Making the most of emerging Internet access technologies

A study commissioned by ESA and being carried out by the Canadian company OmniGlobe will look at how new access technologies, such as WiMAX, can be used to make broadband Internet service access using satellite connections cheaper and more effective.

The study will focus on DVB-RCS systems to evaluate how advanced broadband applications can be supported over a hybrid network comprised of satellites and new access technologies.

Internet access technologies have been offered together with DVB-RCS on a commercial basis already for some time. But how emerging technologies will fare in the market place remains unknown. These newer technologies have the potential to reach a larger number of users and at a fractionally lower cost than is currently possible. This is an important development for users in remote areas without access to low-cost broadband Internet and could substantially contribute to bridging the Digital Divide.

It is within this framework that ESA Telecom awarded the contract to carry out the study to OmniGlobe. The company is based in Montreal Canada and specializes in providing communications capabilities to communities worldwide that cannot be served via traditional wireline means. The company has successfully deployed networks in Canada, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

"OmniGlobe is experienced in bringing communications services to remote areas," said Dr Jason Neale, CEO of OmniGlobe Networks. "We appreciate the confidence that ESA has placed in our organization."

DVB-RCS can be used to provide broadband access to the Internet. The cost of the terminal equipment and its installation is however a limiting factor in the development of the market. A number of trials have shown that combining DVB-RCS terminals with other technologies such as pre-WiMAX and WiFi is technically feasible and allows spreading this cost among several users in the same area. A hybrid DVB-RCS and WiMAX system could have the effect of reducing the cost of service provision per user.

The study will look at emerging access technologies such as WiMAX and Power Line Communication (PLC) as well as the evolving Wireless LAN standard. It will assess whether these can be also used in a hybrid commercial offering combined with DVB-RCS. The study will include a thorough review of the products on the market and their current pricing. Trials and commercial offerings based on WiMAX and PLC will be critically assessed, as will interoperability with DVB-RCS.

A public presentation on the initial findings of the study will be presented at ESA ESTEC in Noordwijk the Netherlands in late 2006. Final results of the study will be presented in early 2007.

image courtesy OmniGlobe

Event Date

23 August 2006
Published 17 November 2006
Last updated at 17 November 2006 - 16:33