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Launching a New IT Blueprint for Multi-Orbit Satellites

By: Ari Banerjee, SVP Strategy, Netcracker

Satellites have been orbiting in the night sky since Sputnik 1 launched in 1957, but in the ensuing decades, their use was generally reserved for very specific tasks, which limited their use and accessibility to government agencies and later large corporations with deep pockets that could fund the development of satellite equipment and use their capabilities.

Recent developments in the low-earth orbit (LEO) sector have spurred a pioneering new phase in the realm of communications that promises to create opportunities for new business models, new revenue streams, and new ecosystems for the wider telecom industry.

Ready for Launch

Due to advances in technology, LEO satellites are now much cheaper to launch, with many satellite operators around the world planning to send large constellations of thousands of satellites into orbit over the next 10 years. This is in addition to the thousands already circling the planet.

With the capability to offer high bandwidth and low latency services, direct to mobile and IoT devices, LEO is now an affordable option to bridge the digital divide and equip mobile industries with high-quality and mission-critical communication services whether on land, at sea, or in the air.

LEO satellite networks are also driving fundamental changes in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite networks as the entire industry prepares for a radical transformation in how it offers, packages, and delivers communication services to its diverse and growing customer base – consumers, enterprises and wholesale partners (including telecom operators).

New IT Challenges

But with these significant and rapid changes comes the requirement to support a wider ecosystem and conform to unique regulatory, financial, and service requirements around the world. Satellite operators will also want to engage with their customers more digitally through intuitive portals and apps with self-service capabilities.

All of this will be predicated on a solid IT foundation to accommodate the needs of satellite operators, including providing global coverage while continuously connecting with different ground stations, 4G and 5G networks, and mobile devices. This cannot be supported by existing IT environments, thereby limiting the ability of satellite operators to guarantee service levels and quality. In addition, satellite operators need to serve a complex customer base with compelling and diverse offers and unique requirements to maximize the value of their significant infrastructure investments.

The demands of highly dynamic LEO satellite networks place requirements on the IT environment that are above and beyond any modern telco. LEOs have a shorter life span than GEOs and require many more satellites for full coverage as well as more ground stations. LEOs are in constant motion as they orbit the earth (unlike GEOs) and many endpoints are also moving (planes and ships, for example).

This impacts the service quality – for example, when LEO satellites are close to the equator the latency is very low, while at the poles the latency is much higher. The result is a multi-dimensional array of constantly changing parameters, such as different satellite links, constantly changing service topology, and changing thresholds for assurance depending on location.

In addition, satellite operators need a new way to engage with their business and wholesale customers, enabling them to purchase, consume, and easily visualize their connectivity services.

To meet these stringent needs, Netcracker has created the industry’s first blueprint for multi-orbit satellite IT incorporating innovations to help satellite providers extract every amount of value from their massive investments.

Driven by extensive telecom expertise and IT leadership, along with 15 years of experience in the satellite industry, Netcracker has developed a significant innovation that will revolutionize the satellite communications market.

Powering Exceptional Experiences from Multi-Orbit Satellites

Netcracker Digital Satellite Solution overcomes these challenges with the most advanced IT ever deployed to support the shifting nature of satellite communications while conforming to strict multi-zone SLAs in real-time and delivering premium NaaS services to a global customer base.

With Netcracker Digital Satellite Solution, satellite operators have access to the latest BSS and OSS innovations for their specific requirements, deeply embedded AI across the IT stack to maximize service quality and optimize costs, robust security practices to product sensitive customer data and unauthorized access, and Netcracker’s extensive expertise with telcos and satellite providers.

The solution incorporates an OSS environment that includes real-time service inventory and topology, dynamic SLA management using state-of-the-art AI assurance, and the most advanced closed-loop service automation for communications networks.

It also includes a sophisticated, out-of-the-box BSS environment with simplified API-driven customer engagements that leverage advanced CPQ, self-service, a unified product catalog, automated partner management, and flexible monetization schemes to accommodate any type of customer or partner across the globe. For large enterprises and wholesale customers, operators have access to a robust API management platform using MEF and TM Forum APIs to provide a NaaS framework to simplify and automate many processes.

With its new solution, Netcracker is helping satellite operators to expand their communication offerings, including deeper integration with telco domains, to maximize their value in this growing market and deliver differentiated communication experiences.

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