SES beams high-throughput loopback services to US DoD

Government solutions division of Luxembourg-based satellite operator uses O3b medium earth orbit constellation to deliver mission-critical communications to the edge in Asia

As part of its blanket purchase agreement (BPA) with the US government agency for medium earth orbit (MEO) low-latency, high-throughput satellite (HTS) services, SES Government Solutions (SES GS) has revealed that it has designed, developed and is fielding an O3b MEO loopback capability to provide greatly improved mission-critical communications for US Department of Defense (DoD) operations in remote locations in Southwest Asia.

The Luxembourg-based operator said the loopback configuration would enable US government customers to take advantage of the high-throughput, low-latency capability without using a commercial gateway. The configuration uses an in-theatre hub and provides in-beam connectivity, similarly to a hub-spoke configuration, and is managed and controlled from an SES network operations centre (NOC) via a Skala Network terminal. The solution utilises two MEO beams in loopback mode across five sites, each providing up to 450Mbps of capacity, connecting users to required points of presence.

SES claimed the agile nature of the loopback solution-set provides the most tactical-edge customers the ability to leverage MEO connectivity solutions, and acts as a bridge to SES’s game-changing next-generation O3b mPOWER communications system

“As the need for secure communications and timely access to critical data on the battlefield increases, so does the need to have resilient and robust high-performance connectivity from any location,” said president and CEO of SES Government Solutions, Brigadier General Pete Hoene, USAF (retired).

“The growing threat within the region requires the troops to have access to near real-time decision-making intelligence at the tactical edge. This mission requires high-throughput, low-latency connectivity that only our O3b MEO constellation can provide flexibly. We understand troops’ mission requirements in areas where there is no reliable terrestrial connectivity, and we’re excited to bring innovative and secure solutions via satellite to solve their problems.”

The military use case of the Orb 3 system constellation follows a recent expansion of business in the enterprise sector. In September 2020, the satellite broadband operator announced that it had become a Microsoft Azure Orbital partner. Through this partnership, the company said it would colocate and manage its O3b mPOWER gateways with Microsoft Azure locations, which, according to SES, means customers would only be “one network hop” away from their Azure cloud services anywhere in the world.

It said the partnership would also provide its customers with scalability and flexibility to route network traffic over Microsoft’s global network and take advantage of cloud-based managed services such as enhanced security, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) and other network functions.

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