BATS) project means that operators now have an alternative to fiber as a means of meeting the EU Digital targets as well as providing an improved QoE for all customers.

As time goes by with no sign that the major European operators have the investment appetite needed to extend their fiber networks to the outer reaches of their geographic coverage areas, it is increasingly clear that the EU 2020 target date for a universal 30Mbs broadband service is going to be increasingly difficult to achieve.

Although it is widely accepted that high speed broadband access for all is a critical factor for the long term economic success of individual EU member nations, the cost and technical challenges involved in connecting remote, hard to reach areas to a fiber network means that operators need to find another, more affordable solution to the problem if they are to meet (or even get close to) the target date.

This was essentially the remit for the European Union funded Broadband Access via Integrated Terrestrial & Satellite Systems project (BATS), which completed its three year research and POC programme in late 2015. As the name suggests the BATS consortium of partner companies was given the task of establishing a way for operators to efficiently integrate existing ADSL, MPLS, satellite and LTE networks so as to enable deployment of hybrid solutions capable of delivering fiber-like performance over a widespread geographic area.

As an active partner in the project OneAccess was able to bring its extensive R&D experience in multi-service access routers and customer premises equipment (CPE), gained through working closely with major operators and ISPs, to the table. This included the development of WAN optimized routers capable of supporting the full range of terrestrial access technologies and the latest high-speed satellite networks, both as a primary broadband access link or as a back-up/off-load option.

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Free WiFi can be more than just a way of enticing customers into your store

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Thierry Masson, WiFi Product Marketing Specialist at OneAccess discusses the monetization potential of free customer WiFi services.

The subject of free WiFi for customers seems to leave many traditional “bricks and mortar” high street retailers with a bit of a dilemma; on the one hand it can be a relatively low cost way of getting the always-connected consumers through the front door, but on the other there is the nagging concern that maybe those consumers are using the service for reasons that are not obviously helping to drive revenue or improve the bottom line.

I think it is fairly safe to say that at one time or another we have all taken advantage of an in-store hot-spot, saving on our mobile data charges to compare prices for the item we have our eye on (before purchasing elsewhere), no? Just me then.

Given this scenario it is perhaps understandable why many of the high street chains are sitting on the fence in terms of turning their stores into a digital friendly, 21st century smart-spaces. Recent UK research found that only around 30% of the top 50 retailers provided free WiFi for customers and, oddly, of those that did only a small handful actually made the service widely known through in-store signage.

While there are undoubtedly many different reasons why the other 70% have yet to work out how they can monetize a free WiFi service, they are meanwhile missing out on a rich seam of customer behaviour data that is waiting to be mined and used to help convert casual shoppers into long term loyal customers.

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Latest News

  • EKINOPS Hires New CTO

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading supplier of telecommunications solutions for telecom operators and businesses, announces the appointment of Vincent Munière as its new Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Research and Development (CTO and VP of R&D). He will strengthen the EKINOPS technology vision, accelerate software innovation and lead the Group’s engineering and support team.

     
  • EKINOPS Announces Partnership Agreement with Lanner

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading provider of open, future-proof and flexible solutions for the access network, today announces the completion of a partnership agreement covering North America and Mexico between EKINOPS and Lanner Electronics, the global leader in Whitebox Solutions™ for SD-WAN, uCPE, vCPE, and MEC platforms.

     
  • Robust profitability for EKINOPS in H1 2020: EBITDA margin over 14% despite a turbulent environment

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading supplier of telecommunications solutions for telecom operators and businesses, has published its first half 2020 financial statements (for the period ended June 30, 2020) as approved by the Board of Directors on July 27, 2020. The statutory auditors have conducted a limited review of the first half financial statements and will shortly issue the corresponding report.

     

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