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SES and Du boost 5G enterprise comms with first satellite backhaul network

Pervasive connectivity delivered via satellite accommodates Middle East telco’s 5G backhaul requirements over remote areas across the region

In the latest illustration of the increased uptake and deployment of space technologies to deliver connectivity services, satellite operator SES and leading United Arab Emirates telecoms operator Du have successfully demonstrated the first satellite-enabled 5G backhaul in the Middle East utilising SES’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites.

The two companies said the aim of the live demonstration was to demonstrate how SES’s current O3b constellation could extend 5G coverage to remote locations and support Du’s enterprise customers, including offshore energy sites, with highly reliable, high-throughput and low-latency network connectivity.

The live proof of concept saw numerous tests conducted over an SES O3b satellite, including voice and data scenarios, to measure quality of service performance and stress test load capacity. The firms said the low-latency and high-throughput 5G backhaul link showed O3b was an ideal solution for 5G satellite-enabled networks, with quality of experience at par with terrestrial backhauling technologies.

SES has already started deploying O3b mPower technology which is designed to enable high-performance services with superior throughput, predictable low latency and unmatched flexibility to meet traffic demand. The start of service for O3b mPower, expected in 2023, will enable Du and its customers to experience secure, carrier-grade performance supporting business-critical, cloud-based applications over the public internet or via a dedicated private connection.

“Du has vast experience using satellites for its own cellular backhaul, as well as for delivering satellite-enabled data communications services to our enterprise customers, but we need much better throughputs and low-latency performance to support our enterprise, cloud and data growth applications,” said Du chief technology officer Saleem AlBlooshi.

“O3b mPower promises to provide the dedicated multi-gigabit per connection scale with cloud-optimised and low-latency performance to provide the required quality of experience with the flexibility of satellite.”

John-Paul Hemingway, chief strategy and product officer at SES, added: “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Du on this demonstration of high-performance MEO services and how we can jointly deploy the Middle East’s first satellite-enabled 5G backhaul network. 

“Du can leverage more guaranteed-SLA bandwidth, with greater flexibility, via O3b mPower to rapidly generate new revenue streams by expanding high-quality 4G/5G to remote areas and by cost-effectively connecting its enterprise customers.”  

As it gains traction with customers across geographies and market segments, SES claims O3b mPower will offer an unprecedented increase in flexibility, throughput speed and capacity to network locations anywhere on Earth.

Microsoft plans to leverage the MEO high-performance connectivity services to showcase its Azure Orbital systems, which integrate satellite connectivity with Azure services. Other O3b mPower customers include Orange, for enhanced enterprise and mobile networks, and cruise operators such as Carnival and Virgin Voyages.

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